I recently saw a story on TV about Facebook’s data centre. It freaked me out. We post photos, comments and likes and never think about it again. But, it’s all housed in their massive warehouses located in a small town at the northern edge of the Baltic Sea, 62 miles south of the Arctic Circle.
Anyway, so it’s their birthday and they launched a stupid movie link (which, btw, mine had the same photo show up twice in the 1 min clip – shame on them. Yep…I WAS curious enough to watch). Whatever.
I read a great article all about 'social media lying' written by a young mom. She lovingly referred to Facebook as 'Fakebook' and rewrote posts made by other moms in the 'real' sense. Waking up to well-rested, smiling children who get along and behave marvelously turned into waking at 4:50am to groggy, cranky, stinky children who then proceeded to spill cereal all over the place, among other things. So, which is real? I would have to guess the latter is more probable and that the former is ... possible?
But the article really begged the question for me ... is it OK to give ourselves permission to just say it like it is sometimes? And when does saying it like it is just too plain personal? Don’t get me wrong, I love being on a personal level with my friends and family. But for some reason, I resist being too personal on my twitter or Facebook page. For some people there does not seem to exist a real line here.
There are some things I just don't want to read about you. Some things just make me feel a little ... icky. However, I can recognize that for some, perhaps social media is their only outlet for being able to express themselves in this personal way. Or maybe it’s just their favourite way. Perhaps they are seeking approval in their lives or they want to make their life look really cool. Or maybe they want that feeling of instant support. Watching for ‘likes’ does that…doesn’t it?
It makes me wonder, what did we DO before social media came along? I find myself longing for a time when I just called a friend or made a plan. Can you imagine just making a plan? I’m talking about not being able to know where someone is or follow them on a GSP system telling you how many minutes away they are (which is extremely convenient I must add!). You made a plan to meet at a certain spot and a certain time. And if someone didn’t’ show up, they didn’t show up and no one thought anything of it.
Having said all of that, I realize social media is a connector. It gives us news and information immediately. It's great for business and raising awareness for causes. I get all that. When I first joined, I was a bit scared. But then it became fun each day to see who had sent a friend request. My best friends from camp, an ex-boyfriend who moved to the states, old school friends and then there was THAT guy ... the one I had crushed on for years. It was both awesome and depressing to have a glimpse into a life that I'd fantasized about being mine...
But I digress.
I guess in some ways, social media has made me feel more connected AND more disconnected. This is still my personal struggle with it. I have both real friends (I’ll say ‘real friends’ as a differentiation between those who are actually in my life vs. the old camp friend) and non-friends (those people whom I knew from my past but are no longer in touch) and I suspect this is the norm. Only a few of my friends in media have thousands of “friends” who they don’t even know. I sometimes feel like I’m ‘caught up’ with someone based on them showing up in my feed. It’s nice … but it’s also a bit false.
I’ve tried to keep a very level head over the years when it comes to social media. I’ll admit there have been times when I’ve seen my ‘real friends’ (yep, real) at an event or party, and I’m at home in my fat pants reading the post. Here’s my truth – it makes me feel bad. BUT, only for a few, short moments. I have enough confidence to know that I’m not at that particular gathering for a reason and my friends have a right to see who they want, when they want, myself included or not. I’m still valuable, loved and fun. And, I don’t need to feel bad.
And, fifteen years ago, I never would have even known about that party.
That, was bliss.