Seems like I’m reading a lot of studies and articles on the dangers and pitfalls of using social media and Facebook in particular. The studies sight everything from envy of other people’s posts to anguish over seeing an ex tagged in a photo, as being the reasons we all feel terrible after looking at our newsfeeds. Maybe this is why there are so many sarcastic “cards” and images floating out there as well- it breaks up all the behind your back bitching and bends it on its ear to in front of your face bitching, done with a smile and a wink so CLEARLY I wasn’t talking about you- oh so subtly not mentioned in the subtext.
I recently made the decision to limit my own Facebook time to see if it would affect me. One could argue I just took up another platform of social media by starting a blog, but I argue its different because I don’t have to hear about your trips to Europe or see your sprawling mansion but instead I get to indulge in one of my special happy places, writing. I removed the Facebook app from my phone thereby forcing me to go to extra steps to compulsively peruse the lives of others and I found that while I was willing and able of going through those steps my use did significantly decrease- and *gasp* I did in fact manage to live happily not knowing what someone else had for lunch. Interestingly enough, I also discovered that my absence seemed to bother others more than it bothered me and in some weird way- that only women can manage- I actually made enemies of some friends simply because I made a conscious choice to alter my life and pretty much everything in it. Who knew not hitting a like button compulsively like a lab rat could create such imaginary drama? Not this girl. So that was when I realized that Facebook is the new High school.
40 is the new 30 (thank god), Orange is the new black (I really must watch this show) and Facebook is the new High School. Here are the top 5 reasons that Facebook is just like high school:
1. Now you actually get to re-know the people you did know when you actually were in high school. So, not much has changed only now you only have to worry about how your hair looks in pictures and not for 7 whole periods. Being “friends” with people you knew in high school really only has two purposes, one you missed them and wanted to rekindle some of that old high school juju, or two, you just wanted to stalk around with their permission and laugh at them in private because they got fat, still have a mullet, or married an ugly woman. I’ll be honest with you, and please don’t all my friends from high school get up in arms about this or you’ll just be proving my point, there is a reason people drift apart and don’t reconnect, and that reason is their friendship was based on nothing more than the common school or friends they shared. We are supposed to let go of the majority of these people. That is not to say they don’t have anything to offer to you now, it is just to say that just like the good old days IN high school, Facebook puts a bunch of people together that call themselves friends that ordinarily wouldn’t bother. I’m telling you, don’t believe me? Look at your friends list. How many are high school chums you don’t speak to, see or even have visible on your newsfeed? Yep, just like the halls of high school and as the bell rings we all post our best face on FB hoping someone will finely decide to like us or will feel badly that they don’t.
2. It doesn’t matter what you post, when you post it or why you posted it, invariably someone, somehow, for who knows what reason will decide that not only was your post about them, but it was the worst most hurtful betrayal of all time and they will cut you off, cut you out, or become passive aggressive toward you for no reason. (I imagine this blog post is going to do that too) Hm.. if that doesn’t sound like high school then maybe you didn’t go. I swear I could write a post about my son’s poop and there would be someone on my feed who’d get all up in arms that I was really insulting her on the down low and disguising it as a post about poop but it was REALLY a post about her new hair cut. Trust me it happens all the time, everyday on Facebook. And yes, it is only women who do this. Sorry ladies but I’ve never had a male friend stop talking to me because of a sound bite I post related to me lifting weights at the gym.
3. The popular kids are never going to think you are cool. It doesn’t matter how many photos you post of yourself doing cool things in exotic locations or how fabulous your life appears to be. Unless your last name is Kardashian, or you actually are the worlds most interesting man (after all it has never been his bad), I promise you those kids who dissed you in high school are now dissing you on Facebook. Please stop trying to make them like you. It is a waste of time and effort and odds are if you just lived a genuine life filled with activities and people who really care about you, you’ll be a lot happier than you ever would have been if the popular people did in fact like you. So do yourself a favor and tell your 16 year old self its ok to have bad hair or be seen without makeup. Tell her she has value and move on. Its just embarrassing for those of us who are your real friends to watch the desperation happening.
4. You will invariably feel worse after logging in to Facebook than you ever felt before you bothered, just like going to high school. Somehow the hours outside of high school were always more enjoyable than the hours inside it. Inside you have to put up with an onslaught of images and words being thrown at you and many of them aren’t very nice. They make you feel like less or make you wish you were more, just like Facebook.. Even if you don’t think it is affecting you, trust me it is. Even just a really cool video my husband shows me of someone doing parcore (sp?)will ding me just a little bit (yes the little fat kid inside me still wants to be cool) because I will never be able to do that and it is so freaking cool. Or the dog video of the border collie doing a zillion amazing tricks making me feel like I’ve let my passion die or at least lost it somewhere because if I was a really cool person I could totally teach my dog how to do those things, after all I used to get paid to do that!. It may not be as obvious as, I wish my body looked like that or I wish I lived there, but it is still happening. It is the human condition to want to experience everything in life (or maybe that’s just me and the hubs) so seeing that others are experiencing something while I sit on my couch eating ice cream just thankful my kids were in bed before 9, makes my life seem dull by comparison. Of course I always forget that lots of people would kill to have a cool husband they actually still love and beautiful little boys like mine-that’s right eat your heart out suckas!
5. This one is probably the most significant one, and again, sorry ladies this is only you. Men really are the better sex- I’m sure I’ll regret ever saying those words. Facebook Is just like high school because you spend most of your time on it trying to unravel why someone is mad at you by becoming some kind of technical forensics sleuth and dissecting the entire history of Facebook. Hm… lets see, lets go back and find the last post she commented on, then lets see if I wrote a post that she might have thought was about her, hm, then lets see if one of our mutual friends wrote something she might have seen and decided was about her but that I somehow was involved even though I was changing a poopy diaper when that was posted. Wait, no here is a post from Tuesday that was posted right after I tried to call her . Wait was that the day I tried to call her? Was I mean in my message? Crap I wish I could hear the message again in case I accidentally had a mental break and instead of saying I miss you lets talk, I really said you fucking suck because you never call me. Wait when did she stop “Talking ” to me. Let me just check my timeline. But seriously my husband has never turned to me after looking at Facebook and said, you won’t believe this but so and so is totally mad at me and I have no idea why.
I suppose I could just delete my Facebook account, but I do think it has it’s uses. I have reconnected with old friends and found true soul mates of life on there. I have discovered things about people that make me love them so much it hurts. I have been graced with a collection of core FB friends that bolster me up when I am feeling blue, and not because I post some weird cryptic email about feeling unloved (pretty sure at least 5 people I know will think this is about them), because I don’t do that- Seriously, am I the only one who hears Carly Simon singing? I am terrible at keeping in contact with people just terrible, so Facebook has allowed me the opportunity to remain close to those that matter without having to become a different person to manage it. I am thankful family can see my boys grow up there and that I can see that others are just as lost as me. No, I think I’m on Facebook to stay, but that being said, I now plan to treat it just like I did high school.
Sometimes I’m there, sometimes I’m not. I do not derive my self-worth from anything that happens there. I do not judge my “friends” for what happens there. I do not stay friends with them just to make fun of them behind their backs. I do not assume any post is about me unless my name is actually called out in the post. At the end of the day, I didn’t like high school the first time, there is no way I want to repeat it and certainly not by choice. I’m not sure why anyone would. I wish everyone on Facebook would do the same; but since it is just like high school it will likely remain largely what it is. A fake environment we all flock too hoping someone will like us and never understanding why they don’t as our insecurities rise as we base our value on how many likes we get.
PS. Um… Could you please like this blog on Facebook? Thanks, I would feel really cool and super special if you did. Better yet, share the post so others will like me, thereby increasing my total self-worth like a hundred fold! PLEEAASSEE!!!! Share and like -Tongue firmly planted in cheek, but in all seriousness, if you like it share it, no pressure.
And or those of you too young to get the Carly Simon reference….Yes, “you probably think this post is about you”