Positivity is great, reality even greater.
That’s the basic premise for a recent post I read, written by my fellow blogger and friend Sarah Tuttle-Singer, called “We need to quit telling lies on Facebook” which deals with the issues of honest reporting on Facebook.
I spent the weekend thinking about the lying and pretending in our lives. Maybe it’s not just specific to Facebook? How much of what we experience do we keep hidden from others?
Which brings me to the three P’s of social media:
Propriety: Is Facebook the place to out all of our raw truths?
Privacy: Do we really want everyone to know that we just had a fight with our spouse?
Purpose: What purpose is your Facebook serving for you?
Please DON’T share everything.
Pictures of men with their shirts off
Status updates that include a happy or sad emoticon
Three kazillion pictures of someone’s kids that all look completely identical (the pictures, not the kids).
Pictures of people partying when their smiles looks forced and fake.
Yes, in our society negative things are more private. But that doesn’t mean that when we are having fun that we are being fake. Happiness is not fake. Bitchiness is not truth. Just be real.
Don’t try to be loved. That sucks.
Don’t try to get the most likes on your Facebook post that you possibly can.
Either it’s good or it ain’t.
I don’t necessarily need to know about your fight with your spouse online. Be discreet. Share it with the right people in the right forum. When you share an interaction with someone else, you are outing their right to privacy as well. I don’t need to share all of the challenges I am facing with my kids, or the issues I discussed with my mom, or the disagreement I had with my boss. It’s not because I am hiding my life. It takes two to tango, and the other partner ain’t dancing.
I learned my lesson the hard way.
Once I wrote a post about a personal challenge my friend was facing and uploaded it to his Facebook wall. I didn’t mention his name in the post but once it was on his wall and on my wall with him tagged in it, it was obvious where my material for the post came from. He deleted me from Facebook. Ouch.
We are still friends. Actually, quite close friends. We worked it out because that’s what real friends do. But not on Facebook. Truthfully, men I date are not on my Facebook wall. Friends are. That’s being social, not invasive. My kids are too young to know that their mom is quite public but not that young that they don’t ask me not to post something about them that they don’t want shared. I respect that. After all, I am the keeper of their privacy keys until they are old enough to hold the keys for themselves.
Waiting for the bus is not an epic moment in your life but it can definitely be entertaining. You might be a pro at filming people around you who are also waiting, capturing the moment of the guy digging for gold and the mom trying to entertain her kids with a game of “I spy” as the bus slowly pulls into the stop. If that is what entertains you, then go with the flow. That doesn’t mean that you will get a record amount of “likes” on this here latest “waiting for the bus” morning Facebook post. But that might not be your goal so go with it.
On the other hand, a video of the recent Jerusalem marathon taken and edited to capture the feeling and excitement of the runners is something that helps people feel a part of something they themselves may not have participated in. I guess it’s called: sharing moments by proxy.
Each of us has a different purpose when using social media tools. For some people it is there to help us connect to the outside world? One woman who has two disabled kids would feel isolated and alone if not for Facebook. She uses it as a tool to stay connected to the outside world since she generally can’t leave her home.
Same thing holds for seniors, stay at home parents, work from home people etc. Gee, those years of being a stay at home mom would have been so much easier for me if I had Facebook back then in the olden days…5 years ago.
Some people just want to promote their work, some want to discuss political stuff. Everybody uses it in their own way. People crowd source, share happy moments, sad moments and meaningful moments too. Some people even share their morning teeth flossing….
For two months when I was without my smart phone I used Facebook differently. There were no real time photos or status updates or check-ins. Facebook became more of a home based forum and everything that went up was from the comfort of my home computer. It required more thought and calculation before I pressed that impending “post” button. Not good or bad. Just different.
When Facebook first came out we threw ourselves at Facebook’s ever waiting feet. Now we are reevaluating the terms. We shouldn’t judge our own lives by what we see on other people’s walls because just like we don’t show all, we can assume that neither do they.
To quote my friend Kimanzi Constable: “Everybody uses Facebook differently but at the end of the day we have to look ourselves in the mirror and admit the truth.