If we aren’t already friends on Facebook, we should be. Just be forewarned…I’m quite certain I don’t do it right.
Unless I’m prowling for opportunities to leave wiseass comments and drop pearls of wisdom on those decorating my news feed with updates, I pretty much leave it alone. I’m sometimes guilty of the occasional vague one-liner but it’s usually rooted more in keyboard withdrawal than a genuine interest in sharing that I love grape-flavored Pedialyte.
When Facebook first arrived on the scene I used it to occasionally stay in touch with friends and family because people actually showed some restraint. Today, Facebook has evolved into a real-time update machine where people feel compelled to share every facet of every day, every aspect of every activity, and every pang of every emotion.
Updates are fine. Especially the important ones that keep friends and family apprised of serious situations. But if a stream of your posts looks like this…
“Just cut my big toe’s toenail.”
“Whoa! Toe shrapnel.”
“On to the middle toe. Wish me luck, LOLOL!”
“Dear toenail, why so brittle? Sincerely, Me.”
“Photo of dead toenail. Gotcha sucker! Bwahahaha!”
“HAH! Baby Tyler is trying to cut his toenails too. With a shampoo bottle! OMGEE…cuteness overload.”
“There. All toenails cut. Now for the right foot.”
Seriously. If your timeline looks like this…you need help. Serious help.
As for me, I think I’m safe. I don’t find it necessary to share every move I make throughout the day. After all, why would the world care that I’m getting an oil change? Why would the world care that I ate some mozzarella cheese? Why would the world care that I need some cough medicine?
In the time it’d take me to peck out a Facebook update saying I need Robitussin, I could have already swallowed it and been well on my way to suppressing it. The world will still revolve if I keep that tidbit to myself.
I love my wife. I love my kids. I love my home. I love my pets. People already know this. Do they really need hourly reminders?
I think part of the problem is the terse nature of social media platforms in general. Because the lifespan of an update is measured in nano-minutes, and sometimes seconds, it creates some sort of personal satisfaction vacuum that can only be filled by adding more and more updates. What’s evolved is some inherent need to be Like’d all the time. A burning desire to interact, engage, and be the focus of attention, if only for a fleeting moment in time.
In the old days, people would have to walk all the way to a neighbor’s front porch to share photos of half-eaten dinner plates. But on Facebook, it’s a no-holds barred free for all. Random views of my news feed leaves me scratching my head sometimes. While Facebook does provide some global filters, I need something stronger. I don’t want to block entire streams, I just want Facebook to be intelligent enough to know that I’ve already seen the next great eCard six billion times. There needs to be a more intuitive metric that can block repetition.
I also want to be able to block nonsense. But the only option I have is to block those occasionally presenting the nonsense, and I don’t want that either. I love my Facebook peeps, and I realize there is no happy medium, but to put this in perspective, I actually saw a status update from someone who uploaded nothing more than a photo of how they folded a napkin.
A napkin that subsequently received 48 Likes as people shared that they too owned napkins. It’s reached an absurd peak. At least I hope it’s a peak.
If aliens were to visit Planet Earth and rely solely on social media to sum us up as a populous, they’d see a nation completely hard-up for validation. A nation where rants and complaints intermingle freely with smarmy quips and happiness.
The very same person who writes “I hate Frank, he smells like poo and he’s a flaming idiot” will follow nine seconds later with “If heaven has crumbs, they’re from this blueberry tart. With every forkful, I’m just sitting here on the deck with my lovelies counting fireflies as I ponder how wonderful our life is. Check out the sunset we’re blessed with each night. You’ll never be this happy. And have you seen my napkins? Pure…bliss.”
Then, moments later, Frank is a flaming turd again and her entire Wall is championing for divorce.
As much as I sound like I’m complaining, I’m really not. I have my preference and others have theirs. If you want to post everything you eat, so be it. If you want to share photos of your salt and pepper shakers because you snapped the shot at a 45-degree angle with an Instagram effect, go for it. If you feel we need to know that you just checked in at Happy Jose’s Taco Cantina for some burritos, share away. And if you feel we need steady updates throughout Finding Nemo that it’s “just you and the kids” for some unplugged one-on-one time, ignore the hypocrisy.
You just won’t see me doing the same.
I simply can’t accept the notion that perfect little photos of perfect little children being absolutely perfect in a perfectly decorated home with perfectly stocked pantries soon to be raided to prepare a perfectly nutritious meal served on perfect place settings with perfectly folded napkins are indicative of anyone’s everyday life.
And if they are? I really hope they don’t appear on my front porch to show me.
‘Cuz there’s an app for that.
Wanna share your life with me? Hit me up at http://facebook.com/tellingdad