Nope, this is not another dangers-of-facebook post. This is a why-I-love-facebook post. I, like many, visit facebook a lot. It’s one of my go-to spots to hit all day. Email, other email, other email, facebook. Linger too long, back to email. Maybe Pinterest. I do, very much, understand why many are wary about the dangers of social media consuming us, of our computers swallowing us whole, leaving only our feet sticking out of the screen. I know we risk spending our lives in virtual relationships and forgetting the grass and trees and sky and books and people. But there is something else facebook gives us that I think is, if not wonderful, at minimum, fascinating.
Facebook lets us constantly, daily, sometimes hourly, write our lives. Facebook forces us to investigate, interpret and present ourselves to others. Concisely and efficiently. We become introspective. What do we post? We must evaluate our lives to determine what is worthy of a post. If we even do that much thinking before the fingers fly over the keyboard. Is it reality? No, probably not. We are the masters of our story. We represent ourselves how we see fit. We may try to display the flaws in our lives. Find humor in them. Seek sympathy for them. Or hide the flaws and paint a more perfect picture. We may display gilded versions of our successes, our cute children, our clever crafts. No matter. We are at a moment in history when we can create ourselves in a few sentences every day. Maybe several times a day. We are all writers, and we are all writing memoir.
I, for one, love it. Not just to write my own story, but to read those of others. I love having glimpses into so many of the lives I’ve encountered in my forty years. Elementary school friends, past high school pals, college friends all over the world, co-workers, acquaintances, extended family, my husband’s family… I see pictures of kids and vacations and marathons. I read quips, anecdotes, gripes and dramas. I startle at ultraconservative rants, snicker at funny-kid quotes and snort at stories of bad customer service. I know that a long-ago friend didn’t wear matching socks today. Another lost her dear grandmother. I’m frustrated right there with you when you miss the Little House marathon or when your kid is home sick and you had SO much to do today. I feel connected to so many from my past, I learn things from those I might have never had a relationship with otherwise, like they are also struggling with fertility or they have picky eaters, too. And that is enough for me.
Whether or not these relationships would be the same without the computer between us doesn’t matter. Whether or not they are fancied up versions, whether or not it’s selective information full of gaps, I don’t care. It’s enough for me to get these pieces, because it’s just enough for me to get a sense of who they are in life. What they choose to post, no matter how flippant or casual or serious or emotionally wrenching, true or masking truth, gives me something about them.
How do you choose what to share? What do you post? I admit I’m persnickety about it. I think about what to post, and I choose carefully. I complain about my lack of sleep, I demonstrate angst veiled with attempts at humor. I post cute stuff my kids do, but I usually deprecate them so as to not be one of those posters who post cute stuff their kids do. I share what I think are insights into the world but probably aren’t anything new.
I went through a few of my posts from the past few months. Not those from my Decorated Cookie facebook page, but my personal page. I thought I’d share and give you some possible interpretations as to what lies beneath.
My thought of the day, which I thought was smart. On the bonus of having babies at age 40: Yes, it means you won’t be done and free til your 60s or 70s. But I’d rather have been free in my 20s and 30s when I had the energy to enjoy it. Dancing salsa, concerts at clubs, shooting pool, late night diners. I’m totally fine spending my twilight years going on old people group trips and drinking wine while sitting somewhere quietly. Interpretation: I’m a little anxious about being 40 with a baby.
Does anybody else take the bag of wine out of the box and squeeze it to get every drop out? No? Oh, me neither. Interpretation: I like wine. I need it to cope. This is charming, not a problem. Right?
The good thing about being up at 1, 3, 4 and 5 is that you get work done. Just learned a whole new level of photoshop. Interpretation: I’m tired. Feel sorry for me.
Aw, Maeve is so SO considerate. This morning she came into my bedroom where I slept peacefully, put my glasses on my face, pulled off my covers and shouted “Get up! Get up! Get up!” because she was worried I was “cold.” SO considerate. Interpretation: I’m tired. Feel sorry for me.
The human species is so lame. Can’t horses walk right after they are born? Two months in and she can’t even sit without falling over. (Picture of Violet face down on couch.) Interpretation: I’m taking a casual approach to parenting. Also, look at my cute baby.
Yep. Expensive bean bag chair santa got maeve for Christmas worth every penny, sigh. (picture of cats sitting on bean bag chair) Interpretation: Look at my cute cats.
What it’s like to drive home with a 5 year old in the car: “I know what communicating means. Communicating! That’s an ‘ing’ word! So communicating is talking to each other. Bears communicate. Birds communicate. When they have stuff to tell each other. Did you know mountain lions communicate with each other? Mountain lions communicate with each other. So did you wish for snow? On that star, you wish for things. I don’t tell my wishes or they won’t come true. Tomorrow is that animal, what is it? A beaver. Yeah, a beaver. I think.” “Groundhog?” “Yeah, groundhog, if a groundhog sees his shadow we have 6 days of winter, if not it’s an early spring. Do you want him to see his shadow? We voted at school, and I voted for early spring, and guess who won? Early spring, and Anna voted for, I forget what she voted for, and look at that tree. Did you see that tree? I just ate the tail off of my goldfish cracker, you know what it looks like now? Hmmm, a hot air balloon. Which hand is it in. Left or right? Which is left again? We have to collect ten things again. The 100th day of school is in ten days. I might collect coins. When are Mom Mom and Pap Pap getting here? I think they will be there when we get home. Violet’s eyes are open…. ” Interpretation: I’m not being cryptic here. My daughter talks incessantly. It gets annoying.
I think Maeve’s self esteem is developing juuuuuust fine. Today I saw her reaction in the mirror as she noticed a pimple/scratch/something on her cheek. She looked like she was disappointed at first, and I mentally rushed to have the necessary response ready about how not to buy into the arbitrary pressure girls face to appear perfect and… her expression changed all on its own. “It’s a beauty mark! It means I have a lot of beauty. I hope it stays forever.” Phew. Girl crisis averted. Wish I had some of what she has. Interpretation: My kid is awesome.
Listening to Greg in the other room teaching Maeve about 911 and pretending to be a 911 operator… I think he missed his calling. Interpretation: Please note what a good father my husband is. Also, he’s a good 911 operator.
Quick update! To-be-named baby arrived early on friday. Exciting to watch a team of many panic and debate a plan of action for surgery. All is well tho i’m still in much discomfort (so not answering calls, emails or visitors). But the docs gave my voice a lot of weight which was smart all around. Will respond more when I’m well!! Thank you all!! Interpretation: I’m in the hospital. I just had surgery. The baby came early, which could have been very dangerous for me, but I’m alive.
What kind of facebook poster are you? Do you put thought into your posts? Do you paint pictures or try and display even the worst sides of things? Or, do you avoid facebook altogether?
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