So, here lately, I’ve been thinking about Facebook and social media in general. While an amazing feat of modern technology that allows news to spread in the blink of an eye, social media also has its pitfalls. There’s the obvious cyber-bullying issue… that’s too great of an issue to discuss in one blog entry. But there is something more insidious at work here. People get lost down the rabbit hole of social media never to return. My ex was – and remains – mired in the faux-emotional muck that is Facebook. The 5,000 close friends, the groups, the pages touting the benefits of the radical survivalist communes you long for (you know, as one does), all of it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy my daily foray into Facebookland as much as the next person. It’s just that so many people are on Facebook and other social media, spending their time trying to impress (aka convince) an online audience that their life is perfect… to get the attention, the validation, and the “approval” they think they deserve. Many of these rabbit hole divers have family or spouses or significant others at home who would love to be a part of that perfect life portrayed online, but are ignored … because, Facebook.
Some people use Facebook as a time-killer (that would be yours truly), but others live on it as a reality-killer. Or rather, a reality enhancer. It just boggles the mind, truth be told.
Generally speaking, Facebook posters fall into several broad categories. We all know at least one from each.
The meme sharer: Also reposts lost pet photos. This is the person who has such a mixture of friends on Facebook that posting anything at all personally will offend at least a third of them, so they play it safe and post generic memes. I would … ahem … likely fall into this category. I save my demented mental-meanderings for you, lovely readers!
The vague status: “I can’t believe it. I’m so heartbroken.” This generates a flurry of concerned responses from people far and wide, to which the next status update is “Thanks for all the concern, I’m so touched. I just don’t want to talk about it.” The obvious question would be, if you didn’t want to talk about it, why the hell did you post anything at all?
The perpetually sick person: This is the person who posts every sniffle, papercut, broken fingernail or stomach cramp for the world to see. And no matter how inane the medical “issue,” the support is overwhelming. “Unreal. I have a hangnail (picture of offending hangnail covered under eight layers of bandages).” And the comments roll in. “Oh, no! (sad emoji) Feel better soon!” “I’m so sorry! (sad emoji) I hope it clears up soon!”
The knower of a perpetually sick person: “Prayers, please. My friend has a hangnail. It doesn’t look good (sad emoji).”
The offender: Posts deliberately annoying and offensive comments just to get notifications on his phone. “Clean air is stupid.” “Drinkable water is overrated.” At some point, this person will be placed in Facebook Jail for a week, unable to post, and then brag about it when he comes back.
The sharer of fake news: No matter what your political beliefs are, fake news abounds. The sharer of fake news will defend the most ridiculous and unsearched “news stories” as truth. “Aliens landed in downtown Hollywood today and while wearing kilts and playing kazoos, they spirited away Grauman’s Chinese Theater! The. Entire. Theater. No, really, it’s true!” Eventually someone will blow her out of the water with the definitive Snopes judgment, and then the circle begins anew as everyone debates whether Snopes is actually impartial.
Perpetual Optimist: Just wrecked my car, but I saved my fuzzy dice! Life is GREAT!
Perpetual Pessimist: Just won the lottery. Great big gobs of money. Life stinks.
The new reality for many is that social media has become their fountain of validation. They prefer the adulation of hundreds of friends acquaintances people they barely know to the love of their own family. I mean, really, with untold hours spent connected to the internet perfecting their online persona, who has time for loved ones?
I would say more on this, but I gotta go. My notifications just went off and it looks like my friend’s dog’s mother’s uncle has a sprained pinky toe. Boy, I sure hope he feels better soon. (Sad emoji)