I Know Too Much
I know your wedding anniversary was last week and the lasagna you ordered was phenomenal. Your child has pink eye, a stutter and likes purple. Your husband has horrific gas in the middle of the night and often it keeps you up at night. The neighbors on your left are loud and annoying and the smoke from their partying comes into your window. You have lost 6 pounds on your new weight loss program and typically work out at 6:30am before work. Your youngest child has the flu and the vomit is horrible. You and your best friend are fighting over the girl’s night out last Tuesday. Your job sucks and you were late last week because of traffic.
You are my Facebook friend and I don’t have your phone number. We don’t hang out; in fact, we met in passing. When you are down the street from my house and check in at a local bar you don’t realize how close you are. Even if you did I wouldn’t be invited. After all, we don’t know one another and I don’t want to be real friends with you.
I have almost 500 “friends” on Facebook and have relationships with possibly 75. I check Facebook throughout the day and peek into people’s lives knowing details about their family, their day-to-day activities and their life. I know their religion, their political affiliation and their music tastes. Many of these people I haven’t spoken to for more than 5 minutes in my entire life.
For the few real friends I have my feelings get hurt when I see a post and realize I wasn’t invited. I can tell when someone is annoyed with me because they don’t like my picture or comment on a post they would normally comment on. I worry I might make someone feel excluded when I update a picture or event and may have forgotten to invite a friend. Before Facebook I wouldn’t know when a few friends had an impromptu get together or quick coffee date. I would be oblivious to a friend’s mild annoyance with me.
I have been thinking a lot about Facebook and the impact it has on my days. More important, I worry about the time I set aside to read update after update from people I barely know.
Having aged from a young single girl to a mother the updates are equally annoying. The constant competition of other parent’s boasting their child’s advanced skills or perfect post baby body will leave any person insecure. On the flip side I receive notes from people commenting on the person without the perfect body or phenomenal child.
Then there is my favorite area. Friends I might not be real friends with any longer but don’t want to unfriend on Facebook. After all it would be childish, right? I read posts of them boasting their best night ever with their newest friends or vacationing down the street. According to Facebook their lives (or ours) is much better now and the passive aggressive dance ensues.
What is happening? Why has social media become the dominant presence in our lives? I have always defended my Facebook membership as a tool to keep in touch with family and friends who live far away. However, I spend much more time reading updates about people I don’t interact with! Why do we care so much about reading what people are doing? I find myself delighting in the mortifying admissions and the horrific posts people write. I hear my disappointment because a friend forgot to invite me or another friend is annoyed because I missed an outing. This is not who I am and I am quickly realizing I have no interest in knowing so much. Facebook creates insecurity in my friendships and encourages me to post nothing but what I want people to perceive is my life.
I am not done with Facebook. Yet. However downsizing is part of my phase out program. I don’t want to lose the years of previous posts because I think it will be fun to include in my kiddos scrapbooks. Also our blog reaches all of my contacts. But I am tired of too much information. I am bored of worrying how I look in each picture to prove I am still a hot mom (thanks Photoshop).
For my real friends please just let me know when you are upset with me or just love me. Please begin sending photos to my email address because I cherish them. Remember I might not be available but invite me! Mostly, think about what you post on Facebook. Know people are reading and might be hurt, offended or excluded.
What do you think? What is your social media pet peeve? I would love to hear your comments while I check Facebook 😉