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Archive for April, 2016|Monthly archive page

Unfriending Facebook

In Should I Even Be Talking About This? on April 13, 2016 at 12:13 pm

A lot of people still feel like kids around their parents, regardless of age.They slip into old roles- like assigned seats- despite being full-on adults. The same thing can happen with old friends, and it’s surprising how those roles are as easily worn as a 70’s wrap dress or a soft pair of sweats.

Facebook and other social media sites make it even more pronounced- sans nuance, no one can be sure about intent- sarcasm comes out mean, humor comes out mean, mean comes out funny, and on and on. (Fact: people fall for ‘The Onion’ everyday regardless of how preposterous the headline)

After taking a year long break from Facebook, I decided to re-up one day on a whim. Maybe I was being too hard on poor FB? I mean- everybody’s on it, right?

Soon, very soon, I was back on that black cloud. There’s something- an ‘essence’ or ‘vibe’ that makes it a downer. Of course, this vibe doesn’t kick in right away-otherwise there would be no Facebook. Rather-it builds up slowly, and comes on silently- like being poisoned with carbon monoxide through a tiny hole in the duct system. It takes a while, but by the time you’re sleepy, it’s too late. You’ve been poisoned.

On Facebook, everyone’s talking, but no one’s saying anything. Old friends demonstrate why they are old friends with rampant, raw racism (so much of that! Apparently, many of my middle and high school friends were hiding white hoods in the back of their closets! Hand to god, it’s shocking!) twisted politics (example: people who get any kind of government assistance complaining about other people getting assistance, people who don’t have jobs posting anti-Monday sentiment and all manner of blatant hypocrisy) Exhibiting the spelling skills of second graders (often while simultaneously  bragging about the local school system) Posting platitudes that I,  far from a genius, can mentally pick apart in two seconds (“Follow Your Bliss’- what if mine is hookers and cocaine?) along with photos of food (the eternal wtf?) not to mention the incessant humble-bragging (as if no one is cracking that code!).. it’s all such nonsense! I thought we were better, smarter and a hell of a lot more humble than that. I was wrong.

(I imagine if there is any real FB honesty it’s in the private messages people write behind each others backs, or the lurking on a mutual’s page with intent to pick it apart)

Facebook pages are curated like museums-and even though this seems ridiculously obvious to some of us, an incredibly large number of people buy into it! Some even  suffer from gnawing jealousy and/or obsession with certain ‘friend’s’ Facebook pages. To be clear: this envy is of lives that don’t even exist in the first place! Sadder still is the sweeping human instinct to actually curate a fake existence in a conscious attempt to make others feel less than. Social media has turned what was once deemed a character flaw into a sport. Keeping up with the Jones’s can now be mainlined every day, creating ‘junkies’ for the  edited, virtual world others are creating out of sheer spite. How difficult is it to cherry pick the sizzle reel, while hiding the untoward? Easy Peasy Lil’ Weezy!

Why does human nature propel people to knowingly try to inflict pain upon one another? Why would anyone want to be the source of someone else’s misery? Jealousy-if that’s what you’re going for (and you are!) feels bad! Why do so many people want their pretty (posed, airbrushed) pictures and (leased, debt-incurring) possessions to make other people feel like shit? Isn’t that a nasty sentiment? Do you feel like I do- that if we could get to the bottom of what drives people to be like this, we could improve the human condition by leaps and bounds?

I know a few people who regularly check the pages of those who make them feel ‘less than’. They buy into the hand picked Facebook ‘stories’ posted by calculated ‘keep-up-with-the-Jones’-types. They come away from these sessions depressed and slumped over. They can’t seem to stop this self-inflicted habit. Why? There is such power in not ingesting the poison! Don’t drink the Kool-Aid! Stay away! Not to mention, privacy is the real precious gold- and it is becoming as rare as the Hope diamond!

Facebook is the long-winded Christmas letter that won’t stop arriving. A boon for the blowhards, an albatross for those who buy in.  I say- if something makes you feel bad, feels inauthentic or is mean-spirited, leave it alone! Life is too short to spend it engaging with toxic people who want you to feel bad about lives they are inventing! It’s all smoke and mirrors! Block Facebook, the news, the political maelstrom, the frenemies- stop letting this negativity color your life and your mood. Stop inviting it into your day-to-day!

Then- and only then, can you appreciate your  life and the good things in  your own backyard. And who isn’t happy- relieved even!– to be the kind of person who doesn’t have to rub someone else’s nose in the dirt to feel good about yourself? Or feel compelled to post scenes from your (edited) life onto social media to validate your (invented, cropped, filtered) existence?  The world needs more people who are rooting for other people, not bashing them! And we all need a break from ridiculously fragmented, out of context narratives, written in poison pen, for spite,  these frenemies coiled up on your ‘friends’ list, waiting to strike.

 

 

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