We know its a time suck. We know it is a filter of flaws, a posed perfection, and a poor excuse for interaction.
Still… social media is embedded in our culture like so many leeches in 19th century medicine. Life-sucking and ugly but nevertheless, the acceptable methods of the day. Every one is equally subject to the subtle parasite.
Some of us are consumed by it, Some of us are forced into it, and some of us are big, fat hypocrites who make a big freaking deal about not being on it when the rest of us totally know you are…Some of us have been all three.
As much as you or I may want it to, this Pandora’s box is never closing. The world will never return to a place where your dinner isn’t something I have to know about, and you will never be free from experiencing my internal journey played out in real time… Filter-less, Awkward, and sometimes inappropriate…
Yet, the insidiousness of social media is in the brave new world of social etiquette. It is in the nuance of offence and the fantasy of false community. Its crazy, and its making us even crazier.
Many times, sometimes daily, I hear normal people, well adjusted, college educated people fuss over the invisible social snub of an “unliked” post.
I, myself, often find myself casually scrolling and subtly thinking hateful, judgmental, hypocritical things… things like;
“…you’re an idiot…”
“No one cares about your workout… put a shirt on”
“No one cares about your cat…why is it wearing a shirt?!”
It turns me into a person I’m not entirely proud of and it turns you into someone I am also not entirely proud of. So lets all just take a long sober look at the Frankenstein of human interaction we have created and perhaps consider that we have all in fact, gone insane.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUILT
We may not have seen or spoken to them for 27 years but we’ve wished them a Happy Birthday for every one of them. The guilt of neglecting this obligatory post is almost overwhelming and at times causes us to offer a belated birthday wish with apology…and then we ask how they’ve been when we clearly don’t care. The only thing left to do is offer the sacrificial smiling face emoji and pray for next year.
THEY LIKE ME, THEY LIKE ME NOT
Go ahead, this is a safe space… admit that you know exactly how many “likes” that post got and from whom.
Admit that you were offended when so and so didn’t “like” your vacation update but “liked” whats his names post about whatever…
Admit that you know who failed to “like” something and then assumed a hidden agenda that has no basis in reality.
Just admit that, and bask in the freedom of the self aware.
THE SILENT GUEST AT EVERY POST
We all know you are there… Judging, studying, condemning every Facebook regular and yet, never getting into the mess yourself. You never make your presence known, most people have forgotten they befriended you, and yet…you know and see all.
Its just weird. Stop it.
I LOVE YOU, I JUST DON’T LIKE YOU
You may be siblings. You may be childhood friends. You may have “liked” and interacted with everything they’ve ever done, but the moment they piss you off…nothing…not one encouraging “like.”
It is the social media equivalent of religious shunning. Your interwoven friendships and connections are abuzz with activity, but to you, they are dead…even really funny stuff… you don’t respond…you withhold your “likes” and “lol”s from them.
Stand your ground. Make your point. Above all, don’t attempt a real conversation.
THE MIGHTY “POST” OF JUSTICE
I see you attended a parade for human rights, or the humane society, or sponsored a polar bear…whatever… you’re not better than me….
Honestly, I can go on and on. From your emotional manifesto we don’t know how to respond to, the wedding anniversary ballad that rivals Beowulf, to the lunatic asylum that is the comments section of any article or blog post…we are a culture adjusting to the new normal of faceless interactions.
Its not pretty. It leaves me to deeply consider who I am apart from the veil that it provides me. It reveals the petty, the small, the dark, of my character and the abrupt limit of my “goodness” I frequently have to force myself to pull back and measure my motivations. I frequently become disgusted with its ability to bring out my worst while simultaneously exhibiting my prettiest and best.
We hide our pain, our flaws, our struggles, and our ugly. We control our image in the very real hope of finding connection at the very deliberate sacrifice of intimacy. We argue with phantoms and develop a genuine hatred of people we’ve never met. Left unchecked, It empties us of empathy, fills us with bitterness, and exposes our crazy.
So, maybe go check your Facebook…and then go have an actual human interaction.