It saddened me to see all these people, chained to their online lives, posting flattering photos of themselves, “liking” a funny status update, posting or retweeting a link. It’s a never-ending race to remind others that we’re here, that we exist. It reminds me of when I used to do dance routines and little plays for my mom. “Look!” I’d yell every few seconds. “You’re NOT watching! Look!” It gets exhausting. And it’s not really living.
Last December, a particularly rough month for me, a cherished friend who I hadn’t spoken to in quite a while responded to learning about my rough patch with, “I checked your Facebook page and it looked like everything was going great.” That’s when it hit me, Facebook is the place you act out who you’d like to be, your best parts, not who you really are. Sure, it’s a part of who you are. It’s the part you show at parties, job interviews, when you’ve had enough sleep. And why would you share anything else? I certainly don’t want all my struggles, fears, failures, and all those mundane aspects of my life touted out to 400 of my closest digital allies. Recently I came across this great article about a woman who swore off Facebook and Twitter for 4 months. Like me, she used these tools as a way to get news, keep up with friends, and and and anxiously check in multiple times a day lest she miss out on something big.
Sure, you can perpetuate the essence of popularity, the notion of success, and never run out of things to talk about when you finally meet these people live, but it’s not the real world. The real world is the real world. So my friends, read on and enjoy. And, when I see you in the digital world I’ll think about all the other things you’re not sharing and love you just the same.