Facebook — or a variation thereof — was created by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004. If you live in a cave on Saturn, you might not know that FB is a social medium onto which people can post photos and comments about, well, really anything they might feel the need to share. Facebook’s closely related sister — Instagram — is very similar, only it mostly features photos.
While Mr. Zuckerman didn’t call me up in 2003 and ask for my input and advice, I’m fairly sure his objective was to allow people to communicate information about their lives to those who choose to follow you. Of course, the Facebook user chooses just what they want to let people know about. And my guess is that mostly they share a very narrow slice of their lives.
I signed up for Facebook sometime around 2008 or 2009. I had to close down my account at one point because a Bad Guy hacked into my account and began telling my friends that I was in London and lost my purse and passport and needed them to send me oodles of money. Thankfully, no one fell for the ploy. I closed down that account and joined under another email address. And just for the record, if I’m ever in London and lose my purse and money, I will not ask for donations. Unless you insist.
The thing about both Facebook and Instagram is that no one tells a complete story of their life. No one would be interested in seeing a picture of me in my sweats. without makeup, telling you all that I’ve had a shitty day. I don’t feel like cooking. There’s an inch of dust on my furniture because I don’t feel like dusting. Bill and I have been bickering all day long.
Nope. I — along with most others — post photos of my garden plants when they are thriving, and my bedroom when it’s freshly painted and the bed is made, and the fresh loaf of bread that I just took out of the oven when the egg wash is still gleaming.
The reason I started thinking about this was that I read a book called Confessions on the 7:45, by Lisa Unger (which I will review very soon). I don’t want to give away the story, but it deals a lot with the picture she paints of her life on social media and how it is vastly different than her real life. I found that notion disturbing and, frankly, pretty accurate.
I used to post photos about my life quite frequently on Facebook and Instagram. I’ve never figured out Twitter and my dance moves aren’t good enough for Tik Tok. I don’t even know all the other forms of social media. I know I’m showing my age simply by even mentioning Facebook. I post my blog on Facebook every day out of habit. (Also, my sister Bec “likes” my post everyday to let me know she’s alive and well. Seriously. It’s our check-in system.) But as for the rest of my life, I almost never post any more. I’m not anti-posting; I just figure my blog allows my friends and family to keep up, and they don’t want to hear a single word more.
Social media is a great means of communicating with far-away family and friends. But I have to remind myself as I look at everyone’s life, that they probably don’t wear makeup sometimes and dust may collect on their furniture as well.