Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Facebook Folly

Facebook hurt my feelings today.

Sometimes Facebook hurts your feelings when no-one "likes" your photo or status.  Or maybe you post something meaningful and heartfelt and receive no comments.

Other times, Facebook is hurtful if you check your friends list, and notice that someone "dumped" you as a friend.  That's what happened to me today.  I was the victim of an "un-friending".

The silly thing - I don't even know when exactly it happened.  I don't know the fateful hour when this person decided to clean-up their friends list and wipe me from their newsfeed.

And I honestly felt crushed... but then I began to reason with myself - am I acting like a Jr. High school kid?  Does social media really have that much power over my emotions?

Too bad I'm a softie.  'Cuz it hurts.

However, it does give me cause to question how much "approval" I seek from such a fickle, artificial environment.  Facebook may provide more accessible, often light-hearted access to relationships.  Often, these are people whom I wouldn't physically be able to remain in contact with over the years due to time and/or distance - but, once again, it doesn't offer a true representation of humanity.

Even I am guilty of carefully wording status updates, to ensure they are received a certain way (I hope).  I also avoid commenting on political/religious/parenting/philosophical debates because I don't want to bother with unpleasantness during my "social media break-time". 

Then... there are the profile photos that are so carefully selected to look "better than real life" and display me in the best possible light.

I can't even imagine if Facebook was in "real-time" to the degree that my profile photo was a current image of myself - no matter what I was wearing, what my hair looked like, whether or not I was wearing make-up, and no matter where I was currently seated. (Ummm... I can't be the only one guilty of using their smart-phone in the bathroom!)

So, I've established that social media is contrived, perhaps even fake to a certain degree.  But, "real" or not, it is also very powerful.  It can make me laugh, cry, be encouraged, and even warm my heart.

Despite the "good" of Facebook, I have taken a stand and deleted Facebook off of my phone.  This is not due solely to the woes I've just pointed out, and recently being "un-friended", but because I feel that I need to have a firm grip on reality in order to fully live my life.  I don't want Facebook to replace face-time with the people who have to live with me day after day.  They are the ones who experience the unfiltered "me" and I want to give them a more devoted, attached, committed relationship.  Instead of constantly looking for approval, and connection, and even laughter in the glowing lights of a screen, I am going to look for more satisfaction in the faces of my children, husband and those with whom I am blessed to spend my time.

Facebook is not my umbilical cord of connection to humanity... although, my smart-phone, with it's melodic bleeps and boops throughout the day would like me to believe that the opposite is true.  So, I will silence those noises, and instead spend my days with my attention tuned to the laughter of my children - to the words they are waiting to speak, and to the emotions that they wish to share.

Hello, reality!

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