The Defiance of Facebook
It is a sad state of affairs when we become addicted to something that is not even real. Wait, maybe that is, in fact, the crux of addiction…substituting a fake reality preferable to one’s own. Facebook creates a virtual playground where we all have the maturity of middle schoolers. Like pot, or alcohol, or sex, it’s all good in moderation, but too much, too often, with the wrong people gets you in trouble. Fair warning, I’ve been working up to a good rant on this topic, so if Facebook is your jam, please abort now.
I am not a Facebook shamer. Don’t get me wrong, I swing in this playground too. When my husband’s gone or I’m alone in an airport or essentially any time I want to connect with a world I sort of “know”, I too, turn to Facebook. I’ve Facebook stalked exes and futures and bitched about how “happy, happy, happy” people whom I legitimately think are miserable sons of bitches look in their family Christmas photos. I’m a casual addict. If you’ll forgive the analogy, I only smoke when I drink.
But let me be clear. I do not care if you friend or unfriend me on Facebook. It communicates nothing of substance to me other than my head popped up in your “People You May Know” feed or you’re too chicken shit to confront me with your issue and must express your malcontent with the click of a button. What is that? If I meant so much to you that at some point I show up in one of your Facebook quiz results (likely as your best drinking buddy) or the system reminds us of our friendversary, that likely means Facebook’s algorithm recognized that you and I were in the same place at the same time more than once. Hence, you likely have my number and can call me to tell me why you’re pissed. Or don’t. Whatevs. But please know Facebook is not my friend language, so I’m not getting it. Whatever “it” is.
I think we can all cop to enjoying a few well placed meme’s or Huffington Post’s litany of Trump hateration. I certainly enjoy drunk photos of your Friday night or my 812th attempt at a car selfie. Facebook can be a lovely distraction, a place to remind anyone and everyone of the daily tribulations that make us human.
Let me tell you what Facebook is NOT for…
Airing your dirty laundry — No one wants to hear the details of your custody battle with that lying, cheating asshole you used to be married to. I get it. He’s a dick, but there’s not an emoticon for that, so call me, I’ll throw some war paint under my eyes and we’ll go smash his tires. Leave it off Facebook.
Bullying — This one makes me most sad. Do not share anyone else’s weaknesses, private moments of shame, or deepest fears on Facebook. That makes you a horrific excuse for a human, and everyone should defriend you. Period.
Attempting friendship — If you lost my number, please PM me, and I will gladly text it to you. Chances are, I still have yours. Do not try to establish, rekindle, or repair our relationship via Facebook. It will only serve to show me you do not understand my kind of friendship.
Lamenting the lives of others — I promise, everyone else on the planet is actually as miserable, if not more, than you. They, too, are capable of smiling for the camera with their rugrats and their dirty, rotten, good for nothing spouse once a year so we can all keep believing they are the Waltons. Listen, the Waltons slept in separate beds and their lives were not in color. Think about it. You don’t want that. You’re doing just fine. Let them live their misery. You share your happy, and then they’ll be jealous of you! Problem solved.
Reconnecting with your high school boyfriend — You moved on for a reason. Facebook’s ability to match people who knew each other when is a dangerous, dastardly game. They may look AH-mazing now and be on their second divorce so totally single for you to relive the glory days, but I’m telling you, people come in to your life for a reason, and they leave for a reason. Let them be gone.
Poking the bear — If you are the one Republican in your friend group, do NOT throw out some thinly veiled attempt to start WWIII on Facebook. Nobody needs to get all riled up about what one asshat types while sitting safely behind his computer screen drinking a Red Bull and eating a Twinkie (they do still make those, right?). Defriend these people. They won’t get it, but at least you don’t have that shit clogging up your newsfeed.
Here’s the skinny people. We need to live in the real world. It’s big and beautiful and sometimes bossy and bad. But it was given to us to explore, and there’s no bigger insult to whomever you believe is responsible for that than to attempt that exploration from behind your computer screen. Love, laugh, lose, live. Document it on Facebook if you must, but keep in mind that that is all Facebook is…a catalog of the experiences you actually have. If the only thing on your personal newsfeed is a shit ton of shares of other people’s articles, pictures, events, stories, etc., you’re doing it wrong.
The defiance of Facebook is sharing the reality that actually exists, the one you live every day, the one you are responsible for, the one you will actually claim as true. Share a pic of the “preparing for said family photo” shot. I guarantee there’s gum in your oldest’s hair and your little one is screaming because he wanted the blue shirt instead of the red and your husband is not there yet because why would he be on time for once? That’s real life, and it’s so much better than the Facebook version.
I’m going to go post this on Facebook now. I’m a sucker for irony, and I’m kinda gunning for a few more defriendings before the day is through. I promise my feelings will be so hurt that I’ll need to drink a margarita on the beach with my peeps before the concert we’ve got tickets to tonight. We’ll post pictures later of living, because I’m nothing if not defiant.