I can always tell when I am spending too much time on Facebook. We’ve all read the articles: Facebook causes depression. Comparing ourselves to glorified versions of our friends, coworkers, and former classmates is a bad idea. Yet, I find myself compulsively checking my news feed, more and more, looking for a little nugget of acknowledgement or approval. I become addicted to validation.
And then after realizing that no one is paying any attention to me, I catch myself judging other people, sneering silently, or, when feeling pressed to create some attention for myself, I may even leave a snarky comment. Of course there is the other side of the coin; when I can tell others to think me inferior, or when I feel like something I said or posted was misunderstood.
Social media is a weird, weird world. I’ve had a rocky go at Facebook from the start. I made a late transition from Myspace. One of my friends had to help me figure out what the point was. Sometimes, it’s awesome. I used to have a really interesting, picturesque job. That was a great time for me on Facebook, it was great to share all of my fun photos and experiences. But aging, changing to a more low key method of bill paying, and difficulties in my personal life have made it significantly less thrilling to share myself on social media. I have changed my life so much that my circle has drastically shifted, and shrank. I have had to unfriend and block many people. Accidentally happening on posts or comments from of these now “non-friends” stirs up uncomfortable feelings. I am still Facebook friends with people who wouldn’t have a real conversation with me in real life.
I started this post before the election. Since we now have a new president, social media has gotten even more twisted.I really thought that after the election, things would quiet down, but was I ever wrong.
I am inspired though, to become a more politically active person. I think one of the best uses for social media is to argue politics with other people. By that I mean engage in active conversations, not post fake, inflammatory, memes and stories. (That’s called propaganda FYI, and it’s nothing new.)
So here’s hoping for an engaged 2017, where I will worry more about who I am and what I stand for than how cool I appear to be compared to my friends.