“But how could you?” you say. Well, I’m just starting to wonder whether the whole thing is good for my health.
The constant influx of updates detailing just how much fun everybody else is allegedly having has started to make me feel a bit inadequate. This person is at this supercoolandfunky bar, that girl and her boyfriend are at an outofthisworldhotel, whilst a distant acquaintance has just had the best day of their life. When I’m checking in on Facebook to break up the time between one course of cheese puffs and another, this kind of information makes me question what I’m doing with my life.
And it’s only in the face of this building internet insecurity that I’ve taken the time to realise that, of course, the whole thing is just an illusion. People only post about the very best, the very worst and the very funniest parts of their days – anything in between just doesn’t work as a speed update. If your friends don’t know how to react to what you’ve said within the first 2 seconds, it’s not really worked out.
And what difference does it really make to us that other people know what a good/bad time we’re having? Last weekend my beloved came home with a bunch of tulips for me and beyond being very touched and pleased by this gesture, my next gut reaction was to share the news. A tweet or even a photo upload of the flowers in question would have taken mere seconds to do, and it may even have been ‘liked’ by one or two of my friends. But what good does that do anybody? Is the act made more romantic because other people know about it? Or will I simply annoy a load of my friends by boasting about something nice that’s happened?
On this occasion I didn’t found out as I made the conscious decision to keep this news to myself and remember how it felt to hold a little snippet of enjoyment back from the rest of the world – well, until now anyway.
It was oddly grounding to react to a small act of kindness without any technological assistance. This didn’t get recorded in internet history as proof that somebody out there loves me, should anybody I used to go to school with be looking for such proof, nor was it there to irritate my friends who are quite frankly sick of hearing about the whole thing. It was a bunch of flowers – a simple and small scale gesture – and for once I had a simple and small scale reaction to it. Much healthier.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you must compete to be seen – if only online – as the happiest/fun-est/drunkest of all your friends because, sadly, this is the place they see you most regularly. The image you project is often the only image they know, or at least until you see them at your next three-monthly catch up or however frequently you actually get to see real friends in person. In my case walking talking human beings are a rare treat.
I think, like with so many things, the problem here lies with me. It’s my reaction to Facebook which is making our relationship so unhealthy. A quick scroll down my newsfeed is like a cut down version of the everyman’s Match of the Day; it’s just the highlights – the goals, and the relegations – but without any of the analysis to explain what’s really going on in the changing room. It’s not really the window to my friends’ souls that I first believed it to be.
So, I don’t think there’s any need to leave after all – just a little more pinch of salt taking to be done. And anyway where am I going to post this if I don’t have a Facebook profile or a Twitter account? Somebody out there might like what I have to say.