This post was originally posted on SDMOMfia, but it always bears repeating...
Last week I got a call from my best friend from High School. Between kids, work and life we hadn’t had a chance to talk much lately. Yet she knew where I had dinner the night before and saw that Zoe got new shoes. Ahhh, the wonders of Facebook. Keeping us aprised of hundreds of friends, and the minutiae of their lives.
My husband Jason and I put a lot online. Between Facebook, Twitter and our blogs, you can probably piece together what you think our daily lives look like…or can you? See, maintaining an online presence is kinda our job (one that one day we hope will really pay the bills!) and while you may know that we enjoyed our dinner last night, do you really know US? Jason and I have definitive online personas – our personal brands, as we say. And while these personas have stemmed from our “IRL” (in real life) personalities, we choose what we share online, and what we don’t, based on what we want others to know.
As social networks are becoming more the norm in daily lives, I’ve put together a list of five “Facebook Fallacies” or things to keep in mind while you are online.
- Facebook = FAKEbook: To be brutally honest here, if you think you know someone based on Facebook status updates, think again. Facebook is all about sharing the best or funniest moments in life. Yes, people also share low-points and frustrations, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Take a look at what your friends are posting. Pictures that have been chosen because they are the most flattering angle and then photoshopped or edited. Check-in’s at fab parties, restaurants or airports as you are jetting off for a week in Hawaii. You never see someone posting that they are Target getting more Monistat for that persistent yeast infection or that they just lost their s*%t on their kids in the middle of Starbucks and spent the last 2 hours locked in their bathroom sobbing. Unless, of course, that person is a…
- Facebook “Debbie Downer”: We all have a few of them in our lists. The people whose stream of bummer comments makes you want to jump off a bridge. Occasionally noting that your kids have now been sick for 2 weeks and you want to pull out all your hair is one thing, but if every comment you post is negative, people will get sick of you. We will hover our cursor over the right hand corner of a status update and “hide” your stream of negativity. People go through crappy times in their lives; we all have true grief, anger and frustration and it helps to vent it and get virtual support from your network during these times. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about people that are going through a serious illness, or dealing with the loss of a loved one – those are the people that need you and the people in their lives to help them through and check on them, just like you would do with any friend in a slump. What I’m talking about here are the Debbie Downers, the people that can’t put anything positive up and after reading their updates you literally hear a “sad trombone” in the background. Stop it, because really….
- No One Really Cares: Sorry, but it’s true. I would guess 95% of what goes up on Facebook is stuff that no one else really cares about. I’m not changing the world with my updates and pictures and if I didn’t put them up people wouldn’t have a gaping hole in their lives. So why are we doing it? For fun, for a laugh,to brag or to share information that we think is useful and interesting to others. Think about the last Facebook posting that you can still remember. I bet it was a link to an interesting article or the outtakes reel from “Bridesmaids” that’s making the rounds. Now there is the 5% of things that people DO care about. That includes births, engagements/weddings, celebrity sightings, really exciting news and huge milestones. And while I know that every other picture I post is one of my adorable children, I know that the only person that really, truly cares about that picture is my mother. And while people that happen to be online when I post it may hit “like” or leave a nice comment, I also know that me posting that picture of Zoe in a crazy tutu is not going to change your lives. And that if it didn’t happen to be on the top of your news feed at that very moment, you probably would never have even seen it. Unless of course you are a FB stalker. Which brings me to my last two points:
- Don’t be a stalker… or a lurker: Facebook is modern day voyeurism, a glimpse into the lives of others. Many people are weary of it because of the creepy people out there – just looking, collecting information but never noting they are there. It’s tricky and a fine line. You don’t want to be an over commenter, but never saying anything, just lurking in the shadows.. people, that’s just plain creepy. Comment and Like as you see fit, but being a straight up lurker just isn’t cool.
- Don’t come in my house and piss on my floor: I think of a person’s Facebook’s page as their personal space. It’s an online spot to share their thoughts and opinions, and I treat it like that. We ALL don’t agree with everyone 100% of the time, but unless someone is asking for my opinion, I don’t really give it. Friendly, spirited debates are one thing, but raining on someone’s parade is never okay. If someone is thrilled that a particular proposition just got elected into action, that’s not my invitation to spout off – on their page – on why it should have never passed. I save my rants, and snarky comments, for my page, not my friends’ and relatives’.
Last year it was noted that a single tweet only has the lifespan of one hour. After that, the update is pretty much lost. And Facebook’s posts are not much better. In fact, according to AdAge.com, the average Facebook post gets 50% of its comments/likes within the first hour and 20 minutes, and 80% of all comments are made within 7 hours. While it may seem like some people (current company not excluded) are always online, you know that is not always the case. If you have a busy day, there is a great chance that you missed something, someone posted, or they missed yours.
What I’m trying to say here is don’t mistake Facebook friendship for real friendship, and don’t judge a person on their Facebook cover. What’s inside – what people are not sharing online – is what really matters.
Update: A funny Facebook pic making the rounds that sums it ALL up!