Once upon a time, I thoroughly enjoyed updating my whereabouts 24/7, especially on Facebook. Guilty like many of the other 1.39 billion users around the globe, I would post sexy pictures of the most scrumptious meals and boast as to where I was dining, or shopping or whatever that day. And if not updates of provocative, mouth-watering and expensive meals there were the pictures from Disneyland, the weekend getaways, the latest DLSR camera purchase, or simply a note with a picture of my washed Prius just to demonstrate how nice and shiny it is. Oh…and let’s not forget doggy and kitty pictures. They are by far the best especially when wanting to garner extra attention.
It’s true, we’ve all been guilty of bragging, boasting, gloating, exulting, and showing off via social networking accounts. Caught red-handed and equally red-faced, I refrained from the boastful social media braggadocio for the first month and a half of this year. But recently I backslid and allowed a fitbit sticker I won to be posted on my timeline. I proudly gloated that I walked 20,000 steps in a day exactly 12 days ago, not that I was counting. (Well, yeah, I was.) And although it garnered only two “likes,” I was pleased with myself and patted myself on the back while enjoying a couple of “atta-girls” from FB friends. Sigh. But there are so many friends and family members who are rather talented at soliciting enough likes to graduate them to a level of importance that supersedes us dull, unpopular FB folk.
Some people truly gain self-esteem and reassurance virally. If that sounds like a disease, well it sort of is. Some of us still actually absorb a special moment or transition in our life, regardless of how major, and we’d prefer to actually not broadcast it. To everyone else, though, we may not have much of a life. However, while everyone else is glued to their smart phones, tablets, and computers, some of us are actually enjoying special moments in our lives, removed from needing to celebritize ourselves via social media. While I am definitely guilty of blocking and unfriending people on FB whom I no longer want to associate with, I have also noticed some other rather silly and childish behaviors on Facebook.
For example, it’s OK to block and unfriend people who are harassing you or those who are like a cancer on your soul. It’s another thing entirely to do so just because you’re apart of some unfounded gossip. Some people, including family, will believe the worst about you. Been there, experienced that, and trust me family feuds aren’t fun. As a matter of fact, I’ve had my share of family drama. But, I am the type who would rather address an issue rather than passive aggressively sweep it under the rug, or for that matter suddenly “unfriend” someone. You better believe that if I do, it’s for good reason.
This is because I have addressed the problem and the other party or parties involved aren’t willing to meet in the middle. Or they simply ignore me. They would prefer to act high and mighty and judge before getting to know me, or the situation at hand. These people may label you as “intense” or “awkward” or “different” or “high strung” without getting to know that you are a three-dimensional person who is capable of calm or capable of other sides than just the one dimension they choose to see you as. Frankly they are bullies.
In many cases where I’ve been subject to scrutiny, unfounded lies and rumors, childish behavior, and placed under unfair judgments I’ve cut ties completely. This means in person and virally. I don’t see a grey area in this. If I am not given the opportunity to demonstrate who I really am, the whole me without certain individuals scrutinizing me, judging who I am without even getting to know all of me, then I’d rather not be in their life or allow them not be a part of mine.
And no, we’re not friends on Facebook if you don’t want to get to know the real me in real life. I find it hypocritical to be friends with people online, and this includes relatives, yet we can’t stand each other in person. I don’t believe in doing things just for show. Why? So that everyone on my “friends” list can see the façade and believe in the perfect Internet profile constructed?
The one thing I’ve always been guilty of is being 100 percent real and straightforward. And guess what, I don’t think that being flat-out, brutally honest is a bad thing.
I’ve also come across some FB fanatics, the ones who use it the most tend to be one-sided. They’ll post a million things on FB and garner all sorts of viral attention, yet they’ll rarely if ever return your “like.” Not that people are purposely trying to have a one-sided relationship. But, in my social media research – yes, I have and do get paid to utilize my social media skills to help promote individuals as well as businesses – I have noticed that there are mutual “likers” and those that just want all the attention. The latter couldn’t care less what you’re up to. Personally, I find this to be highly annoying.
The Bottom Line:
I do not use social media for personal approval. I think I was at one point sucked into that world like everyone else. But, I find it to be extremely unhealthy to use social media as a confidence booster. So, I do not care anymore whether or not I get “likes” because I’ve decided that my ego can do without it. And honestly, I feel much more mentally sane having provided myself the necessary boundaries of knowing why and when to use social media and for what purpose. I have known plenty of people who I am rather close to – family or otherwise – who are very one-sided. These selfish, one-sided braggers represent the number one reason I’ve stopped putting all of my energy or even a fraction of it into Facebook. Instead I’ve decided to get a life actually live it rather than spend exorbitant amounts of precious time wondering who is doing what and when, who is buying this thing or that and what and where so-and-so ate or what amazingly plush international vacation they just took. It becomes harder and harder to not compare yourself to someone else’s attainments. It’s very easy to view your life through a narcissistic lens when abusing Facebook. It really does become a drug.
So, now I stop by FB every once in a while, only to periodically check updates and to “like” a few posts. I no longer care if they will return the favor. What I’ve learned about social media, especially Facebook is this: Many on social media are self-absorbed, and so the trick to keeping sane is to have no expectations and most importantly never ever give FB the kind of energy that can otherwise be used more productively and positively in your real life where your energy counts the most. I truly believe that social media can be an amazing marketing tool for individuals and businesses.
At the same time, it can also bring out the worst in people, and I truly believe narcissism is the ugliest thing about Facebook and social media in general. It also encourages an unhealthy need for validation. Social media indeed thrives and encourages selfish behavior. That’s the truth. But, it’s here to stay for a long time. It can be an awesome communication and connectivity tool. I’ve joined self-help, mental health groups on FB that has helped me immensely. But that’s how I use social media today, as a positive connectivity and marketing tool and nothing more. Other than utilizing FB page for my blog posts, you won’t see a ton of personal updates from me. For good or bad, I now do my best to get out into the real world and off the computer, off the mobile, off the tablet and actually live my life.
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This entry was posted in Culture & Tech, Relationships and tagged Arrogant People, Boasting, Bragbook, Bragging, Facebook, Life Balance, Narcissism, OCD, Self-Absorbed, Social Media, Social Media Obsession, Technology, Viral Friends.