Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's Unfortunate We All Have to Share One Facebook Page (previously entitled "Why Your Opinion of My Facebook Page Doesn't Matter")

I obviously missed the in-service where Mark Zuckerberg handed out the "Facebook Rules and Etiquette" brochure because I have caught two gallons of shit in a one gallon bucket in the past few weeks (months? years??) over things I have posted to my personal social media page.  What follows is a partial list of complaints:

  • I post too many personal details of my life
  • I post too many pictures of my daughter
  • I post too many "what I'm doing right now" statuses
  • I post too many pictures of dogs in the local pound
  • I post too many silly pictures
  • I post too many statuses in general
  • I check in to too many places
  • I make people uncomfortable talking about depression/mental health (my own)
  • I make people uncomfortable talking about suicide (others')
  • I post links to other people's stories/articles that are too long 
  • I depress people
  • I annoy people
  • I offend people
  • I am too emotional
  • I am too honest
  • I am too needy and desperate for attention
  • I use "bad" language
  • I don't use Facebook the way it was "intended" to be used
Look, I'll own up to the majority of this.  I won't apologize for it, but I won't deny the parts that are factual. I do post details--often of the personal nature--about my life.  This is often done through this blog, the links to which I post on my Bad with Conviction fan page. I then share from that page onto my personal page.  I do post statuses about my life that some might consider to be "overshares."  Here's the thing, though:  it's nothing that I wouldn't say WITH MY MOUTH to someone in the "real" world.  It's not secret that I'm mostly an open book.  Yes, there are things I don't share with the world (or even my Facebook friends), but I just don't understand why people are so concerned with portraying such a damned perfect life on the Internet.  Why shouldn't I talk about difficulties in my life?  Aren't most of the people who read my statuses supposedly my "friends"?  Why shouldn't I be open and honest about my struggles with anxiety and depression?  I'm not ashamed of it, and I don't think others would be so much if it weren't such a taboo subject.   My life isn't always pretty, and my Facebook is going to reflect that.  I'm not oversharing.  I'm just being real and honest.  

Coraline cosplay.  C'mon, how
could I NOT post this?
 I post a ton of pictures of my daughter.  I love taking pictures of her, and I love to share them.  And guess what?  Her grandparents and other family members (especially those who don't live nearby) want to see them!  So what if I just posted 486 Christmas pictures?  Or an entire album of her birthday week?  No one is obligated to click through them and look at each one.  No one is required to look at any of them for that matter.  I can see how it would seem obnoxious, but it's not like I'm taking pictures of her with my cell phone every fifteen minutes and uploading them with a "Look what she's doing!" caption.  I upload an album at a time to share with loved ones and anyone else on my friends list who is interested.  Enough with the "we know what your kids looks like" comments.  I'm not posting them for you.  

I post to Facebook throughout the day, including statuses, check-ins, pictures, links to articles/stories I've read, "funnies," news items, personal blog posts, and so on.  I post thoughts or observations or everyday events.   Sometimes I post things that are humorous. Sometimes I'm angry or depressed or frustrated.  I don't limit my Facebook time to certain moods or times.  There are days I may only post a few times, and on other days, I may post two or three dozen times over a 24-hour period.  To be honest, my Facebook activity mirrors how I am in my actual life.  I like to talk.  I like to tell stories. I like to share information.  If someone doesn't like me on Facebook, chances are they would hate me in the real world.  The person I am on Facebook is who I am.  And those things about which I am passionate in my life are also going to be a part of my Facebook "life," whether it be dog rescue, education, parenting, literature, movies, or whatever.   That being said, I don't post updates on my child's bowel movements.  I'm that Mom, but I'm not THAT mom.  

Am I emotional?  Yes.  
Am I honest?  Yes.  
Am I a little too honest?  I don't believe such thing exists.  

I swear I don't have one.
Do I try to offend people?  No.  Do I offend people anyway?  Of course.  Do I care?  Not in the least.  If I were saying things that are intentionally hurtful to people, if I were spewing hate or racism or bigotry, that would be a totally different situation.  If someone is offended by my choice of words or the topics I discuss (whether on Facebook or on my blog), he or she has the freedom to not read it.  I'm a grown ass woman, and I'm not going to apologize for using words that are just words.  I'm not going to tiptoe around real problems because someone is sensitive or uncomfortable.  Oh, your 12-year-old read my status about suicide prevention week and asked questions that made you antsy?   Well, maybe that's a good thing.  Or maybe your junior high student shouldn't have a Facebook account.  Oh, you were offended by the profanity in a short story I linked to on my blog?  Then don't read it.   It would have been "better" without those words?  Then start your own blog, post your own PG short stories, and post them to Facebook.  I need literary criticism, not the morality police.

Look, I like Facebook.  I even love Facebook a little.  I love being connected.  I love having the people I love just a click away.   I love seeing my friends in far away places living their lives.  And I love knowing that at any time, night or day, I can find someone on-line with whom I can laugh or bitch or cry or remember. Not in some chat room full of anonymous people.  People I know.  People I care about and who care about me.  I don't sleep much at night, and it can get pretty lonely around here.  Facebook alleviates some of that loneliness.  Facebook has also been a source of comfort during the hardest times in my life.  Some of those posts that were "begging for attention" were actually begging for encouragement.  For comfort.  For words of wisdom and hope.  

Do I like attention?  Yes. Am I desperate for attention?  Absolutely not.  But there are times I'm desperate for friendship, for human connection.  I'd prefer that it be face-to-face with a loved one, but that isn't always possible with busy schedules and raising children and not being able to sleep at 3 AM.  

I know this has been a bit "ranty" and I kind of hate to blow of steam like this.    I don't really feel like it matters what people think about my Facebook activity or even about me.  I also don't think I am required to defend or justify myself.  I just wish people would get over this whole idea of Facebook having an "intended" purpose.  We each have our own Timeline, both in the real world and on Facebook.  How we choose to spend our time is really our prerogative. I can't say there aren't things in my Newsfeed that I don't like.  I get annoyed by constant requests to play Candy Crush.  I get irritated when people completely ignore the rules of grammar and punctuation.  I get completely pissed when people post things that they haven't taken 30 seconds to verify, especially if it a blatant (or damning) lie.  But I remind myself that they have the right to post those things.  

And I have the right  to hide them from my Newsfeed without saying something mean or insensitive.

If someone doesn't like what I post or say on Facebook, the "unfriend" button works instantly.  I have zero problems with people disagreeing or challenging what I write; in fact, I welcome it.    But don't be cruel or condescending in the comments or via private message.  Don't tell me I "annoy everyone" or that I should "be ashamed of myself."  Oh, or my personal favorite--"Isn't your family embarrassed?"  I have enough problems in my life without being judged over something I typed in a status bar.  I mean, it says "What's on your mind" in the little box at the top of the page.  I'm trying to cooperate, y'all.  

Seriously, if I annoy you on Facebook, just go away.  Don't try to force me adhere to some imaginary set of rules.  Don't assume that you and I are the same type of person.  And for Larry's sake, don't post snarky, passive-aggressive status updates about my status updates.  That shit gets on everyone's nerves.

And yes, I'm going to end on that completely ear-shattering, hypocritical note.  La, la, la.  


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