Networking in virtual space is a great way to keep in touch with people you don’t see regularly. But you have to remember it’s basically a giant holiday newsletter. While I certainly don’t mind when people post pictures of vacations or family events on social networking sites, I don’t post those pictures because I am a little more of a private person than some – just like in real life conversations some people share a lot and some are more private.
I think there’s so much tragic and bad stuff in the world that sometimes people want to celebrate the good. “Phew, I am neck-deep loaded with work but look at this nice box of chocolates my sweetheart sent me.” It’s not a competition, it’s just a way of saying, “Life ain’t perfect so I’m going to savor the times when it is so that I can remember them when it really sucks.”
It has been my experience…and I’m NOT saying this is always, or even usually, the case, but in my experience, people who post overly happy braggish stuff on Facebook tend to be rather unhappy people who are only trying to make themselves feel better with whatever responses they may get. When I see these types of posts, I always feel a pang of pity for the status update. If you have to advertise it, it’s because it isn’t as good as it seems.
Yes, there are kvetchers and soul-barers, but in most cases, people post the good stuff (in other words, brag) and don’t confide their insecurities and heartbreak. I guess genuine human interaction still occurs face to face, voice to voice, side by side. In lieu of negative posts, these people will Vaguebook. “I knew today was going to be bad.” “No good news yet.” “Some people make me so angry, I could scream.” Then they wait patiently for someone to ask for more information.
You might be wondering why do I feel the need to be so judgmental about Facebook posts or for that matter any virtual networking? My personal favorites are humorous, ironic observations on the absurdities of life. Having said that, other than worrying about a person who wants us to be a mind-reader and answer his dilemma. I “like” the posts I like, and ignore the rest. I feel no need to join in by sharing my similar info others share in the posts I don’t “like”. Not giving in to “new cultural standards” AKA peer pressure, is part of being an adult.
There have been academic articles written about how FB is causing people to become increasingly self-obsessed/narcissistic. I think it’s helpful to remember that we needn’t compare the reality of our private lives with the outward images others project of theirs. Who posts a bad picture of themselves on twitter or google+? Who lets the world know about the marital spat at dinnertime, or how their doctor just prescribed them a new anti-depressant? I’ve seen people post pictures of gifts from Tiffany’s, sonograms, announce job offers, announce deaths and that’s obviously not bragging, but it is weird watching people “like” an obituary. I will not lie but I used to have “Facebook envy” few months back when Life was not a romantic comedy. I am temporarily not on facebook since then and somehow I feel more at peace and self-connected. When things are down in your life, seeing people “brag” or “share” or whatever can be overwhelming. I will never fully understand virtual networking. But, I have learned to let it go and focus on living my life and letting others live theirs…
One can feel competitive reading the “brag” posts or one can feel happy that life is good reading the same posts. I choose “life is good”. Well, humans are born storytellers!!!