In that order. Skip down to the next page if you only want to read the “witching” and “Ellen” parts.
I was recently in Memphis, visiting my son and daughter-in-law, and the subject of social media and Facebook came up in conversation. Despite the fact that both of them are tech-savvy (his job is doing computer administration stuff), they do not “do Facebook”.
The reason is simple: what you put online never, ever goes away. They are private people and they don’t like the thought of their personal lives being on the internet for all to see.
Even programs where the developers state you can “erase” things – “Snapchat” comes to mind, for example – it’s never really erased. It can be buried in your device, perhaps, but if someone really wants it they can get it.
No program makes it impossible, too, for someone to just copy what you write and post, meaning it can be out there in cyberspace, in perpetuity.
Ok, so I understand and respect their position. Which is why my Facebook page has NO pictures of either of them, or their dogs, nor will it have, ever.
We also discussed the more vacuous things that are found on Facebook – pictures of peoples’ meals, of everything they bought that day, of every party they attended and of everyone they ever knew.
Then there are the one or two-line homilies about the nature of life and so on. Most of those are banal.
My posts often come under fire for “being negative”, as discussed in the last blog post. So I decided that, on my way back from Memphis, I would only post trivial and positive things.
The first post was when I was in the Memphis airport at 5 AM, waiting for my flight to board. I commented on how nice the airport is, with its redesign and blues music on the loudspeaker.
Then I posted from Pittsburgh, stating I was waiting for the final leg of my flight to board, drinking a latte and playing “Words with Friends” with a friend (who was also on Facebook).
Finally, I posted when I got home, stating my cats were upset (I should have included a cute picture, my bad) but that the flight – in a 6-seater, one-prop plane – was terrific.
Ugh. Who in hell cares??
To me, it was all inconsequential stuff that happens in my life, and in everyone else’s life, too.
I rarely even think about stuff like that, or if I do it’s only for a minute or so.
My head is filled with “what can I do to make the world better?” and “how can this experience/thing I saw illustrate the point that people need to be kind” and “how do I frame this struggle with illness/disability so that it can educate others?”
I don’t care – and I suspect you probably don’t, either – what flavor my latte is, aside from what to order at the coffeehouse counter. Unless I work for the coffeehouse, what possible reason could I have to take a picture of it and post it on Facebook?
The Memphis airport plays blues music. Big deal. Unless it plays music recorded by one of my friends, and I can use Facebook to promote that, why post about it?
Who cares who I play “Words with Friends” with? Or that I had a nice flight? Why should I waste my time, and yours, writing about things like that?
Yet this seems to be what the majority of people on Facebook do, every day all day.
Not everyone has to post earth-shattering news/opinions and so on, that’s not my point. But it’s like there is no filter on what they post, or even priorities.
A picture of someone’s lunch has the same weight for them as their snippet about their deity or their philosophy of life.
There’s something really disturbing about that. Disturbingly shallow.
Aside #1: I do have friends who post pics of meals for other reasons, such as they created something for their elderly mother – and I like posts like that. Because they carry meaning about life, and relationships. Same goes for posts about their new cars, and new houses, and other good things that come their way – I like to know my friends are doing well.
But I cannot post meaningless trivia about my life – it seems so self-indulgent, and it assumes people want to know every dumb little thing I do all day. And, hey, unless someone is a stalker, I cannot imagine why they would want to know all that.
I suppose I could just give up posting on Facebook entirely, and I actually have considered that. Still might. I find it rude when people write me to advise me to “stop being negative”, or go so far as to post those banners or whatever-you-call-them with sayings about how messed-up negative people are…on my timeline, really?
I could just “unfriend” those people. I haven’t decided what I want to do yet. But, again, this feels exclusionary to me. After all the “cliques” I’ve been tossed out of, from high school onwards, all the jobs I have lost due to my opinions, now I’m being pushed out of Facebook for not conforming?
Really? Not even by the actual Facebook admins, but by people I know socially?
Ok, rant over.
Victoria, this was an interesting read. I don’t post on Facebook because it lives out there forever, and anything can and might be used against me. Why ask for more challenges than life already gives us?!
Yes, I agree. There are many cases where someone’s posts have gotten them into trouble with an employer, a loved one, and so on. It’s not happened to me, but my daughter (for example) posted about going out of town a couple of years back, and she got burglarized while she was away. People don’t realize that “a friend of a friend of a friend” can find information if they want it.
Another fine read!
Your son and his wife are probably much better off staying away from social media. It is really insidious, like a drug, the way it slowly gets you hooked. Soon enough you find yourself spending more and more time on it.
There really is a tendency to give out too much about yourself, whether you realize it or not.
The best thing I ever read about posting anything to the Internet, not just social media is don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mother to read. (Of course, in my case, since my mother had seven sons, there’s probably a lot more latitude there than with most people!)
Sometimes I wish I hadn’t got so involved in it… However, now it is really the only way I find work, via posted casting calls. And I have to admit that I don’t regret reconnecting with SOME people from my past (wink!)
And your comments about Ellen were interesting. It reminded me of an article I read years ago. A guy was nominated by some organization for a “Father of the Year” award. He declined, saying he didn’t believe in being rewarded for doing what you’re supposed to do to begin with.
The world needs more people like that.
Totally agree, I wish we had more people like Ellen…there are probably more people like her than we realize, as they usually eschew publicity and the like. It would be a nice thing to hear more about people like that.
I think the comment about something you wouldn’t like your mother or grandmother to read is spot-on. And also, “the internet is forever” often echoes through my mind before I write things anywhere.
It is this last that I think people don’t heed. They write whatever pops into their heads, not caring or thinking about how what they just wrote can be re-hashed, again and again, or used to support a criticism of how hateful they are…seen by potential employers and the like. Young people can be very impulsive but it would be good if they could just control that “send” impulse until they have calmed down a bit (or grown up a bit!).