They say Twitter is where you bare your truth to strangers, and Facebook is where you lie to your friends. I’ve seen a few things (on Facebook) lately about how most people only post their positive, slightly false sides, and so we should all embrace honesty and post about the mundane and the bad things that happen to us, to show that we are in fact ordinary, real people and not magazine articles. I disagree. I am an ordinary, real person, and I think if I posted half the stuff that goes on in my ordinary, real life many of my friends would either die of boredom or unfriend me for their own sanity. I post positive things because there is enough negativity and despair already, I post cat videos to make sure there is something for people to smile at amongst the horror feed of today’s politics. I don’t post my personal downers because that is what they are – personal. I don’t pretend not to have them, I don’t think I am a fake person because I keep my newsfeed free of the times I can’t get out of bed, or the times I have to cook dinner without touching the sharp knives, or the times it takes all my strength of will not to burst into tears when the cashier tells me how much the groceries cost, and still feel physically sick for hours afterwards. Well yeah, OK, I just told you those, but it won’t happen again 😉
I am real. I have good days, I have bad days, we all do. I celebrate my good days by sharing them with my Facebook friends, and I survive my bad days by sharing them with a packet of kettle chips. Or a good friend and a coffee. So just because someone’s life looks shiny and full of restaurant dates and autumnal walks and fabulous holidays, don’t dismiss them as being false, and don’t envy them for being perfect. They are neither of those things.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject, I would just like to speak out in praise of online social networks, and in disdain at those who harp on about how – again – fake it all is. I have met some amazing people through social media, and kept in touch with so many more. I have friends on Facebook I have never met in real life, but with whom I would entrust my deepest woes and probably my children if such need arose. I have friends on Facebook who are housebound, hospitalised or live so remotely that with the best will in the world a swift pint and a natter down The Rising Sun just isn’t going to happen. I am in touch with global groups of like-minded people who help each other, who set up meetings both virtual and physical, who share information, knowledge and advice. Social media is a tool, not a religion, and it’s a damn good one.
There is a whole other discussion to be had about how Facebook *can* facilitate a more shallow discussion, as it is easy to fall into just replying to other people’s dramas, and shouting your opinion in a comments thread without really engaging with any person or conversation in particular – but I’m bored now and I’ll let you think on that by yourself (or in the comments).
My Facebook feed is going to stay real, and positive, and imperfect. And occasionally hilariously funny. Just like me.