Thursday, September 19, 2013

Social Media, How I Loathe Thee

Sometimes, I just hate facebook.

I know you know what I'm talking about. It's everyone's way to engage in what many call "image management". It's our way of controlling the way the rest of the world see us: our marriages, our careers, our families, our friendships.... the list goes on and on. We project to the world the person we want others to see. And you know what? I hate it. Get that instagram filtered picture of your dinner or feet on the beach out of my newsfeed, please.

Another reason I hate facebook? Religious facebook statuses. Ugh. If I have to read another bible verse posed as am ambiguous status about what the person is going through, I'm going to barf. But more than that, it's made me realize how radically different I am than a lot of people I used to associate with, and that makes me sad.

Facebook has also become the place where we fight about social and political happenings, post photos with "social facts" written across them (like the people on welfare should be drug tested and post this if you agree blah blah blah), and generally just fight with one another by commenting on stuff. Hiding behind the computer screen in an attempts to connect and be correct, when really, it's pushing me further away from connection most days.

But then I have days like today.

I have a WONDERFUL friend from college who has recently started reevaluating his religion, or should I say, the way he was practicing religion. Daniel Koons (love you man!) has been posting all kinds of intriguing articles, and stepping out facebook style to share with us the changes he's going through with how he's interacting with his faith and his God. I've never felt more close to Daniel, and we are thousands of miles away from each other.

And then there is Ben. He's been dealing with underemployment for over a year, and has been brave enough to share his family's struggles via facebook with us. When David lost his job? I didn't feel so alone. I'll admit, some days I'd revert back to being jealous of the progress it seems my friends are making, but for the most part? I'd think of Ben, and I'd know somewhere out there, someone else got it.

And then there is Amanda. A friend from Middle School who I totally lost touch with over the years, and now she blogs about being a mom. Not the warm fuzzy "look at how cute my baby is" crap, but the "oh dear God I just locked my kid in the car" kind of crap. I'm not even a mom and I can't help but feel a total connection with her, even though we haven't spoken in years and I think kids are generally gross and sticky.

So to those of you who dare to be open and honest about who you are: thank you. You people are the reason why I don't totally deactivate my facebook and swear off social media. You bring what I believe facebook is attempting to foster: connectedness over distance. You share your stories, good and bad, so that authentic soul connections can actually happen. Thank you.

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