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Loving & Hating Facebook
I have a love-hate affair with Facebook. I bet we all do, if we get down to it.
There is something tempting and satisfying about checking in to see all the people we know and who know us, to remember milestones and moments in the lives of other people as we race along our busy schedules, and to receive 200+ birthday wishes once a year.
That’s Facebook’s good side.
But there is a dark side and it is dark indeed.
First, I don’t have to tell you that Facebook and all social media platforms are illusions. They don’t really exist. And all the relationships there are not real relationships.
Thus, once we dip in and scroll through, click like or heart or sad face, we log off and feel … lonely. All this connecting is done behind a big shiny screen and we remain seated alone at our desks or in our cars or at the kid’s soccer game.
When we become bored, we go online, but that does not erase the boredom. It manifests it deeper, behind a mask of busy-ness.
A recent opinion piece in the New York Times posited that “social media is making us miserable,” and I have to say I agree.
On Facebook, everyone is madly in love, highly successful, a fantastic parent and losing that pesky 10 pounds. They’re running marathons and climbing mountains, traveling to the edges of the earth and buying hot cars. They love love love their lives.
“Americans spend about six times as much of their time cleaning dishes as they do golfing,” the article says. “But there are roughly twice as many tweets reporting golfing as there are tweets reporting doing the dishes.”
Nobody posts about their rusting old car. They post about their new Porsche.
No one shares when they hate their husbands, but they post pretty pictures lauding the latest anniversary with their “best friend and soul mate.”
Late-night Google searches reveal our true selves, which no one on Facebook or Instagram is privy to.
So what’s the solution? Spend more time face to face with real people and less time imagining that the lives pictured online actually exist, and are far more fabulous than your own. It’s an illusion.
Each day a friend of mine, John Beiter, sends me a text message to remind me that “reality is not what your eyes show your mind, but what your mind creates for your eyes to see.”
Live in reality.