It’s like, as long as I can read and see the interesting things that my peers are expieriencing, I can live vicariously through them and not actually get off my couch. With a few cheap photos and fancy wordplay, I can also make my life appear more intriguing without actually feeling fulfilled. As long as I can lie to myself, I’ll believe it’s working, right?
Wrong. It only works for so long.
I’ve noticed a lack of solid, deep rooted relationships in my life these last few years. At first I figured it was all just a part of getting older; everyone finds (or hopes to find) a full-time occupation, have marriages and maybe children to tend to and then if we’re lucky, we’ll have time for other’s outside of our personal obligations. I can easily admit that I am guilty of not allowing a close draw to other’s in my life - simply because I don’t have a large chunk of spare time. However, I use the term “simply” rather loosely because too much of my time is spent online, pacifying relationships that are weak enough to blow to pieces with a mere whisper of a comment taken out of context.
Real friends will discuss trivial matters over coffee, beer or eggs. They can also get down into the nitty-gritty with alarming conversation like politics and religion without blowing a gasket. In person, we use social cues such as eye contact, rate and pitch of voice as well as body language to signal to other’s when we are uncomfortable with a topic, want to end the conversation, desire to dive deeper into something, etc. We also look for these subconsciously to gauge communication, but with social media, all we have is written dialogue. Facebook “friends” will unfollow you for any stupid fucking reason at all and will use their “wall” as a platform to whip out their dick and piss all over the place, marking their territory because they are equally as unfulfilled as you are - the one who is bitching about the other’s churlishness.
Social media has given me a false sense of connection. The fact is, when I post something extremely personal such as my poetry, something very dear to me; a direct window into my heart, two people out of four hundred and seventy-eight (not counting those who can see my public posts) actually acknowledge it. However, if I change my haircolor and post a photo, I’ll receive forty-eight likes and thirty-two comments, leading me to believe that either:
- My hair is more interesting than my transcriptions and emotional outlet.
- The majority of my “friends” on Facebook only have enough time or attention span to scroll through their feed and hit the “like” button on a photo or offer a few moderate words of recognition rather than take two minutes to read thirty lines of poetry.
- No one really cares but they will quickly remind you that we’re still “friends.”
The number one reason that I kept my Facebook around for the last year was to stay connected to those who inspire me or may be inspired by me. There, I said it. I selfishly kept it activated for my band - the single most important thing to me aside from my family, close friends and pets. I would accept the “friendship” of anyone who found interest in my music, art or voice (theoretically speaking), because I think personal connection is most valuable in the sharing of art and reaching an audience. However, instead of giving my “friends” the chance to hear about our shows, it gives them the chance to easily say “maybe” or worse, “yes,” for their attendance to a show and for me to only be disappointed when their face never appeared at the venue. Hey, I’m guilty too. There have been numerous occasions that I have responded “yes” to an event so I could keep it hanging on my event feed so when the actual date of it arrived, I could decide then if it worked for my schedule or not. It’s a cruel world we live in, but as a host, it’s not always fun.
It seems that we all have commitment issues and Facebook has only made it more convenient to act on our indecision. It distracts us from real life and real time. It offers an escape, much like reading a novel but without actual thought provocation. We’ve become social media robots who have been programmed to post at least one wall post a day, shout out a “Happy Birthday!” every time a notification pops up on our right, post at least two photos a week and make sure our Facebook app is in the top row of icons on the first page of our iPhone screen display. It’s pretty weird.
How many people will I lose contact with when I delete my personal account? Ninety-five percent, I’m sure. I only assume this because after my best friend of nearly fifteen years who lives only two hours away deactivated her account a year ago, we spoke only a handful of times on the phone and saw each other twice. She barely has any idea of what is happening in my life and I, her’s. Why? Because I post it all on Facebook and she’s not there to see. The fault is mine.
Now next year, my highschool graduating class is due for a ten year reunion. I had never envisioned that everyone would already know the whereabouts of old acquaintances after we have all moved away. I had never thought that we’d hang out around a table after ten years of not physically seeing each other while saying “Oh, I saw your seven babies on the FB!” or “Your house looks really nice. I have no idea what you’re actually doing with your life but I just love that new plush sofa of your’s!”
We know too much of the wrong things about each other and too little of the important things.
It’s back to the paper for me.