I am a social media enthusiastic. I work in the industry, but I also use social sharing platforms just for fun, for personal expression, for entertainment, for keeping up with…well…everyone and everything.
My enthusiasm doesn’t make me immune, though, to some concern over how social media is changing how we express ourselves and how we relate to others.
I wrote about this a while ago in a post called How I Feel about Being Unfriended or Unfollowed. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately – especially as it relates to Facebook.
Facebook is the Everyman form of social media. People who don’t blog, tweet, or Google+ are still using Facebook, making it the ultimate melting pot of personalities. For many, it has also become a primary form of communication and expression.
I know in my family, we will either post on each other’s Facebook Wall or send a private Message before we pick up the phone or email each other. Many updates in my Facebook feed read more like diary entries than matters for public knowledge. Even the wealth of political posts seem more like ends rather than any kind of means (given that I think many people are simply blasting their opinions without taking any reasonable action to become involved in or actually change politics).
I say all this knowing that I am just as guilty as the next person in needing to evaluate when NOT to post a Facebook update. In fact, I recently posted something that was just pure complaint. I didn’t want any feedback, any understanding, any perspective or comment on it, I just wanted to complain. I knew how I felt about the situation and what I was going to do; the well-meaning responses from my friends felt like chatter against my raw nerve. If I hadn’t had Facebook as an outlet, I would have likely just written the experience in my journal, or talked with my husband or a good friend to get the frustration out of my system. It would have been over, done. Instead, it became fodder for conversation, and my frustration was compounded. I ultimately deleted the entire thread and took some more mental notes on when to refrain from posting.