You know what sucks about social media? Everything. Ok, well almost everything. I do like seeing how my childhood camp friend is dedicated to her two sons and has a seemingly happy marriage after a not-so-happy childhood. But, do people really need to post every pot roast they cook and every angle of their child’s dorm room bed, including closeups of the tassels on the college-crested pillows? Congratulations, you tripped out her bed. Your medal will be FedExed by a council of FB losers who actually give a shit. And, guess what? You can now post a picture of your medal so everyone can like it and comment on how amazing you are with an assortment of smiley and thumbs-up emojis.
With every downward swipe of my index finger, I am amused and disgusted all at once. I am embarrassed to admit that I am slightly addicted. “Hi, my name is Reggie, and I am a smaholic (social media-aholic).” Is there a twelve-step program for all of us who suffer from this same affliction? It’s almost a form of self-abuse. I roll my eyes and shake my head, but, then, there I am again a few hours later with the index finger scrolling and scrolling. Am I that insecure that I need to see “friends” frolicking at a beach; group-hugging their besties in a parking-lot tailgate; or their kids’ first-day-of-school outfits and new backpacks before they get trashed from the scum on school bus floors? Wtf is wrong with me?
A few years ago, I took a FB leave of absence. I truly didn’t look at it for two years. I just reached the point, where I had to break up with a toxic friend. (I just lied—I did look at it on my birthday, since a FB birthday is probably the only redeeming thing about the site.) It felt good. I felt strong. It was like sticking to a diet, but it’s definitely not as tempting as a brownie that just came out of the oven. You can simply take that same index finger and move your social media icons from your iPhone home screen to a very back screen, where your kids’ Sniper 3D Assassin and HairstyleLite apps mingle with other useless apps. Or, if you’re really brave, you can hold that index finger down and delete those time-suckers right from your screen altogether. I wasn’t that brave. Maybe that’s why I found myself again slowly entering this world of attention seekers, lonely applicants for virtual friends and blowhards. I don’t remember what made me go back. Was I bored? Lonely? Curious? Maybe I wanted to see the posts of my real-life friends, who didn’t shout, “Me, me, me!” I really don’t know. Maybe I missed it like you miss an aunt who irritates the good mood right out of you but have a soft spot for anyway.
Recently I received a friend request from someone I straight up don’t like. I would think that the Miss Manners of social media would tell me to accept the request, since we have many mutual FB friends and see each other at parties. I would have to tell Miss Manners, “Sorry, I just can’t do it.” Why would I let a gossip monger with an underlying nastiness on to my personal page (which is private by the way)? That would be like inviting a writer from Page Six to my dinner party. I also don’t accept requests from kids and teens. How could I when I may be tagged with something funny hanging from my mouth?
So, by now you’ve gathered that I have a very complicated relationship with Facebook, Instagram and all the rest I’ve never even met. I don’t want to see my daughter with a red cup in a hand that leads to an arm and shoulder that are not really wearing a shirt that is way too tight and small. I don’t want to read oozing words of love for your husband on your anniversary only to find out you’re getting divorced a month later. I also don’t want to see you rock a bikini, when I’m dressed like a Hassidic woman on the beach. Yet I keep coming back for more.
Where has privacy gone? Where has humility gone? Where has intimacy gone? If you find out, please let me know—and definitely not in a post or a FB message. Call or text me instead please.
I dedicate this to my true friends. You’re not virtual, and I do care about your posts—even if they are corny and attention-seeking. And, yes, I’m sure I’m tagged in ones you can make fun of me for also. I know, I know.
*All names have been changed.
**Tap on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your phone/tablet/computer. Move your finger around, it’ll appear if it’s hidden.