Facebook, you're a funny thing.
And not in a funny, humorous, "Am I a clown, do I amuse you?" kind of way, but in a fickle friend, somebody-please-give-me-a-warning-if-you're-having-a-bad-day way.
Blogging and tweeting are similar, but not in as personal a way as Facebook is.
For example, a couple years ago I remember talking to my friend about how we love Taco Bell so much and how if we were a Taco Bell menu item we would be _________.
This spurred a Facebook status post asking "If you were a Taco Bell menu item, what would you be?"
I'd say in about two hours there were 50+ comments and at least 75 likes.
When I share something about Support the Arts, or pose a question of something, dare I say, serious or (for fear of sounding condescending or snooty) intellectual, I'll maybe get three likes and people rarely comment on it to share an opinion or have a conversation about it.
Occasionally, when I see someone else's status and it pertains to something I don't agree with, or would like to learn more about, or have some opinion on in any way, I tend to keep scrolling because who likes getting into actual conversations or (the horror!) an online argument.
I totally get that, by nature, most of us are non-confrontational, but does that mean we can't have conversations through our laptops and smart phones? I know that having a round table discussion about marriage equality, abortion, vaccines, immigration, politics, or whatever can be intense for many people because of volume, interruptions, eye contact, body temperature...whatever physiological reactions may occur, but online you're safe behind your computer wherever you're typing. No one can interrupt you, and you have as much time as you need to think things out, present them rationally, and breathe through whatever nervousness you have.
I guess what I really mean is...
Why have we drifted so far away from actually talking to each other? And why have Like buttons and Shares claimed plots in our land of communication skills?
And why has social media become such a factor in sharing feelings, asking questions, relationships, jobs, and essentially every aspect in life whether it's interpersonal, individual, happy or sad, joyous or sadness?
Why is it so simple for friends/followers to Like, Share, RT or double tap for like anything devoid of emotional response or critical thinking, but when there's an actual discussion that could be had where questions could be asked, viewpoints can be shared, and knowledge can be exchanged, we clear the road like a wild west duel at high noon?
Maybe this is more a question for Facebook programmers' algorithms for News Feed sharing. How do you decide what's important to share in my friends' feeds? Is anything relating to food, sports, or pop culture highlighted? Is it based on #NowTrending topics? Or is there a filter that actually hides posts with emotional/inquisitive words like "feel" or "help" or "why?"
Facebook, you're like a brother to me.
But in the way that I know "brother" as I was raised and not as I learned to use the word brother as in "my brothers were in my wedding party" or "I served aboard a submarine with my brothers".
You're like the older kid that lives in the house with me but doesn't really talk to me. You're that guy that is used as a model for excellence for when I screw up, and as someone who takes credit for when I succeed. I share with you in hopes of conversation, but all you really want to know is what I had for lunch, how many games of Words With Friends I'm playing, and how many other social media apps you can follow me on.
You don't really care that I have a job, as long as you know I have one. Nor do you really care what's on my mind, how I'm feeling, what I'm watching, eating, reading, listening to, or what. You don't what to know why anything is going on, but more so just what.
Or maybe this is really about people I think I connect with on Facebook.
So I'm taking back control of my life online as I am taking back control of my life in the sunlight with my feet on the ground and the warmth on my face. I'm not worried about Likes or Shares or updating my information or if you care how many firsts, or places I've been, or relationship status, or hometown, whatever.
I'm calling the shots. I write my own chapters. I ask my own questions. But if you really care what Taco Bell item I am, then ask someone else. I'm a Sonic Chicago dog with cheese tots and a strawberry limeade. I'm a fresh funnel cake with powdered sugar on top--straight up classic no frills. I'm a chocolate Frosty with fries on a summer day while you sit on the curb with sweat dripping down your calf from the back of your knee.
And yeah, if you care, I love my job as a Service and Training Manager at Old Navy. My hometown is TBD because home is home wherever it is. But I was raised in Oakland and Antioch, California. I don't specify that as my singular hometown, though. The LBC is also my home. As is VB back east. And does it really matter if I select Separated, Single, or Divorced? Because anyone that really wants to know could probably have a better conversation with me than your drop down menu.
My life is my life and sometimes I'm more raw and open about it than some people are ready for.
But the cool thing about social media--whether it's a blog like this, or a tweet, or a Facebook status--is that it's like leaving a postcard on the floor of a club. Most people will probably step on it or over it, but every once in a while, something will catch someone's eye and they may read it. Someone may even pick it up and share it with someone.
Whatever happens to it, I got it out in the open, and for me, that makes it more real. That puts my thoughts down "on paper," for public consumption, and I stand behind what I say. That's really me. And as much as I don't fulfill the stereotype for musical-loving theatre geek...
Take me or leave me.