What I'm finding, now three weeks into my Lenten sacrifice, is that I'm not missing interaction with my friends so much. I'm still seeing their pics when I log in for my five minutes. I'm still corresponding with them by email. In fact, I talking to them on the phone and texting more now. As far as that goes, it's been fairly easy to adjust to in my first 21 days.
What is interesting, is what is harder to adjust to: Not being able to tell everyone what I'm doing and/or what I'm feeling and/or thinking all of the time. It's amazing how my mind works in status updates these days. Last night was my final night volunteering at the winter homeless shelter and as I'm driving to the church I'm thinking of my status update "Last night of the IWS emergency shelter. It's been a long cold winter, and I'm proud to know I helped make some people's lives easier." When the drunk pregnant teenage girl came in my thought was "The smoking pregnant women here don't bother me nearly as much as the obviously drunk ones." Leaving the shelter I was so tired, so when I got home, I popped an ambien and thought: "Just took an ambien. Hope to be in dreamland very soon. Tomorrow comes bright and early" I feel COMPELLED to share these tidbits of my life. Why? The first one, maybe to brag a little. Give myself a virtual slap on the back, knowing that others will probably give me an atta-girl also for my "good deed." The second, to judge? To passive aggressively show that I'm a much better person because I would never have drunk or smoke during my pregnancy. The third, just to complain about my mundane routine.
I've have impulses now and again to update something I just have to share via my Ping account, which updates my FB and twitter at the same time (I have also given up twitter as a by-product). It's not technically logging onto FB, so that isn't cheating, right? Wrong! I have to fight the urge by instead emailing or calling a friend who I think might be interested in what I have to say. Or better yet, just keep the thought to myself! (What a concept!) And then, if it is still so important to share, I can share it during the next morning's log in (all but once, I've forgotten by the next morning).
My point is, I think that we compulsive FB users are addicted to over-sharing. We:
- list the mundane details of our life "Just finished grocery shopping. Now waiting in line at the post office. Ugh, gotta make it home in time for American Idol."
- share TMI "Wish this stomach bug would go away. I threw up twice already this morning. I don't think I can ever eat spaghetti again." (Thanks for that, now neither can I.)
- air our dirty laundry "My lying cheating ex is now saying he wants a paternity test, because he doesn't think the baby is his. How dare he! Considering all the sluts he was sleeping with while he was supposedly with me."
- brag on ourselves "Finished day 75 of my P90X, now off to drink a protein shake."
- make grandiose emotional declarations for no reason "My husband is the best husband ever. I love him sooooo much."
The list goes on and on. And really, does anyone care? I mean, I'm glad that I have reconnected with that guy I used to sit next to in Chemistry class in 10th grade. He was nice. But I'm not really interested that he got a 120 on bowling last night. He's alive, he's happy, he has a job, a pretty wife, and cute kids. That's really where my interest wains off...see you at the next reunion. And somethings I just don't WANT to know about people! I liked you just fine acquaintance of mine until I read you spouting off your militant conspiracy ideas.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE reading and sharing this information with my good friends. But out of 341 (all of whom I do know in real life in some manner), there are only about 20, maybe 25 that I really care about whether or not their child just poo-pooed on the potty for the first time.
Why have that many friends then? Well, first of all, I don't really. I have taken to "hiding" friends in mass, so I'm only actually seeing a small number of my "friends." (So, if you are someone who posts a lot of TMI or Farmville updates, I'm sorry if your goldfish died and I didn't express my condolences, but I hid you from my Feed a long time ago.) But the other thing, I feel guilty when someone I know/knew in real life friends me. I feel like I have to accept them. Then I give them about 10 status updates or so before I decide to let them stay on my NewsFeed or disappear into the hidden friend zone. What are the most sure fire ways to be exiled from my newsfeed...prothlesizing, radical political rants, being a Debbie-downer, Farmville/Mafia/Vampire, discussing bodily functions (although I do give passes for children's potty training stories and or milestones) and much much more.
Then there is knowing when someone has hidden you. You know that person who you know in real life who comments on all of your mutual friends pictures and status updates, but never on yours, yea...you got the ax. If they ask how you got so tan when you just came back from a vacation to Florida, which you've had countdowns on your FB page for 2 weeks leading up to the trip, updates on your page during the trip, and even photos already up of your trip, yea...they took a vacation from your profile a long time ago.
The weird thing is, it actually kind of hurts your feelings, okay maybe not yours, but it does mine. Rationally, I know that I hide a lot of people, but when I realize that someone I haven't been hiding, someone I've obviously deemed interesting enough and worthy for me to read about their mundane life, is hiding me. It does smart to know that you did something on their list of offenses to not make the cut. Or maybe you are just not interesting enough for them? It all goes back to our desire to share. We want our voices to be heard, and we want to make sure someone is listening to us. To somehow validate it.
What do I do when I realize someone has most likely hidden me? I hide them. Yea, it's probably pretty childish. Immature. But hey, no one is perfect, and I never claimed to be. I feel like if they don't care to keep up with what is going on in my life, then why on god's good earth should I spend part of my five minutes a day reading over theirs. I just keep whittling my news feed down, and whittling it down, and eventually, I'll have few enough actual friends that getting on FB just once a day for a few minutes might be a reality that lasts way past April 24.
To read some really funny examples of oversharing, visit Lamebook.com