• Patrick McAndrew


I always think it’s a toss up on the old question: Does Facebook bring us together or isolate us?  I think Facebook is an exceptional tool to keep in touch with people.  Through planning events, Facebook messenger (RIP AIM), and sharing and posting content that may be relevant to your fellow friends, Facebook can be a great tool for keeping the bonds going.  It’s a great way to relive past memories, after all, Throwback Thursday wasn’t for nothing.

But what about those of us not in that specific social cluster?  Well, then that can be a real downer.  I’m not necessarily talking about F.O.M.O., but rather something else.  There is an occasional smugness involved when something is posted that clearly labels someone as on the outside.  A friend, let’s call her Sally, tags a picture of everyone from her birthday party.  “Great time with my bestest friends! LOL!!”  Meanwhile, her good friend Arnie who she has been friends with since back in the day, couldn’t make the party.  Perhaps he had to work or had a family commitment.  Naturally, this may make Arnie feel left out.  He may comment, “Ah! Wish I could’ve been there!”  He may like the photo.  Or he may feel awful about himself for not being able to make it.  This just goes to even further extremes if Arnie hadn’t even been invited to Sally’s party.

Do you know what I’m saying?  Sally, if she was that kind of person, might have even posted the picture to make Arnie feel guilty for not showing up.  “Look how much fun we’re having WITHOUT YOU!” I’m led to believe that this must cause some sort of sadness, both for Arnie and for Sally.

This has only gotten worse over time.  Before smartphones and before mainstream camera phones, we had to connect a cable from the digital camera to the computer in order to upload our pictures to the computer and then upload them to Facebook.  I don’t believe this was a bad thing.  It took away the immediacy of it all.  “Oh, I didn’t get to go to Sally’s party last week, but she just posted some pictures today.  Looks like she had a great time!”  Or…”I wonder how Billy’s trip to Lichtenstein was from last month.  I hope he posts pictures soon so I can see them.  I want to go to Lichtenstein!!”

There is definitely a difference.  This immediacy is rubbed into the faces of those not in attendance.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with posting pictures or writing a quick post after the fact.  “Had a great time with my main squeezes at the game yesterday!”  But there’s something about immediacy that, I believe, rubs people the wrong way.  It’s happening live.  It’s happening now.  And people are more likely to compare what they are doing in the moment to what their Facebook friends may be doing.

There must be something compelling about telling the world if you are doing something moderately exciting.  Why?  Why not live in those moments instead of posting, posting, posting?  I don’t mind capturing pictures and sharing them.  I think that’s great!  I just don’t think they need to be posted at that exact moment in time.  With the immediacy of posts, it makes us feel like we are missing out on something incredible.  Suddenly, our cozy night in seems sub-par or not worthy enough.

I’m all for good times and having a ball.  But I don’t think it’s necessary to make these moments out as bigger deals than they are.  And at the end of the day, who cares that much?  If it’s a huge life moment, that’s different.  Of course I think it’s cool that you graduated from graduate school or that you got married to the love of your life.  That’s amazing!  A once (maybe twice) in a lifetime thing!  But do I care that you grabbed brewskys with the boys or that you had the most delicious, healthy salad for lunch while doing hot yoga?  Likely not.

I don’t mean to sound harsh (is this harsh?), but I think it’s important to think of the effect our posts have on the people who are not on the “inside.”  You may say, “Well la-dee-da!  Who cares what other people think!  I just want to tell the world how amazing my friends are!”  If you didn’t care what people think, then why are you posting for all to see anyway?

I would love to know your thoughts on this topic.  Comment below!  Should we be more mindful about what we post?  Does it matter if people care or not?  Is posting the equivalent of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks?


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