Does it? Emotionally I mean? I think I’m getting chubby. Too much late night Facebook, early morning Instagram and mid-afternoon LinkedIn. I gotta cut back. Especially on Facebook… I’ve been spending entirely too much time on there lately and it’s time to diet.
I wasn’t really feeling my Facebook bloat until the other day. I was sort-of dating this guy (even that’s a bit strong, but it’s a very long story for a different day) when I found out that over the weekend he got back together with his ex. I found this out because I saw pictures of them looking awfully cozy on Facebook. Seriously? He couldn’t pick up the fucking phone? What, are we in high school? Ugh. Asshole. Douche bag.
What I find most fascinating (slash unhealthy) is that social media gives you that rare opportunity to present yourself the way you want the world to see you. He obviously wants to present himself as the happily-married-family-man I know he isn’t (or he’s fooling himself). But we all do it. If you were to follow me around in real life you’d see a lot more than you could ever see on Facebook. You’d see my messy hair in the morning, the kitty litter on the bathroom floor and dinner for one on a Tuesday night. Not exactly the picture of myself I want to paint for the world.
I use Facebook to show the me I want to be, not the me I actually am (that’s what this blog is for, and that’s why I don’t promote it on my Facebook wall). Right now my profile picture is of me sharing an ice cream cone with a unicorn in front of Big Gay Ice Cream in NYC. My cover photo is a beautiful shot of the Rockport coastline I took while I was biking a few weekends ago. Both of those photos went through the magic of Instagram, and poof! I’m a photographer. Last weekend I posted was a picture of me rock climbing. I debated making that my profile picture (it’s pretty bad-ass) but as it turns out, bright red shorts were a poor decision from that angle. I want people to see me as fun, exciting, active and a little bit bad-ass. So I try to keep my posts along those lines. My own personal brand pillars I suppose.
My good friend Ellen just posted a blog about her Facebook detox, and I think she’s on to something. Part of her reasoning is that Facebook makes her feel like crap. Lots of other people doing exactly what I do – posting a very curated version of themselves for others to envy. And it works. She’s not the first person who’s said this, and I get it. I feel it too. I don’t have the wedding or the baby or the amazing vacations. I wish I did (well, not the baby part, I don’t envy those people). But I don’t.
Facebook is kind of like the modern Jones, everyone trying to keep up. And we can’t. Because we’re not seeing the reality of all of our ‘friends’. A recent study found that one in three people who visited Facebook felt worse when they were done because they are trying to compare their true selves to the Facebook version of their friends, and that just isn’t realistic.
I think Ellen has it right. I’m not ready to remove Facebook from my life, but it’s time to cut back.