I recently wrote about honesty and perfectionism, and a friend’s comment triggered me to organize some thoughts I have about Facebook.

Let me be clear – I am not anti-Facebook in any way.  I’m on Facebook (arguably too much), my grandma’s on Facebook, my mom’s on Facebook, my girlfriends are on Facebook.  Though the ever-changing News Feed annoys me sometimes, I wish Facebook no ill will.

Facebook is great for keeping up with family and friends and for feeling connected to people you seldom see.  It’s an easy way to share news with (most of ) the people you care to share with (provided they can actually find it on their News Feed, of course).  It’s a great way to publicly and immediately celebrate, acknowledge, or compliment your spouse for something they did, and to express gratitude for the blessings you’ve been given.  It’s also a nice way to get a few people to read your blog.  🙂

But let’s be honest, a fair amount of Facebook is image projection – and for that reason I would argue that it can be harmful for some people to participate.

If I’m prone to envy or discontentment, it’s probably not healthy for me to peruse my friends’ family vacation photos.  Why?  Because they’re all smiling and having the time of their lives.  Of course that means they must be happier, wealthier, and have an all-around better life than me.  Boo.

Was that their intention?  No.  They are probably just sharing memories.  And of course they’re not going to include photos of the kids fighting in the hotel, or of their normal boring Friday night routine of take-out, TV, and laundry.  A lie of omission?  Again, no.  Those just aren’t interesting photos.  In fact, those moments don’t even get photographed they’re so un-memorable.  So they don’t get posted and our life looks a little more idyllic than it actually is.  Image projected.

Then there’s the flip side which isn’t such an “accidental” image projection.  I won’t go into for this for two reasons:

  1. My friend Lizzi covered it perfectly in her blog.
  2. I’m totally guilty of everything she outlined.  🙂

I’m not saying we should stop using Facebook.  I enjoy sharing memories and keeping in touch.  I love that family can see pictures and video of my son regularly.  I think it’s great that I have an outlet to share whatever cute/hilarious/brilliant thing Conlan did today lest my heart burst from having to keep it inside.

I just think it’s important we also acknowledge the unhealthy aspects of Facebook and search ourselves.  Is Facebook enhancing our lives, or detracting from it?  Are we actually engaging in our reality, or constantly on the lookout for our next witty status update (guilty!)?  Do we need to place limits on ourselves?  Or do we just have to use it wisely and carefully?

Or maybe un-friend people that, for whatever reason, we unfairly compare our own lives/kids/husbands to and begin to foster discontentment?

I think the answer for every person is completely different, but I do think that Facebook is used most healthily when we are self-aware and make conscious decisions about our usage.

And now, I leave you with another hilarious kid story which could just as easily have ended up on my Facebook wall, but I thought I would reserve for you.  If only we could all care so little about what others think of us.

{Conlan on Boogers}

C:  Mommy, I got buggers in my nose!

M:  Would you like to blow your nose?

C:  No tank you.  I get the buggers out wif dis! [holds up index finger]

M:  Awesome.


One thought on “Facebook

  1. (Despite my note to self, I’m commenting with my phone. I’ll try to be extra-cautious of typos, etc!)
    Well-written post! I agree with everything you and Lizzi said. I usually only post ‘happy’ things for the simple reason that I read so many complaint statuses, I like to balance out the news feed with something less complain-y!
    I recently cleared through my friend list, not out of envy for their lives or anything, but because I realized that 1)I really didn’t care about what they regularly posted (mean? Maybe. Honest? Yes) and 2)I really didn’t care for them to regularly have access to my life/pictures/etc if they even cared to read about m, as well as 3)some of them NEVER update, so they are free to troll my info while I’m never given a glimpse of their life. No, thank you! That’s a little stalkerish to me.

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