I have never been a girl with a filter. Bless my mama’s heart, she never could figure out how to get me to not cuss, or blurt out snide remarks or even say excuse me after I burped. Quite honestly not much about me has changed in 30 years.
I feel like I always have something that hits me during the day that I want to express. However, I have found that expressing myself on social media tends to get people all riled up, either those that agree with me, or with those that do not. Either way, my decision to express myself is not theirs to judge. So I think in my head. But then I realize that when we post something on social media we are opening ourselves up for just that. Judgment. I mean isn’t that the whole point of it all?
Whether you are posting about your distaste for some social event, your dating life or the dinner you just ate, the whole point of it isn’t to document that information for yourself. It’s for the viewing or reading pleasure or distaste of other people. Right? Otherwise you would just keep it to yourself and lodge that information somewhere in your brain never to be accessed again. But you don’t. You post it on Facebook or Twitter for all of your friends and their friends and event strangers to see. Then you sit back and wait. For someone, anyone to comment or re-tweet or share or like or whatever so that you have some validation that somewhere out there someone knows that you are alive.
Some of what we put out there seems relevant like sharing pictures of your kids so family can see how they grow, or posting a link to a page that helps raise money for a good cause or even posting a shout out to a special friend on their birthday from hundreds of miles away. I can always support the occasional night out on the town Check In, gripe about work or even comment on a current event.
But quite honestly, for the most part, the rest of it is all just a form of adolescent validation. Remember the days when you used to call out “Mommy, look at me, I can…….” sometimes I picture social media as the adult version of “Mommy look at me…..”. Think about it for a minute.
Now, I will be the first person to admit that I have taken part in the “Mommy look at me…” post from time to time. And it is tolerable on some level because I try to keep it light, and infrequent and impersonal. However there are some of you….. that just put it all out there.
“Mommy Look at Me” Moments:
1 You ate/made dinner: (with pictures) Good for you, you are a functioning adult that knows how to provide food for yourself and your family. Guess what… we all do that. Cook it and put it in your mouth but pictures of your half eaten lasagna or melted chocolate ice cream do not belong on my feed.
2 You just worked out: Good for you, you finally got off your ass and did something about that 20 lbs you gained since college. To be honest, you should be proud, but the last thing I’m interested in is a shot of your ass or your sweaty hairy chest. Fine, check in at the gym, but I don’t think that dirty gym bathroom mirror pictures make anyone look any good. Regardless of your hot new body.
3 Your kid made something: Good for you, your kid is fully capable of making you a cardboard “something” that you will throw away in two weeks when they aren’t looking. Every craft they produce isn’t art, I love my kid but most of what he makes is just filler for the trash can in a couple days. I appreciate the thought and the fact that your kid loves you, but that doesn’t mean I want to see their popsicle stick heart or cotton ball snowman everyday for the entire school year.
4 You’re driving in the car and took a selfie: Good for you, it’s so good to know that while you are speeding down the interstate at 80 mph, your top priority is to take a picture of yourself b/c you got a new haircut. Keep your eyes on the road and take a picture when you are not endangering the lives of the people around you.
5 You take a stand on EVERY political, social, economical and theoretical topic in the world: Good for you, you have a working brain with the capability of making choices that seem morally logical to your beliefs. I’m glad you have an opinion, it’s more than most, however that doesn’t mean that I want to hear all of them, everyday, with pictures and videos and testimonials. And in addition, when you post about stuff that can morally offend people, as many of these topics can, please stop being all “butt hurt” that someone commented in opposition to your opinion. I’m pretty sure this country was founded on the ideals that everyone is entitled to free speech and their own opinions. So if you say what you think, don’t be so disturbed that someone wants to argue their side with you as well. Oh and unfriending people because they disagree with you on a topic, is beyond childish.
6 You hate your job: Good for you that you have a job number one. I really appreciate your willingness to contribute to our society. Seriously, you could just sit at home on your ass all day watching Jerry Springer (is that even still on?). However, sharing how bad your job is won’t make it better. Talking about your lazy co-workers won’t make them less lazy. If anything, they will find out what you said and make your work life even more debilitating terrible. Not to mention that if you “tag” your workplace, anyone can see what you write if that place has a social media page of it’s own. So you may just graduate yourself to the unemployment line if you live in an “at will” state. Let’s hope your boss doesn’t see that picture of you chugging beer in the break room or making copies of your ass on the copier after hours.
7 Your Significant other is a douche bag/bitch: (Yes I am completely guilty of this one) This one is a two part series of “look at me”.
Number one, people that post this stuff about how horrible their relationship is, are people that most likely have not unfriended said person and they post it, so that person will read it and see how much they are hurting or how whatever they did was wrong. The unfortunate side to that, is that sometimes that person doesn’t care! And besides that, if you ever forgive them or get back together after your “horrific break up” then you look just as dumb as them b/c you already put what happened out there, and when you are back with them a week or a month later, people know you are stupid enough to forgive whatever it was they did in the first place.
Number two, the only reason people post online about their negative relationship experience is so their friends will try to cheer them up with “he/she’s not worth it”, “you can do so much better” and “Keep your head” up comments. It’s a scream for validation that you WILL persevere, you ARE worth more, and that he/she IS a douche bag/bitch. You’re simply looking for some compassion and getting it from people you probably haven’t seen in years, seems to work for you. Hey, to each their own. just know that now the dark secrets of your relationship are out there, and the more you tell, the more you have to deal with down the road if you forgive. I’m just saying. (from experience)
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that social media works in different ways for people. Some use it to keep up with friends sporadically while others worship it from morning to night. Some people use it for an expression of self opinion and/or validation. Some people just have nothing better to do than post about their day on and on and on without ever really saying anything. But that’s exactly what it was made for.
Just be wise when you post. It may seem okay to do in the moment, it may seem logical to comment or tag someone in that unflattering picture at the time, but realize that you really are putting it all out there sometimes. And sometimes it’s not necessary. Technology is an amazing thing indeed. Freedom to express yourself however you want to be seen. But think about this…. when applying for a job, your employer can research your posts before hiring you. When you meet a new potential girlfriend/boyfriend, once you “friend” them on social media, they can read all about your whole life. When you mom or dad finally figure out how to use social media, they can see everything you have ever said or done or places you have been when you said you were somewhere else. When your kids get old enough to have a social media account and can read all the things you have ever written…. how will they see you?
So go ahead, post away! Just think about how much you are putting out there.