We post the good stuff, the oh my goodness moments, the exuberant triumphs, what we believe in and the deep, deep sorrow. Many have written about the psychology of Facebook, but it is something I think about as it is a big part of what I do for clients and for myself to build my brand and connect with family and friends all over the world.
The in-between of what we don’t post on Facebook IMHO is the truth, the shades of gray:
The doing the dishes
The driving the kids back and forth to practice, the commute, the rides on the subway
The exhaustion with what is happening in our world
The worry while you wait for test results
The laying on the couch binge watching X
The unknowing of how someone feels about you
The playing Words With Friends
The terror of having to do something you are afraid of accomplishing or outside your comfort zone
The being fired, let go, contract canceled — the loss of a job
The bank account that has .37 cents in it with no money coming in and clients that haven’t paid
The tiny little cuts of disappointment
The aftermath of a broken heart
The expectations and assumptions of being human not being met
The triggers bringing us back to painful moments bombarding our screens
The anonymous hate and bile from someone on the interwebs, sometimes someone you do know
The person that continually tears you down or gossips about you
The tears over missing your dog and people in your life that you’ve lost or who have faded away
Those things don’t often warrant a post.
(all of these things are directly from my own my life, at any given time).
The thing about joy and goodness, triumphs and celebration and sharing those things on Facebook, is that those things bring hope, or a respite, or a reminder that things maybe aren’t so bleak. At least I hope that is the case. I often say we don’t know what is behind someone’s smiling eyes. And I believe that that is the truth for all of us.
When we post on Facebook about loss, grief, depression, the bad stuff, we are seeking connection on the largest platform available to us, this interaction, texting, and all the other digital mediums have replaced the phone call, the sit-down, the lunch. We all have busy lives, and scheduling time with someone can take longer than the actual lunch itself. Facebook is immediate with its likes, loves, emojis and comments.
I write this and remember I’ve written about this a few times before, I searched in my writing OneNote, the word Facebook is mentioned too many times to count since this Facebook thing began in 2004.
Isn’t it funny how things come back up, lessons one needs to learn that come back to you over and over until you learn them? Sometimes I think recognizing that is the first step in learning the lesson.
Yes, I eek every last bit of marrow out of the day for sure, but I also have my running narrative of disappointment, sorrow, loss, lonesomeness, negativity, lizard brain, the jerk voice in my head and impostor syndrome. And I fight against those things, and I write about them, my way of dealing with and sharing my experiences.
And truly, do you want to see my mascara stained puffy eyes from a moment of deep disappointment and sorrow like the one that leads this article? Do you have time to deal with that and me? Wouldn’t that make you feel something and go directly to your hurt and sorrow? If happy go lucky Heather is posting directly about struggling (one can think — thank goodness she’s human — no emoji/wow emoji, or oh that’s too bad — sad emoji, or she’ll be fine she has a million friends — like emoji, or I feel you girl — love emoji, or who did that to you — angry emoji). I am fortunate to have beautiful people in my life so when things are tough, I do have a support system in place and I use it, not on Facebook. But that doesn’t always get rid of that list above of the running narrative, those things are up to me and how I decide to live my life. And well, please I wear waterproof mascara.
I don’t think we’d all be able to handle a BleakBook, most people have a hard enough time dealing with their own troubles, and we and I mean the royal we aren’t always able to witness, hold space for high emotion or truly receive feedback, criticism, or opinions. Or dealing with people’s pain or mistakes or when what one considers silly behavior becomes annoying, we want people to GET OVER IT and get back to the fun and the light and the happy, show me the puppies!
We react so many times before we think.
We react before we hear someone.
Before we apply the concept of empathy.
Before we move our ego out of the way.
Before we deeply listen to someone and not make whatever they say about ourselves is difficult.
We all bring the input from our own experience to try to relate but often bring that so far forward into a conversion that we miss the point of what someone is feeling.
A few examples — if one is working on their health or weight, stops drinking, has a personal health issue, etc.… this can be an affront to having fun, being a part of the party. “are you still not drinking?” “what can’t you eat,” “let’s go out when you are drinking again.”
Yes, these are all things that have been said to me on FB messenger or in person when I have done this instead of — right on, you have made a decision to take care of your body and soul that is great. Let’s eat, go out and have a great night — without judging or putting your own decisions about your health back onto my choices.
If one is upset with someone and you try to talk to them about it, this can go directly into our ego and bring up every excuse in the book than actually understanding that actions speak louder than words. When we give feedback or criticism, and someone says they are sorry for something, that is great, apologies that are meant are terrific. But how you treat someone, how you listen to someone, how you choose to spend time with someone is how we judge if you truly care for someone’s feelings and them as a person. We let things slide knowing that everyone has their stuff. But how you hear and treat people either draws you closer together or drives an invisible wedge between you. And this can go on for years in relationships, and things on Facebook are so easy to misinterpret and anguish over. Maybe not the best place for this kind of conversation.
So many times we use Facebook as a weapon to hurt each other with passive-aggressive behavior, and if someone doesn’t pay attention to you there, I’ve seen it drive people into a deeper depression or anger. “You never like anything I post.” “Does anyone care about me?” “You like everything that X does and nothing I do — WTF, FML, WTH?” What is it about this website that turns us into private investigators and the most insecure part of ourselves.
I don’t have all the answers for this, but I know that these are all things that are my lessons too, some of them needed a two by four for me to understand, writing about it and talking to other people about it as well.
Worldwide, there are over 2.23 billion monthly active Facebook users for Q2 2018 (Facebook MAUs) which is an 11 percent increase year over year (Source: Facebook 07/25/18). We check Facebook before our feet hit the floor in the morning before we go to sleep at night and when we are bored. We look when want to see what is going on in our circle of family and friends, and when we snoop on long lost, or new found loves. To say Facebook hasn’t become an important part of our lives is not understanding the zeitgeist of our time, even if younger generations are moving away from it. Don’t get me started about Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram (though it is my favorite of the bunch, and still owned by Facebook). Worldwide, there are over 1 billion active users on Instagram as of June 2018. I know many people who have gotten rid of Facebook altogether or at least off of their phones.
We need to remember that Facebook is full of both truths and falsehoods and is the largest psychological laboratory that has probably ever existed and we are the subjects. This Radio Lab podcast “The Trust Engineers” from 2015 is still on point, and a great listen on this subject. Much has been written about Facebook algorithms and they, just like you watch “the show” like a hawk and maneuver us accordingly.
I still believe in the phone call, the in-person time spent. And don’t get me wrong, I post all the time, tons of photos and all the stuff I’m grateful that I get to experience in the world, so I play in the construct. Just know that there is much to my life you don’t see, and I know that that is the same for each of you.
Our shades of gray are part of the colorful ROY G. BIV spectrum of our lives, rainbows come from grey skies and aren’t they beautiful just like each one of us?
I suggest that starting or ending your day with any digital interaction is something to think deeply about; I’m weaning myself too. Though, make sure you like this article, share it and comment on it of course, why would I post it otherwise?
Because I’m watching and I know you are too.
Dopamine and Serotonin, its what’s for breakfast and if you choose to feed the beast, that’s just fine because it’s always hungry.
But isn’t a fast sometimes just as nice?
If you like this share it with your friends and hold that clap button down — hard.
Written by Head Maven & CEO, Heather (hedda) Newman, Creative Maven
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