Friends, Friends Everywhere, and Not a Drop to Drink

20 Feb

image from equally great article: are 5,001 friends too many?

We’ve talked about why Facebook and I aren’t friends. We’ve talked about how insecurities can be exacerbated by Twitter. And other people are talking, too. Last weekend I came across this New York Times article on TMI on the internet. Then one of my regular reads, MWF Seeking BFF wrote a post on the same article, talking about the phenomenon where seeing how ‘happy’ your friends are online can make you feel less-than. People don’t show their warts-and-all selves online (or they do, and give new definition to the term TMI) they show upgraded, glamorous, fun versions of their lives. I don’t tweet about sitting at my desk for hours, or working with a class of kids who don’t want to cooperate, I tweet about my vacations, the people I’m hanging out with, the new cool location I found to have lunch. I tweet about how much I love my friends and tag them by name, inadvertently leaving others not tagged to wonder what they did, or didn’t do, to not get tagged on that list. I tweet about going out for girls night, leaving other girls to wonder why they weren’t invited. I don’t do it on purpose, but I know it happens because I’ve felt that when looking at friends profiles online. And I’m not even on Facebook!

If the internet is considered a teenager in the broader scope of technology, then social networking is a baby. We don’t know how this new culture of putting everything out there for public consumption will affect us longterm, because it hasn’t been around long enough for us to figure it out. I predict that these kinds of conversations will continue as long as we’re trying to sort out the difference from the permissible and the beneficial.

From the NYT article:

“I had to go on a vacation-photo diet,” admitted Laura Zigman, a novelist. “I had this bizarre, voyeuristic habit of scrolling through people’s travel photos online and then feeling like, ‘Why haven’t I walked the Great Wall of China?’ And guilt: ‘I should be taking my son to Spain.’ I don’t even like to travel!”

“You meet someone at a party, and instead of them asking for your number, they’ll say, ‘I’ll find you on Facebook,’ ” complained Dodai Stewart, editor of Jezebel.com. “Then I’ll see drunk party photos of the guy with other women he’s dating. I end up unfriending because I just can’t deal with it.” It’s impossible to electronically untangle yourself from an ex without generating a big fuss in your mutual extended network.

Go check out the article, it’s a great read.

One commenter on the MWF Seeking BFF said:

“I used to be a huge facebook stalker, but it was draining me. It got to the point where I got nervous when I was about to go on facebook thinking: “Damn, what I’m I going to have to worry about now, what am I not doing, why am I not as pretty.” I knew, every time I logged in, that I was about to ruin my day. I got fed up and as part of my happiness project I decided to delete everyone that I hadn’t talked to in over two years, hide everyone else but the people I really care about from my news feed, and make my privacy policy so that I only share personal information with close friends and family. The funny thing is that some people get offended if you put them on limited profile! But, not surprisingly, I am much happier.”

I love this idea. I’m not saying to nix Facebook or eschew social media. I just think that it behooves each of us to take stock every now and then and figure out if the things we’re letting into our lives are helping or hurting.

2 Responses to “Friends, Friends Everywhere, and Not a Drop to Drink”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Are you seeking Validation on Facebook? | Spread Information - February 20, 2012

    […] Friends, Friends Everywhere, and Not a Drop to Drink (biggerinreallife.com) […]

  2. 100th Post and a Giveaway! « Bigger in Real Life - March 23, 2012

    […] One of my favorite experiences has been crossing three goals off of my life list since November. I already follow Bigger in Real Life by email, and I tweeted about your giveaway and posted about it on my wall. (Or whatever the Fbook lingo is. Ya’ll know I’m not down with the FB.) […]

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