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 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.