Over the last couple of days I noticed two things:
First, I enjoyed running into people more. At pick-up after school, I looked forward to chatting with friends and parents. I found that I wasn’t so drained from my day and overstimulated with pictures and events from different people that I had more to give the actual people in my life.
Plus, I felt like there was more to talk about since I didn’t already know all the minute details of their lives. When I asked “How was your weekend? What did you do?” I genuinely meant it. I wasn’t just asking that as a formality when really I already had seen that they’d taken their kids to see Trolls and then out to celebrate Uncle Tony’s 80th birthday on Sunday.
Looking at all those posts and pictures is like reading the last page of a good book – you know everything before you even begin.
The second thing I noticed was a pretty big realization.
Looking at everyone else’s posts often led to FOMO or a feeling of being left out on certain occasions. But what I have also been feeling is a relief or lack of pressure to attend different events if only to be seen in pictures on line.
This sounds so shallow because it is, but it is real and something I hadn’t consciously been aware of before.
I would attend events because I couldn’t bear the thought of pictures being posted online and not being in them. I wanted to be recorded at different events just for that – the record of it. Maybe I thought I would seem cooler to other Facebook friends, or maybe I didn’t want people to wonder why I wasn’t attending an event. But I didn’t want to miss out.
This realization became clear yesterday when I thought of an event I am going to miss. I have a conflict and both things involve traveling, so I had to make a choice. Two weeks ago, I was near panic stricken trying to make both work. I could just pop in quickly to the one or make an appearance (to be on camera of course). My focus was just to somehow get myself to that event.
My passionate desire to attend the event wasn’t driven by a deep desire to see friends or enjoy family, it stemmed from the fear of pictures and posts going online without my face or name.
Yesterday, a sudden calm came over me when I thought of missing this event. I was sad to miss out, sad to miss the people I wanted to see, but I never once thought about the pictures I wouldn’t be in or the posts I wouldn’t be tagged in. It wasn’t about Facebook. Not even a little. I was sorry I couldn’t attend and that was that.
Maybe this whole social media thing that is supposedly bringing us closer together is really just over whelming and overstimulating us. We know too much. Or maybe it’s all about balance. Who knows – I’m only on day 5, so I’ll revisit this in another 95+ days!
Cheers – Emily