I’ve been thinking about social media lately.
I’ll flaunt my age here and admit that for me social media mostly means Facebook. When I started this blog I got onto Twitter, although I have to tell you, it remains a mystery. I use Pinterest mostly for recipes, and have never used Instagram.
Not so bad, right?
But I’m addicted to Facebook and, the truth is, I’m getting pretty sick of the haters making me feel like an asshole for it.
Phew! God it feels good to get that off my chest.
The pendulum does seem to be swinging, when it comes to social media, and it joins reality t.v., Snackwells, and Riverdance in the discarded pile of things that were once thought to be so new and hip and fun and now are at least partially to blame for the destruction of our humanity.
Well, I happen to love Facebook.
I’ve thought about all of those questions, even as it relates to writing a blog. It’s impossible to keep posting, week after week, without constantly asking myself why anyone should care enough to read my thoughts on such deep and meaningful topics as midlife menstruation and drinking in my car . I do try to write as honestly as I can about my experience, in the hope of hitting on something that has a wider appeal than just my husband and bestie, but in the end, it can’t matter. Blogging is slowly making me a better, more disciplined writer and teaching me new skills, which they say is the fountain of youth.
Also, it’s fun.
How’s that for selfish motives?
Facebook is different though, which is why I get very defensive when people tell me it’s sucking out my soul.
Here are seven reasons why I love the salty sweet confection, cooked up by Mark Zuckerberg. Why Facebook is my drug of choice, and why I’m not giving it up anytime real soon. (Even though I could, I swear I could, I just happen not to feel like it right now):
- It’s a way for me to get my chit-chat on, since I live with three (lovable) introverts
- It’s like a cocktail party without the cocktails, which should make the fun police very happy
- It keeps me up to date on current events!
- It makes me laugh
- I get to reconnect with friends from my past (when I say friends, I am definitely not referring to the wives of old boyfriends, because I never look them up. Who does that??? Moving on…)
- I find good ideas for blog posts
- I love knowing what’s up with my people
All of these are good reasons, if you ask me, but not good enough for the people who say it’s as bad as internet porn, and maybe worse. Here are a few of my answers to their concerns:
Has it broken my brain and made it harder for me to sustain focus? Maybe a little, but given the chance, I tend to focus on things like the bedbug epidemic and whether exorcism is actually a thing, so I consider Facebook a step up, in my case.
Does it foster feelings of inferiority and invite depression when I see the carefully curated feeds of people, with their fancy lives and overachieving children? Actually, it doesn’t, and I don’t really know why. It’s true that I hide the posts of the worst offenders (here’s how), but I have friends who swear that all it takes is a few minutes on Facebook to plunge them into self-loathing or, the less copped-to but equally common, friend-loathing.
Now, do I do a fair amount of eye rolling, as I scroll through my feed? Sure. But I like to think of eye rolling like cursing— a healthy outlet and an effective coping device in today’s world. In fact, some of you might be doing it right this minute, and I say, go for it!
(Feels good, right?)
Doesn’t Facebook encourage narcissism? I can see why this is a concern. As I said, I often think about whether I’m narcissistic. (That’s a joke, you guys. I mean, I do, but not that much. I mean, I also think about how smart cats are and whether I should buy some of those underpants that you can pee in. Go Facebook!)
Look, there is some truth to all of this. I can get too distracted and too self-involved. I could stand to stop multi-tasking and, say, just stir the risotto instead of stir the risotto while also watching my friend’s daughter sing a solo in her Montessori preschool’s production of Single Use Plastic Bag, The Musical. Would it be an interesting experiment to log off for a week or two and see how that feels?
Sure, why not?
But just as I don’t like people to tell me that listening to audio books doesn’t count as actual reading, I don’t want to hear that the connections I’ve made or maintain through Facebook aren’t of value. And if it’s true that laughter is the best medicine, then scrolling through my friends’ feeds can be like a shot in the ass, after a rough day.
Yes, we humans love a bandwagon, and right now it looks like social media is the new gluten. Some believe it is the cause of all our ills, and some people park behind Trader Joe’s and eat shame muffins out of their trunk.
So if, like me, you enjoy a daily dip into the slightly fake slightly fabulous online middle school known as Facebook, take comfort in knowing you’re not alone.
Because it is comforting, isn’t it,
the not being alone?
(Well, how do you like that? I buried the lead.)