How do you feel after scrolling through your social media feeds. Amused? Annoyed? Bored? Connected? Disoriented as if you slipped down the rabbit hole?
On the radio program @themoms, women were debating if posting mainly positive parts of your life is fake and even dangerous, or if by posting negative things you are revealing too much about your life into the internet ether. On Instagram I tend to post positive images because I think of a social media post as a postcard. There is already so much negativity spinning around out of control around us, plus I don’t want to disclose too much about my life to the public (never assuming anything is ever private or just to friends online), or to the person I sat next to in Geometry back in the day. I’m not even that private of a person, it’s just all too much.
Receiving a postcard via snail mail every once in a while is a positive experience, hearing about the adventures of someone you’re close to and seeing a fabulous image or two on the front. Ahhhhh, you wish you were there, but you can live vicariously for a minute or two whenever you pass by the postcard on your fridge. These days I only get a real postcard once in a blue moon, but even in their heyday I would receive max a few at a time. Going through my social media feed is akin to receiving thousands of postcards per hour. Instead of subconsciously comparing my day with the few people I know who are out of town, now hundreds of people I know are posting their vacation pics, getting married, having babies, having the most amazing coffee, eating the best food, grabbing a cocktail, going to a concert, or have their feet dangling from a hammock. Your personal virtual mailbox becomes overloaded.
People now post more information about themselves in one day than they would have ever stuffed into the annual Christmas newsletter, now moot for anyone with a computer. It’s just too much. Now everyone gets to see the snooze-inducing Back to School images of everyone else’s children. Last week I texted pictures of our kiddos to the only people who I imagine really have the time for them/will care: my husband, parents and two sisters. I wouldn’t even bother to send it to my brothers-in-law because why should they be buggered? Seriously. It SHOULD be boring to them. Not their kids! It’s just too much.
Now before I sound too much like a nefarious Luddite, I do want to read about the trials and successes of my loved ones, I do want to read that Bill Murray quote and I do want to see adorable photos of your dog and progeny because they really make me smile and I feel more connected to you. Plus, on Facebook I don’t just keep it light and positive because it is a quality format to post about that boy in Aleppo and garner support for the brave Native Americans fighting the Dakota Pipeline. But sometimes, sometimes, in my darker moments when I’m overwhelmed, it’s just all too much. That is when I need to power off my virtual mailbox, go take a walk to run my fingers through some rosemary and smile at a flesh and blood neighbor. Ahhhhhhhh!