Facebook is used as a platform for millions of reasons. Our individual personalities shine through with each post. Although, some posts that are out there really should be kept in the deepest, darkest caverns of our minds. Some posts, my personal favorites, are those that make me laugh. I’m the type of person who could spend all day reading Blunt Cards. We can post just about anything we want to Facebook. Some use it as a platform to complain about every single minute detail of their day. Unfortunately. Some use it to post photos chronicling their children’s lives. Guilty! And we are all painfully aware of the political and religious platforms that are oh-so-ever-present, especially every four even numbered years. Even though I may make fun of certain things I read and see, I do respect each person’s reason for posting what they do. I’m not easily offended nor do I often engage in the controversial stuff. What you post on your own wall is your business. If someone does happen to offend me, I simply defriend them. This has happened once. And since I’m not easily offended, you can imagine how bad it was.
What fascinates me is our ability to present whatever image of ourselves and lives that we want. I call this our “Facebook identity”. It is completely different than our “true identity”. I do realize I mostly post perfectly formatted and photo-shopped photos of myself and family. I also try to do the same with those I tag and upload as well. You’re welcome. Plus I am very selective in what I post. I think most of us are, at least in the 30 and up age category. I’ve had many sit downs with my teenage son on what’s appropriate and what’s not and reiterate the concept of the “World Wide Web”. Facebook has become an expression of who we want our audience to see. Distorted or not.
I have just over 500 friends on Facebook. Do I have 500 close family and friends? No. Do I know every single person I’m friends with? Yes. To an extent. I find myself sometimes lost on someone’s page, or guiltily stalking a former high school classmate’s 3,521 photos. And as I am viewing this person’s posts or photos, I start to develop a picture of what they’re like. I have a mental catalog of their likes, personality, family life, interests, etc. I also develop a feel for how happy their marriage is. Or what type of parent they are. Why do I feel like I know someone based on their Facebook profile? I mean I haven’t seen or talked to this person in 20 years!
Well in all honesty, I don’t really pretend to know them. I just get a feel for what they must be like with the limited amount of information they allow on their profile. But because of the world of social media, I feel like we are somewhat mislead as to someone’s true identity. And it’s not only social media, it happens all the time in real life too. Ever heard of the saying, “What happens behind closed doors…”? Well that’s exactly what’s going on with Facebook. We don’t know what’s really going on in someone’s life. I mean if you tried to paint a picture of who I am based on my Facebook profile you would be lead to believe my children always smile, I never yell at them, my husband and I have the perfect marriage and never fight, and every single moment of every single day I look immaculately put together. Mostly. I have posted some not so impressive photos of myself. Only because I’m a fan of self-deprecating humor.
So I’m going on about my day, perusing my News Feed, and all of a sudden I find out this amazing “Facebook couple” is getting divorced after 13 years together. What? Wait a second. Just last week I was flipping through their album called “Anniversary Mexican Getaway” with the hash tag #second honeymoon, all filled with photos of selfies of them kissing, shots of their gourmet meals paired with the perfect cocktails, topped off with romantic commentary of each photo. You were so happy! What happened? You can’t blame me for feeling a little deceived.
So I’ve come to accept that Facebook is only a platform for what we want it to be. Good or bad. Too much information or room for mystery. I will no longer pretend I know someone and cry deceit. I’m just as guilty as they. Although my kids do really smile a lot and I’m very happily married. Have I raised my voice a few times to both the kids and husband? Yes. But I’m pretty sure it was warranted each time.
So there you have it. My Facebook identity conundrum. How about we all agree to not judge or be quick to make assumptions about people based on their Facebook identity. Too preachy? Nah. Just trying to save you from some feelings of deceit later on.