Social media, for some people, is now where life comes from. It is the actual newsreel of their lives, and as they scroll, they note their friends’ “Most Recent” posts, in order to stay in touch with their little world.
In many ways, it is sad that we all have to rely on gadgets and devices to stay in the social loops of our friends and family. Gone are the days of real-life events being communicated through phone calls and snail mail.
Through the course of recent events in my life, I have discovered a whole new level of how much Social Media has impacted my world. Medium is actually included in this new epiphany.
If we don’t receive updates and or news from people on Facebook, there is always Instagram, Snapchat and all of the other “apps” that keep us informed of what our friends, families, and co-workers are up to. This is a double-edged blade. Some of the life events and updates that we find in our scrolling are joyful and celebratory, others are humorous, while others are downright surprising or unnerving.
Becoming Facebook Official Makes Shit Real
After walking away from a long term relationship, and trying to be the “peacekeeper” in the broken down relationship, my ex-partner said something to me during one of our very few phone calls, and it rattled my already messy cage.
He was asking about how I was “feeling” about our relationship and complaining about his sadness. After a few minutes of his banter, he piped up with, “ I am just watching Facebook to see when you will changed your status to Single. That will be a knife through my heart”.
THAT will be the knife through your heart? Really?
Let me put this into perspective.
I have packed up all of my furniture, the majority of my clothing, all of my decorative items that made the house more “homey” and I have changed my physical address. I have walked away from 9 years and many memories…
BUT, clicking “Single” on my phone is what will be a knife through your heart?
Are you sure, though? Are you positive that making an alteration to a virtual newsfeed is the actual knife through your heart?
Well, okay then.
Why Does Social Media Make Life Official?
Through the past 5 years or more, I have made it a point to only post positive statuses, funny memes and thought-provoking items on my Facebook profile. The reason being is I never wanted to be “that girl”. We all know the one-the complainer, the whiner, the one who nobody wants to ask questions of, but who people come up with scenarios in their heads about. They make assumptions based on “vague-book” posts and run with them. That is until something else piques their interest.
“Oh, she posted an anxiety post. She must be having a hard time” or “Did you see that she changed her job? I wonder if she got fired.”
On the other side of it, we no longer see many wedding invitations come through the mail, and happy celebrations and events are spread like wildfire on our feeds. We are no able to “attend” without having to physically be there.
Posting sad or dramatic posts are the bane of my existence in cyberland. I don’t need people asking me questions, nor do I feel the need for attention from someone who I attended elementary school with and haven’t actually spoken to since they added me as their “friend”.
Today, however, I made a bold move.
I figured out my privacy and info settings on my Facebook profile and I did the deed. I wielded the all-powerful knife, and changed my “In a relationship with….” to “single”.
I can hear the collective, dramatic gasp now, even as I write this.
Guess what, though.
Nothing has happened and I made the change at 7:00 am today. There has been no recourse, no response and no man showing up at my door with a knife shoved through his heart. Nada. Bupkiss. Nothing.
At least, not yet.
At some point, I am sure he will notice, or perhaps he won’t. I honestly don’t care either way. All I know was that it felt damn good to be Facebook Official rather than “Facebook Happy”
I find it amusing that such a small gesture could be the cause of impending doom to a person’s heart. I mean, seriously, it is simply a matter of scrolling and tapping a finger, yet it is powerful enough to cause another human being to feel tortured.
Here it is, and I apologize for this but… It is EPIPHANY TIME!
Social Media has made our lives “easy”. Apps have turned our lives into the band-aid that is better to rip off than to pull off slowly.
How did I come to this conclusion?
Think of it this way. Back in the days of snail mail, there were these things called “Dear John” letters. (My grandmother told me about one she sent to a beau in the war). They were lengthy letters to lovers to tell them that their day in the sun was over. They were break up letters that women (or sometimes men) would write to their significant other-often painstakingly crying over them, or raging, as they wrote every single word of how they feel, and the reasons why they are breaking off the relationship. Following the process of writing their feelings out, the letter sat until the author made it to the post office to put a stamp on it. It would the take days, or weeks to get into the hands of the victim of the breakup. He or she would read the letter, most likely cry, and sometimes reply or sometimes not, depending on the situation. It was a lengthy ordeal, and I am sure it must have caused anxiety as they waited for the breakup to finally be done.
Could you imagine? Talk about slowwwwwly tearing off a band-aid.
Life is no longer about processes and spending time sharing feelings.
Life has become Fast, Easy, Convenient, Instant, and often Brutal.
It is about blocking people and sharing snippets of videos. It is about making snap decisions and not caring about what others think. It is about being a tiny part of the mighty world of Social Media. It is about texting rather than talking. It is about being Social without having to be in a social situation.
People are perceived only by what they are willing to “post”, and not by the person behind the device. We can literally be whoever we want to be, as we hide behind our phones and tablets. We can be happy, miserable, or assholes if we want to be, and it doesn’t matter, because we aren’t “real” people. We are one of the “friends” on lists in people’s lives.
Facebook is like the 7–11 of our devices. We can buy stuff, message people, browse, piss people off, hurt people, make new friends, creep other people without them knowing, steal photos from people, tag people, and tell the world where we are at all times, all while pumping gas or buying a carton of milk on the way home. It is a ONE STOP shop and it can control us and how we feel about others. We can be victimized, bullied, or gossiped about. We can also help people, be positive role models and donate to causes. And it only takes a second to do so.
No wonder people put such stock in what they see or read on the platform.
All of the other Social platforms are the same. Medium falls under the same umbrella, as it is, in and of itself, a form of social media. Any kind of app that creates a line of communication between strangers is Social Media.
And all of these apps and such exist because people, although innately social, love to have things come easily and convenient to them. It is a matter of human nature.
So, changing a status from “In a relationship” to “Single” was easy and convenient. So, I did it. It is the “New Age Dear John Letter”, without the process of painstakingly handwriting it and awaiting its delivery.
One tap of the finger and you’re done.
The same convenience comes with “Unfriending” people. One day you have a friend, and with a simple tap of the finger, POOF, they are no longer “friends” the next day. No explanation, no discussion-nothing.
And, once these things are “Facebook Official”, that’s it!
The band-aid is ripped off, leaving a quick sting behind, until that person moves on and scrolls through life, in search of updates, news and gossip. And the world turns, the sun sets and rises, and life goes on.
During this epiphany of mine, I have come to realize that human contact is honestly becoming an extinct feature of our world. Contact has now become a quick act of finger tapping, anxiety, and assumptions of how another person feels. It is quite sad honestly. The feelings of others no longer matter as much because the assumption is that the pain of a social media action is not real. We see Social Media as a virtual world, but for some reason, it feels more like real, true life, has become virtual, and Facebook, Instagram, and other apps are our new reality.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have some people to remove from my “life” and some more “life events” to post, as I scroll through my newsfeed, making assumptions and staying in touch with my “friends”.