So, I remember the weirdest things but one brief conversation I had over 10 years ago stands out to me. It was high school and like all high school girls I had friends, enemies, and frienemies. One of my then-frienemies (we've grown up since then!) was friends with one of my enemies. Standing by the lockers one day, frienemy walks up and says in reference to enemy something like, "She shares too much information. Sometimes it's almost like, 'Hey, guys. I just farted.'" Of course, at the time I ate this up and laughed at her expense but over the years it's been a little reminder that more often than not I need to shut up. Just shut up. I've often been tempted (and have too often given in to the temptation) to over share. I think the Internet feels far safer than it really is. I need to remember that.
2. Friends...or Stalkers?
Speaking of "friends", I have 321 of them. I know that number is much higher for many of you, but I've been careful to only accept requests from people that I know and would like to interact with. Out of all of those friends, I have only accepted two requests from people whom I do not know in any way. I've only ever unfriended three people. I have unsubscribed from a lot of people's status updates, however, for various reasons. My news feed is pretty much a constant cycle of about 10 people's status updates and 3 very active pages that I've "liked." Most of my "friends" rarely/never post anything and never comment on anything that I post. Then I or my mother or other family member will see them in person and they'll say, "Oh, yeah, I saw that on Traci's Facebook page." Do you know what we'd call it if in "real life" someone was walking around amidst us not saying anything or making themselves known in any way but looking at all of our personal information? We'd call that weird. And it feels weird when people do it in my online life, too. But when you put yourself--details of your personal life including thousands of photos--on Facebook you're pretty much inviting people to stalk you.
3. Channel Surfing
I think I've always had a wide array of friends and acquaintances...people from all walks of life. My Facebook friends are no different. It's kind of strange though. It's seriously like half of my friends are gay liberal evolutionists and the other half are hardcore super-conservative Bible-thumpers. Some days checking Facebook is like constantly flipping between Fox News and CNN stopping to stare at The 700 Club and Howard Stern in between. I walk away with my head spinning!
4. I'm Pretty Sure I'm Right and You're Wrong.
Sure, everyone's entitled to their own opinion but I'm of the opinion that you're opinion is wrong. I am pretty passionate about every little thing that I believe in and somewhere along the way I've gotten kind of radical. I'm a Christian; my family and I have been uprooted from everything we've ever known to go into a cruel, needy world by beliefs most people think are nutso. I guess technically we have a large family even though four children doesn't seem like that many to me. I don't believe in birth control and I get "those" comments every time we go out. (You know, "Wow, you have your hands full," and so on.) I breastfeed my children and think that breastmilk is the absolute best possible thing you can feed your baby and cannot fathom why so many educated women give their babies formula. I homeschool my children and while I don't believe it's feasible to do away with the public school system, I do think educating your own children should be done far more often than not.
Like I said, I'm pretty passionate about all of these things but all of these things make me feel very different than a lot of you. Sometimes I get tired of watering down my beliefs to stay P.C. At the same time, I don't want to butt heads with everyone I encounter. I don't say everything I think but my thoughts will not let me rest. I feel like maybe if I didn't bombard myself with details from everyone else's life on Facebook, I wouldn't get sensory overload and spend so much time thinking about unnecessary things.
5. "She must have too much time on her hands."
Someone said these words of me. Someone who doesn't really know me and was talking about me behind my back. He was talking about me in the first place because he disagreed with something I said on this blog, something controversial but true. He was trying to imply that I blogged and was on Facebook so much because I had nothing else to do. His comment stung. At first I thought, "He has no idea how much I do! Who is he to judge me? He is retired and even when he worked he had an easy job. I bet he never even helped care for his children." I was immediately defensive and I could have left it at that but I believe that most of the time when criticism hurts there must be a hint of truth to it. Yes, I do a lot at home for no pay and with little recognition. I work hard every day and throughout the night. But the truth is, I do get distracted by things like Facebook over and over. I check in multiple times during the day. I upload hundreds of pictures. Sometimes while I'm doing this, my children go without. "Wait a minute," I say ten times. "Hold on." It's frustrating to be called away from something I want to do! But I shouldn't be that way. They are far more important than looking at the 100 beach pictures you just posted (that will just make me jealous anyway) or even reading what verse inspired you today (I should be away getting inspired myself!). I have a hard time maintaining priorities and am even worse about moderation.
So what am I to do? I think my life would be a little simpler and I'd feel less frazzled if I didn't have this social media distraction. Sure, I'd lose that convenience factor of instant networking but I might actually be forced to have a real social life. I could text or call a friend when there was something I needed to share or--wonder of wonders--I could speak to them face to face!
Can anyone relate? What keeps you logging in?