social media madness and never ever giving it up

What's the Age of Your Future Pet Ferret? A video scrolled by that I will never click on. A random thread from a stranger that one of my friends "liked." Let's not forget the homemade jam, kitchen cleaner, diy headboard that none of us will actually ever have time for. I spend a lot of my day wading through this jungle, gladly, willingly. And as I post from this time sucker that is the queen of social media, can we just all agree that Facebook is 89% nonsense? Sweet, beautiful, awful nonsense?

I haven’t posted in a while and it hasn’t been because it’s been non-eventful around here. In fact, I may have just lived through the best two week stretch in the last year and it doesn’t seem to be over. The universe is just hailing amazing vibes and completely fantastic opportunities have been lining up. Hawaii plans. The break in a four-year teaching career looming. Making new friends on a softball team (haven't played in 10 years!) Making plans to majorly downsize. Epic East Bay trip. Memorial Day Chambers Landing. It’s kind of overwhelming and it’s all colliding with the fact that I’ve lived in Tahoe for a year. Wow.

But lately I’ve been realizing with every grand thing that has happened, I instinctively reach for my phone. Capture it. Share it. Tweet it. Instagram it. I tell myself (and my annoyed husband) that it’s because I want to share good news with so many of my friends and family that are no longer in my daily life. Sure. But I’m starting to think it’s a bit deeper than that.

In the morning, when I reach to snooze my phone alarm, I also read Insta and Facebook like the newspaper. I do this every morning, first thing, for at least 10 minutes. Before the first bell rings at school, I’m checking in again on close friends but mostly a sea of acquaintances that I haven’t seen face to face in years, let alone possess their phone number. On my 2nd period planning, I’m bopping around on Twitter to read the latest in MLB news and pop culture scandal. Then it’s back to teaching. But I’m creeping around again on lunch. When I need a break from writing newsletter copy. When I reach for my afternoon snack. When I get home. On commercial breaks. Before I go to bed. It’s literally a full blown addiction, so much so that it mimics a lot of my routines when I was a smoker.


I read this great article shared by Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls Facebook (of course) and it reflected back at me, just like my iphone in the direct sun.

"Gone are they, the days of coming by with chicken noodle if you were sick. Now I would rather send you an e-cauldron of broth via Facebook."

But before I start telling y'all that I'm going to throw my Facebook account into the symbolic ocean, let me tell you what I love about social media. When I first started communicating through the computer, it was via Instant Messenger. Yes. The clever away messages. Typing til 5 a.m. I learned to type quite well in those days. All through college when MySpace and LiveJournal was boss. Being able to communicate in this way helped my social anxiety and helped keep in touch with friends all over the country, including long-distance relationships. And while all of that served me when I was a noodley-nerved middle/high school/college kid, now nearing 30 and as bold and brave as ever, I think it's hindering my relationship with now. Because sometimes I think I care more about what my sea of acquaintances think then the people, place or thing directly in front of me. Yes, I want my family and friends to keep in touch with my life, but I also want everyone on my friends list to think I'm devastatingly cool. And that really scares me.

There have been so many articles about social media addiction, viral videos about missing moments because the phone is in your face instead of what you're doing. But for me, the next dream of ours is to downsize even more, to be a bit more unattached, to let some more "stuff" go. My next biggest thing isn't the TV or shoes or my Jeep or my clothes or even my hair dryer: it's my addiction to filtering my life through all of your eyes, with cleverly angled food pictures, lake selfies with two filters, making sure you know where I got that killer falafel in Alameda when I checked in on Facebook. I'm obsessed with not feeling like I "missed" anything, and even if I haven't talked to you directly in 10 years, I still want to know if you had that baby yet.

It sounds so maddening when you say it out loud, but I know I'm not alone. And I think being this far away from a lot of people and not making a lot of friends out here, I've missed the point of actually connecting. It isn't through likes and comments and creeping/scrolling down your Facebook feed. Those things are fine, but when it's all you do, there's a problem. And maybe instead of hiding behind my really good away messages (no, really, mine were really good), maybe I should put down the phone and start a conversation, or read a good book, or give someone a call. I am that person that posts a tagged photo on Insta instead of calling them on their birthday, and that kind of makes me really sad.

I don't think I'll ever be minimalist enough to delete my Facebook account and buy a flip phone. I've always loved technology, since I was eight with the help of web tutorials from my IT dad. But maybe a bit of balance is in order. Maybe I should actually read the newspaper instead of scrolling past jello salad recipes, memes about hating stupid people, and another news article about something terrible that happened in that state with that weather and that kid. I'm tempted to add up all the time I spend and substitute something else, like really ask Oatmeal about his day and listen or put my phone by the milk in the fridge during dinner. While I can't promise that I won't ever take another food photo with 6 filters and I'll probably check in at my next epic meal time, maybe I'll finish that book that I started in October.

Expect a full review via Facebook in 1-2 months.