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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Facebook Effect

I'm so glad I have this photo of my sweet Big Daddy, so I can talk about something I've been wanting to share about for awhile. This picture was taken at Lockhart Smokehouse in the Bishop Arts District and Big Daddy is just digging into his first bite of delicious BBQ. I captured this precious picture of his giddy face only there's only one thing you can't see in the picture--it's completely fake. He was trying to eat, I was trying to take cute pictures. I said, "Look up," and he looked up with half a snarl on so I said, "SMILE!" and he put on the phoniest, cheesiest, most sarcastic smile he could muster and boom! I've made a FB memory. (Now to be fair, Mr. Wonderful did have a great time at the BBQ joint and we did enjoy the food, but in that exact moment while his wife was delaying the kick-off to his carnivorous feed, there were not genuine smiles to be had.)

My Facebook friends know all about my life. They see more pictures than they probably want to. They know where I go and what I do. I record it all--except the yucky parts.

I cannot tell you how many times people come up to me to talk about how lucky I am at bingo. According to Facebook, I win every time I walk in the place, because I only post about bingo when I win. We don't share many of the less photographic moments in our lives on social media because there are some things that are private, and because there are some things we don't care to record for posterity. That doesn't mean they don't happen.

Most of us have had that friend who rants about her boyfriend/husband online and most of us have hidden her from our newfeeds. It's immature and awkward to air dirty laundry online but just because people aren't shouting it from their status doesn't mean that there aren't challenges, struggles, and just general messiness in day to day life and the only time that becomes a problem is when I start believing the Facebook world is the real world. That's when social media becomes toxic for me. In recovery we call this "judging my insides by your outsides." When I start to believe Facebook is the real world, everyone is skinny and dressed cute at all times. Everyone except Big Daddy and I went to the beach this summer. No one has ever been alone in Facebookland, nor have they fought with anyone including themselves, things don't spill, things don't break, there's always enough money, and nothing bad happens to anyone except me. There are exceptions to this but these situations are handled with such grace and faith that these friends seem superhuman. This is when I need to turn the computer off and spend some face to face time with a real live friend. This is when I need to get my head out of my laptop and get my feet back on the ground.

Here's the thing: Facebook is a great place to keep up with people that you can't see every day. It's a great place to post those cute back to school pictures or to share a funny story. Facebook is a wonderful tool to bring people together or to get feedback--but while a picture may be worth a thousand words, there are thousands of other words that are just outside the frame.

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