In a world filled with private options, why are we so public? Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea that I can easily see what a good friend is up to miles away in another state. I get to see parts of family members’ lives on a regular basis, and I can keep in touch with old friends. It’s a great way to get behind a cause or to promote a business. I am an advocate for discussing when people have an illness and getting large amounts of support by simply updating a page. So, please do not misunderstand my agenda. But haven’t we gotten a little carried away with Facebook Status Updates?
Our relationships are so public. Why do we feel the need to ❤ on our partner’s wall if we can do so in a private message with one extra click or if we can send it over a text? Are we marking our territory by making it public? These are just questions I want you to consider the next time you reach for the smart phone, or laptop. Why are we telling the world what we had for dinner? Let’s start to evaluate in our own lives why we can’t tell a friend something privately and why we have to post it on a wall for their 983 friends to also have an opportunity to see. I tell people all the time that I can not image being in high school now and having a break up. What used to take place in a letter or by a locker in a hallway with 20 people has now moved to a public venue of discussion for the whole school. I can not have imagined what it would have been like to have a break up in high school via Facebook news feed and relationship updates. That is what it is for our kids today.
We have become too dependent on public information. But who is to blame? We make what we choose to make public.
What I learned on my Facebook home page today was: what someone ate for dinner, what someone wanted to cook for dinner, who recently played candy crush, and just how adorable your kid is.
If you look on your personal page and you see that it is common for you to post numerous times a day about how you feel, who you love, what you eat, or what you are doing, I challenge you to stop. Just try a little more privacy. Evaluate why you have to keep everyone posted about what is going on with you. A recent book I read called “Being Peace” said this about our time. “We have millions of ways to lose precious time, we turn on the tv, pick up the phone and start the car and go somewhere. We are not used to being with ourselves, and we act as if we don’t like ourselves and are trying to escape ourselves.” So maybe your constant need to status is just telling everyone that you have difficulty spending time alone.
As you begin the journey of not posting every day, you will understand why I am challenging you to stop. In the moments when you are trying to enjoy a cup a coffee and read, or play with your kid, or hang out with friends at a new restaurant, you will feel it. You will get the urge to tag friends, update where you are and what you are doing, or to take a picture of your coffee mug and say, “Just enjoying coffee and reading.” Honestly, that is great, whatever you are doing is wonderful. So try to just do that one thing and not status update about it. The first few times your initial reaction while doing one of these things will be “Oh, I need to post this.” Why? Why are we so impulsive to post? We are so busy reaching for the phone that we forget to enjoy the moment. This short video shows us just that:
Lenders for homes recently discussed how they might use Facebook pages to get a history of who you are and what you are doing. They can look back and see if you have posted about switching jobs and even make judgements on loans by the number of friends you have. How can this be? When you are searching for a job, employers scope out your page, and it has become a way for people to judge who you are by what you post. But the apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree. It is likely that we can tell who someone is by their page. Do they cuss and have vulgar postings? or do they value what they say in public? Are their pictures filled with keg stands and party scenes? Or are their pictures filled with close friends and family?
So once again I ask you to consider: In a world filled with private options, why are we so public?
The Cynical Therapist came to be when two therapists became friends. SoulMates or Kindered Spirit Animals… Call us what you will…. We are two bad*** chics Licensed to teach you how to grow into your full potential and add some humor along the way.
Laurie Wilson and Elle Anzalone are both Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Huntington Beach, CA.