“Everything is perfect.” In speaking with a friend who recently gave up Facebook, she cited this as the reason. That seemingly every post by every person she follows is filled with status updates that say, “My life is better than yours.”
“It’s complete bullshit.” She said. “Nobody’s life is always perfect. Yet when you visit someone’s Facebook page, you’d think they were in competition to ‘out-perfect’ everyone else.”
I don’t disagree. Facebook is a platform that lets you project your life within the communities you belong. Unfortunately, all communities are subject to certain politics. Take social hierarchy for example. Status is a pretty big thing that exists in our real life communities, and online. At their very foundation, deep beneath all the whistles and bells, all social platforms, like Facebook, are based on one concept – connectivity. Humans want to connect. Need to connect. And so thanks to Facebook, we’ve been able to ‘connect’ at hyper speed. This also means reconnecting. Which explains why you’re Facebook friends with that girl from High School who you never liked before, and who you like even less now because of how she has this ‘perfect’ little life to go along with her ‘perfect’ little past and her ‘perfect’ new boobs. You hate her. And, despite the benefits of connectivity, you can’t get past how social media feels like an ego showroom. The Guy showing off his new Corvette. Friends who all take perfect vacations. The six months of blather leading up to the perfect fucking wedding. It’s all just perfect. And it’s all done to work the social hierarchy.
Except – it’s like this: Life isn’t perfect. In fact, it’s terribly flawed. Wrought with pitfalls and adventures; twists and turns. And very few of these things take place in Candyland. No, the closest thing to perfection that we will ever know is simply being happy in any given moment. Yes, sometimes we are. Hopefully a lot more often than not. And we share that. But to follow some people, you’d think they were a gumdrop sliding around a colorful board. As it turns out, Facebook is a great revealer of character. Those who consistently project perfection almost certainly lack self esteem.
“So you quit Facebook, then? Because of this?” I asked my friend.
“But all this stuff – this politicking and social jokeying – it’s not Facebook’s fault. It’s the people using it. And it’s nothing new. People are weird. They don’t even know they’re doing it.” I said.
“But perfect? Come on. It’s sickening. I can’t keep up with that.” She said.
“You mean you can’t keep up with their idea of perfect?” I asked.
“Yes. And I don’t want to have to worry about who ‘likes’ my pictures or status updates.” She added.
There was a long pause. I looked up at the sky and said something about weather.
“So, Jim, how was your trip to The Bahamas last week?” She asked me with a raised brow.
I hesitated to answer.
This image above is an ad I created for our daughter’s school’s yearbook. A different ad ran, obviously. It is a Montessori school, after all. But we all got a laugh out of this.
“The bed’s made, but there’re no sheets on.” – John Mellencamp, Case 795