Apparently this is old news so bear with me. I'm coming to grips with this reality where propriety doesn't exist. That we no longer know what it means anymore. Give me a moment.
Okay, I'm good.
Facebook -- oh, how I despise thee -- encourages what folks like to call "over-sharing." We all know this is inappropriate, but it has become part of our culture to not only accept it but encourage it. Yes, take a picture of that hamburger you're about to eat for lunch. Yes, give us yet another selfie. Yes, do tell us how many centimeters your wife is at currently. Yes, tell us that you're on the way to the ER to get your appendix removed and how you're in such crippling pain but, God help you, no life event, however personal, will keep your clammy fingers from your smartphone.
I got an update the other day about a woman's pap smear. One time a friend tagged my name to an article she posted.... the article was about NFP and the side effects of the pill. (Are we noticing the trend that women are especially guilty of over-sharing?)
Here's the point: I'm not against many of the things mentioned above.But I would never ask you about any of those things in public (okay, maybe the hamburger) and yet people love to treat Facebook as though it's a private forum. It's not! It's a public forum! Would you say these things while standing in line at the grocery store? No? Then it doesn't belong on Facebook.
Of course, there are those people -- usually women -- who respond with a "hell yes I say things like it aloud at the grocery store all the time!" or "Isn't this a free country?" or even "I'm just an open kind of personality!" but this only gets to the heart of the matter. That it's all about you.
Since when was socializing all about me? I thought I was supposed to be kind to all, love all, put others first, regard myself as last.
I am, by far, not the example of a person who uses Facebook well. But it has reached the point where I stay away from it for a week or so and I start getting emails (written notes! It's phenomenal!) from friends: "Dear Anne, Where are your quotes? Have you not been reading?! Call me this weekend!" and "Dear Anne, What music are you working on? Have you ever played any Stravinsky? I'm working on the piano trio right now..." and "Dear Anne, I'll be in Boston next month and I thought of you. We should do lunch." And so I return to Facebook, time and again, and try to use it more wisely. I have yet to really like Facebook, but I'm working on it.
- Update your status this week with something you know will make several of your friends laugh. Tag them in it.
- Share something from what you've been reading that you think others will enjoy. Or even benefit from reading.
- Put up something beautiful. We don't need more politics, sensational news, snark, lambasting, theological rants, name calling, crude humor, demeaning jokes, pictures of the horrendous spider you found in your closet, how disappointed you are that your husband is late for dinner, or cussing about how much you hate your job. Does anything else come to mind that belongs on this list? We don't need more of that either. There is a time for, well, most of these things but they should be exceptions and not the norm. Christians especially can become super focused on the True and the Good and yet spread around a whole lot of ugly -- if beauty is lacking it means there's something wrong with what we think is True and Good. Beauty, mysteriously, "takes care of herself"....where her sisters are, there she will be also. I'm begging here, really. Take beauty seriously. Try. I'll stop ranting now.
To sum up. How can you be an enjoyment to your friends on Facebook? And for how long? Can you do it for one week? Can you die to your own self-centered whims for seven days on Facebook? It takes guts.