There are some things that are just so much sweeter when they're cherished and not simply given away for likes.
For those of us kids who weren't quite 90s kids, getting a Facebook was already a rite of passage. A coming into "adulthood"—though "adulthood" and "social media" are hardly synonymous—so to speak. Facebook was for those of us who probably never had a MySpace, and might have heard of Twitter, but that's about it. Social media was like a shining city in our boring lives of paper football and 7 up. It was new. It was exciting. Parents attended seminars about the dangers of social media; we in the meantime were told of how it, along with TV, would rot our brains out.
In my late middle school and early high school years, when Facebook really took off (around 2009 or so), almost everyone had a Facebook. It way way better than texting or IMing; it was personal. We could put as much or as little as we wanted out there, and best of all, our friends could "see" it.
Recently, a little automatic video popped up on my home screen/page/dash/whatever-they-call-it-now, gleefully throwing electronic confetti at my blurry profile picture, celebrating 7 years of activity. 7 years. A diary, a timeline, a portfolio, of seven years' worth of memories. Can you imagine? 7 years of photos, of events, of political commentary and cat videos? 7 years of creating a public image, a profile in place of the real person.
I mean, I can't help but wonder what that does to a person. Regardless of what some people may claim, virtual reality is not itself reality. Pictures and words, especially now that everything can be photoshopped or edited intensely, cannot take the place of a real person.
It's kind of how Plato viewed literature and writing—words, or "poetry," is merely a copy of a copy. The second copy being of a human, and the first, of his belief in an otherworldly place of perfect forms and ideas. In his view the written word was no living, breathing person, who himself or herself would be capable of defending his opinion, answering questions, and branch off from ideas and concepts. And human beings could hardly hold a candle to perfection.
And yet there is a certain life in words which he never addresses; words can, in a sense, be living and good and instructive and entertaining and a wonderful way of communicating.
But the current impersonal-personal nature of social media, the instantaneous gratification of our culture, and the rise of the picture as our means of communication, causes me to understand his logic. Well, a little bit.
As most people are aware, hiding behind a computer screen gives many cause to become a completely different person. No longer do we interpret facial expressions, or feel the breeze of conversation, or laugh out loud instead of typing that we're laughing out loud when in actuality we're making a sort of strangled noise in the back of our throats.
Scrolling down my feed is literally just me and a paint-chipped thumb and index finger, and a flat, glass-like screen. Those icons aren't REALLY people; they're just certain aspects they've decided to share.
And now, a few months in... I hardly even think about Facebook. And of course, I guess I did replace it a little with Instagram or Tumblr or Pinterest as far as social media goes, but I never thought what a nice thing it would be to hear, "Oh hey! Did you see what so-in-so did last...oh right, you don't have a Facebook!"
I really don't want to know what so-in-so did.
I mean, unless it's family, but in that case, more often than not people tend to call or text about important events or—God forbid—family drama.
And, more importantly, I've realized that if people really do want to talk to you, they'll find a way. Like just texting or calling or messaging on Instagram (yes, that is a thing!) or Pinterest. Or—and this is really crazy—email. Or snail-mail! *insert dramatic gasp*
Not having a Facebook has also been a huge weight off of my shoulders. I mean, I really don't think many people cared much what I posted, but I cared that they might perhaps a little too much. Focusing on myself and not how I might appear to everyone else, keeping times with friends and funny stories personal is really just a joy.
Some things are meant to be shared, but there are some things that are just so much sweeter when they're cherished and not given away for likes.
Now, I don't want to make scandalous claims like, "MY SKIN IS CLEAR. MY CROPS ARE THRIVING. MY GRADES ARE UP. I HAVE 20/20 VISION. THE SUN IS SHINING."
(Curse you, Tumblr).
But seriously, ya'll. I almost want to claim it because it's so damn near the truth. Expect for the crops thing...then again, can someone tell me how, upon forgetting it even existed and #whatiswater for months, that my succulent on my desk is still green??