Social media anxiety
How to fight Facebook Fatigue
By John “jaQ” Andrews firstname.lastname@example.org
I haven’t been to Facebook in over a week.
Do we live in an age in which that admission is shocking? Like “I haven’t called my mom in a week” or “I haven’t brushed my teeth in a week”?
It’s partly due to travel, but partly because, man, I just don’t want to hear it.
Forget the Farmville and Mafia Wars posts. Forget the results of asinine quizzes and personality tests, and the latest chain letter status update. Those are minor annoyances. Those aren’t the psychic warfare I’m avoiding.
I don’t want to read about your documentary project highlighting the plight of the poor in India. I don’t want to be amazed by your stunning success fighting for environmental causes just out of law school. I certainly don’t want to be led, by a series of clicks that I must insist to my subconscious were made purely by coincidence, to the Twittered news that an ex — a big one, a Living Well is the Best Revenge one — is now working in a credited writing role on a SyFy Channel series.
I mean, dang. My life just isn’t that cool. Satisfied, content, whatever; I want newsworthy.
I suppose there are a few choices in the way one reacts to this barrage of braggadocio.
Be happy and proud. Your friends, frienemies and acquaintances are enjoying success. Perhaps they are even making the world a better place, which is something that should always be cheered, and the bigger person always congratulates rather than envies. Perhaps, in some way, your past association even helped them along their path. Yeah, that’s it.
Assume they’re lying. Or at least exaggerating. Sure, their book is sooooo influential. Yet they still have time to post on the Internet? Wouldn’t they be constantly signing autographs if they were so cool? What? Oh, their assistant is signing while they type on their cutting-edge smartphone? You totally believe them.
Respond in kind. Do something important. Follow that dream you’ve put off for years in the name of stability and responsibility. Throw caution to the wind. Sure, you might deplete your retirement and kids’ college savings accounts, but you’ll show up your former classmates! To whom you don’t talk, but only comment on their posts. Which they ignore.
Assume a comeuppance. Eventually, that $40 they stiffed you on will come back to haunt them. Those who seek fame often get their wish with unintended consequences, like paparazzi, failed marriages and drug rehab. Plus there’s that whole 2012 thing, so, like, why bother?
Do a mental reality check. Would you be fulfilled living the totality of your friends’ lives, or would you just like the sweet-sounding parts tacked on to your own life? Would you actually enjoy being a brain surgeon, putting in 90-hour weeks and fending off malpractice lawsuits left and right? You know getting anywhere in the music industry involves constant travel and late weekend nights instead of comfy movie-watching on the couch with your sweetie, right?
Take their point of view. It’s entirely possible that they wish they had the wit and erudition to make a post about what you had for breakfast so entertaining. The comma placement, the vocabulary — gasp, is that a semicolon!? They’d give up their myriad accomplishments in a microsecond for a fraction of your unrecognized genius.
Claim you invented Post-Its. Hey, it worked (briefly) in Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion. Why not for the perpetual online reunion that is social media?