Warning: There are several statements in this post that may ruffle some feathers. I could say that I’m joking, but that would be cop-out. I am being playful, provocative, and definitely sarcastic, in many places, but I own the fact that some may take offense to some of the views I have
passive-aggressively expressed here. And that, that right there <–, the cross out, there’s a lot of it here. Ok, some of you find it childish. I’ve read some big time bloggers who mock that use of cross outs and other trendy gimmicks. I’m not big time, so I still rely on this stuff. Bite me. Smart Guy hates it, he lets me know, every time he reads one of my blogs that has cross outs. He’d hate this post. I understand why it can be very annoying, So don’t read this if you’re going to get all ruffled and annoyed. It’s meant to be ironic, sarcastic, and even a little thought-provoking. It’s mostly about me, but may apply to others as well. It’s up to you how you choose to view the thoughts I share here. You’re all adults I assume. You’ve been warned; carry on at your own risk.
As I was saying…
Hi, My name is ______. No, I didn’t leave the name blank as a cop-out; I can own this statement. My name is Tales From the Motherland, and I’m addicted to Facebook. What? Not good enough? Hiding behind my blog persona? Ok. Hi, My name is Dawn, and
I’m addicted to I really, really like Facebook. Most of the time. Not every day. But a lot of days. Well, maybe most days. I left the name blank to be inclusive; I just thought I might not be the only one. I think there are a lot of us out there. You know who you are; you know I’m right.
Facebook is everywhere! Your kids are using it, your friends, relatives, even your grandparents are probably using it. It’s practically an epidemic… An epidemic with everyone but the population it was actually created for: teens. Teens? Well, in case this is news to you, they’re abandoning the Facebook-ship like rats. Or, if they’re still on there, they’re not using the names you think they’re using. Parents, be clear on this: your kids did not actually accept you as a friend, unless they’re 10-13 (and that 2nd number’s a stretch). Any kid older than that either has a second account, where the real stuff is going down, and you (parents) are not friends, or, they’ve moved on to other more interesting ventures. I could tell you that a lot of teens have told me this, but I cant’ give names so you might doubt my research. You could read this, this, this, or this, instead. These are four articles by respectable sources; there are dozens more, if you’re so inclined to do some research of your own. The fact remains, Facebook is losing ground with younger junkies and gaining ground with older ones.
Make no mistake, despite falling numbers, Facebook is still the drug of choice for most teens here in the US and abroad, as well as a gateway drug for
me many adults and young people, all over. Folks start with Facebook and soon are experimenting with Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, etc… There’s something new on the street web every day. I admit to trying Twitter… more than once, maybe… Ok, I use it regularly now, too. Keeping track of my word count is a bit challenging, but the whole “favorite” option, the sense of a collective “trending” and the quick pace action feeds my need for speed. Nonetheless, despite changes, Facebook is not only the most popular drug for non-teens, like myself, but is the fastest growing drug for middle-aged women, in particular. Mommy’s little helper.
We Many rely on it
daily for: updates on friends and people we hardly know, friends of friends, or even people we don’t really like but are curious about family. We post to show-off share photos of our beautiful, talented, better than your kids, our social get togethers that others weren’t invited to, share delicious things we’ve made that you can’t make as well, and tell everyone how wonderful our more thoughtful than your husband and extra special kids are, and how grateful we are to have them in our lives. We passive-aggressivly gloat express enthusiasm for accomplishments that we or our loved ones have made, and love to share how wonderful they are, while simultaneously “ creeping” enjoying and comparing photos and updates on all of said friend’s and people we hardly know or don’t even like’s and family’s walls.
Facebook is an awesome place to
harass people offer to play games like Candy Crush, Bejewled Blitz, Farmville, etc that can make you crazy be shared and enjoyed together; or share a barrage of statements and photos and articles about your latest diet and work out efforts and why your way is better than how others are doing it, and encourage others. You can share articles you just read or videos of annoying funny comedians and talk show hosts you like whose politics push other people’s buttons. It’s a great place to toot your own horn and drive people crazy share your blog and the things you aspire to, and demand cajole guilt ask others to support you. You can force others to ignore share your favorite songs and videos or show people things that make them cry, or feel guilty or want to cringe inspire others. There are so many blatantly annoying meaningful messages to spam share with friend and family, that also bring them wishes come true and good luck if they in turn spam share this crap these inspirational tidings with 10 others.
Whatever Facebook is, it is not the real world; yet, more and more, it’s the world many live in. I have not come across a “status” that says: “My husband/wife was a big, fat jerk today.” Or, “My kids are lazy and leave their laundry/ dirty dishes/ shoes/ filthy socks/ insert countless other items, all over the house.” You don’t generally see: “My marriage really isn’t good;” or “Wow, my husband/wife has really gained weight;” or “I don’t find my partner as attractive as I once did, the sparkle’s really faded.” It’s rare to hear: “My spouse/ child/ sister/ brother/ lover/ friend, etc really hurt my feelings today.” The few statuses I have read that say things like: “I’m lonely/ I feel awkward/ I don’t like how I look/ My marriage is failing/ My kids are a disappointment…,” and I have seen a few, are generally met with awkward responses, polite encouragement, or very little at all. I often feel guilty if I don’t share or post something because someone else says that they “know some of you (read me) will post this, and some of you will not,” in response to a statement about mental health, death of loved ones, loneliness, loving (or missing) your daughter/ sister/ mother/son/ father… etc., as if responding or not responding, posting/sharing or not, determines whether you really care. I feel drawn into Liking things that really are none of my business, but they’re posted for all of us to see, and I do the very same thing to others. I’ve run into folks while out and about, who chat with me on Facebook all the time, “like” things I post, and send me messages fairly often, but then act like we’re strangers face to face. What is that? The real world?
Still, I admit it; I am on Facebook every day– unless I’m not traveling and away from all internet access. It’s a blessing and a curse; I love it and hate it. I alternately love my interactions with others and annoy myself with my own bullshit on there. Do you really want to see my “song of the day?” Why did I even think it was a good idea? Who knows; but I’ll post another song tomorrow. Do you really want to know each time I post a blog? Or are you being polite? Do you care what I made for dinner, or if we did something cool over the weekend? Wouldn’t you, too, rather get a real birthday card from many of your friends and FAMILY, on your birthday! Now even family members think it’s ok to just type in a quick greeting on your birthday, or when you’ve lost someone you love, or you’re sick… Phone calls, cards, or God forbid: letters, are obsolete. Personally, I still believe in thank you notes, real holiday and birthday cards. I believe in phone calls when people I care about are going through a tough time. But Facebook makes it so easy to just type a public or, the far more personal “private” message to say what you might have expressed very differently, just a few years ago. Facebook makes it easy to be a person I don’t always like, someone who can be a little over-sensitive, arrogant, thoughtless, hurtful, and annoying, even if my intentions are generally good.
Then there’s the flip side of this coin: there’s a lot of good that’s come from Facebook, as well. Facebook brings people I love and who live far way, into my home daily. I can see that my girl is going climbing, or reading her poetry at a cafe in Jerusalem; that she’s traveling, but is safe. I can share photos with my relatives back east, and they can share things with me. My nieces and nephews can send me messages and we can stay in touch, easily and in terms that work for them. Many of them are in middle school or high school; I am certain we would not be in touch otherwise. I hear from friends who live far away, many overseas, and who I might not hear from if we all had to find the time to write letters or figure out time zones and call. It means that I got a bazillion wonderful happy birthday greetings from people I care about, who would not have otherwise been in touch.
When I was in the hospital recently, people lifted my spirits and helped me feel a lot less scared and alone. While I wouldn’t post here the messages that were on my FB wall, I couldn’t possibly express in words what all those greetings meant to me, at the time. Facebook brought all that love into my hospital room, and I believe it helped me physically and emotionally. Friends played Lexulous/scrabble on-line with me (yet another addiction); they sent caring messages; they were there for me, and I was moved. Of course, close family and my closer friends called and came by, as well, but it was all those Facebook messages that buoyed me through a very hard time. My daughter could see me on Skype and know I was not well, but was still making jokes, and thus would live. Facebook helped us manage all those good intentions, so Smart Guy could avoid dozens of phone calls and explanations, and I could rest and “chat” (read on-line, not actually talking) when I was able.
Facebook has re-introduced me to old friends who, frankly, I would probably not know if it weren’t for this online opportunity to connect– friends who live far away, or who have busy or very different lives. When my high school class had its 3oth graduation reunion in 2011, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t attend. I’d been to two before that, and had been disappointed. People tended to stick with the same groups they’d been part of 30 years ago, and I felt mostly frustrated that I’d travelled so far, awkward, and let down. For the 30th reunion, a Facebook page was set up months before the event and bit by bit we all reintroduced ourselves, shared our family photos and stories, and were given an opportunity to see that many of us are not who we were then, and we learned that like each other now. We all arrived with a renewed interest in each other, and sense that we are a family of sorts. We share a history, in a special and specific time and place, that no longer exists. Our stories are similar and sacred. Instead of caring who had been a “pothead,” a “jock,” a “loser,” the “awkward kid,” the “popular kid,” the introverts we didn’t notice, or the extroverts who were everywhere… we were collectively survivors of that history, and we are grown ups now. We embraced the quirky, the extroverts, introverts, the partiers, the gay men and women who are now able to say that and not feel ashamed or afraid, the divorced, the married-forevers, the bigger, grayer, the wiser looking. We danced a lot; we drank too much; we had too much fun, and we did it together– no cliques, and limited awkwardness, because we’d all re-connected and worked out many of the “bugs,” long before we met in person. We met first on Facebook. I believe that Facebook made it a true re-union. Since that grand weekend, I’ve forged much closer bonds with several of my former classmates, that I couldn’t have anticipated before. We’ve shared private messages, public jokes, life events, losses and celebrations. A few of our classmates have tragically died since that reunion three years ago, and we’ve collectively grieved, sent condolences, and reached out to friends who needed support. None of this would have happened without our connections on Facebook.
So yes, I’m addicted. Some days, the first thing I do is check the happenings on Facebook. I “Like” too many things, in an effort to say “I care, well done, this is nice.” I see things that I wouldn’t see if I was just out and about, because I’m “friends” with lots of people who I rarely share personal time with. Our friendship exist mostly on-line, and I’ve come to understand that and accept it. Some days I feel hurt, excited, included, excluded, touched, stimulated, motivated, befuddled by things on Facebook… Some days I hate Facebook and some days I love it. But the writing’s on the wall: My name is Dawn and I’m addicted to Facebook.
What do you think about Facebook? Are you an
addict fan too? Tell me what you like or dislike about Facebook; share your stories in the comment section. Check out Tales From the Motherland on Facebook and hit Like. It’s my goal to hit 400 likes there this year, and I’d love it if you support my TFTM Facebook goal. In addition, if you really do want to know each time I post, or what the song of the day is, you’ll get those on my TFTM Facebook page! If you like my posts, subscribe. I’m going for some big goals and you can help with that. I’m on Twitter. Follow me and be dazzled by my mostly lame witty and clever Tweets. If I don’t follow you back, send me a tweet reminder and I will. I often miss the cues, when new people join. I’m older, and slower that way.
© 2014 Please note, that content and images on this page are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland. If you care to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.
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