February 20, 2009 | By | 4 Comments

Fakebook“People on the internet aren’t having as much fun as you think they are”. “I guess they’re just cropping out all the sadness”. -Portlandia

This was a recent Facebook note that I decided to put on this blog.  I’m still trying to figure out the enigmatic Facebook and how much and what type of information to provide.  I am more open on this blog.  I figure that if anyone wants to go this far out of their way to listen to what I have to say, I will do my best to give them something worth listening to.  It is my personal version of seek and you will find.  Anyway, here was the post:

I wrote something recently and briefly linked to it on Facebook. I took the link down after not being sure that it squared with what I was trying to do. After all, Facebook is a projection of yourself to the social public and I need to do my part in protecting that image. I am sure to be smiling in my photos and untag myself from pictures that are unflattering. Others use their status message to tell everyone how great their life is and how perfect their Valentine’s Day was or how many adventures they went on over the weekend. People seem to be having the time of their lives as exciting photos are posted of fun parties and celebrations and trips to far away places.

I’m not saying that this is bad or wrong. I don’t feel the need for you to see pictures of me when I was fat and I enjoy following what is going on with my friends. It is a good thing to rejoice with those who rejoice. At the same time, though, I wonder if the unbalanced projections can be hurtful. They might lead people to believe that they are the only ones having another miserable weekend or not having babies or not getting invited to the Christmas party or Wedding. As one Proverb puts it, singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound.

I am here to say that it is okay to admit that things aren’t always wonderful and life isn’t always fair. The good guys don’t always seem to come out on top and justice doesn’t always seem to prevail. It is okay and even healthy to allow yourself to feel and express sadness and sorrow and grief. I will also freely admit that the reason I know so much about Facebook is because I spend way too much time on Facebook. I also eat too many cookies, don’t always floss my teeth and wonder if it is a coincidence that our fingers were made to be the perfect shape to dig things out of our nose. My favorite status update recently was, “Brent is not doing much of anything right now”. Did you hear that? He is not climbing Mt. Everest or preparing for the next bodybuilding competition. He really isn’t doing anything. Thank you for keeping it real, Brent. As another Proverb puts it, an honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. I don’t want to kiss you, but I do find updates like this refreshing.

And sometimes I wonder if the ones who work to project the most happiness are the ones hurting the most. Perhaps on the other side of that cruising bathing suit beauty is a heartbroken girl who has only felt loved for her body and is weeping on the bathroom floor after having once again done what she promised to never repeat in order to hold on to the only thing that makes her feel good. Someone needs to see through the plastic smile and be there to properly care for that girl. I’m not saying this is always the case and I don’t say this to make her less beautiful. I say it to make her equally in need of love.

Perhaps his real status message would read, “Larry caught his wife cheating on him and drinks too much to ease the pain and maxed out his last credit card and abhors his job and is hurting so badly he wouldn’t mind getting hit by a bus”. To tell you the truth, stories like these are common and make me incredibly sad. If anybody truly knew and experienced all that another person has been through, how could they not be moved with compassion?

There is certainly such a thing as providing too much information and I’m not saying that it’s a good idea to spill your guts to the world. Honestly, part of the reason I took the link down is because I’m not exactly sure where the line is. But, I try to be open because I want others to feel comfortable coming to me with whatever struggles they may have. You might come to see that I’m more like you than you realize and I might come to see that you’re more like me than I realize. We could drop our guards together and get to know and perhaps even love and care for each other in a deeper and richer way. Instead of trying to demonstrate that I have a better life than you, I could help you to have a better life. You might even do the same for me. As one author put it, there is no victory for one of us unless there is victory for all us. And, somewhere in the process of becoming facebook friends in what is closer to “real” life, we just might find a little more of the happiness so many are so desperately trying to project.

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Category: Gallery, Musings

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  1. The Church of Facebook by Jesse Rice | Leaving a Mark | January 22, 2010
  1. Julia says:

    Amen! That’s a good word, Mark.

  2. Ryan says:

    So I’ve been going through the same thought process. However, you are much better at articulating this than I am. How much is too much? As more and more of communication is created via the internet, when and where is the line drawn??

  3. Jana says:

    if this were facebook…i would have given this a “thumbs up”

    enjoyed this one marcus

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