Monday, May 14, 2012
The lure of Facebook is the connectedness--the feeling like you are part of something larger than yourself, but within which you are somehow more free to be yourself. Or so it would seem.
I find myself wanting to "please" the Borg...to present an offering worthy of attention. For this, there are really only three choices: say something witty, say something profound, or say something "universal," i.e., something with which everyone can agree. Of course, there is the newsfeed element, in which we post our major events, our comings and goings, to the public square. But that's its more mundane function. What it really demands of us other than news content is the service of the meme...the ongoing conversation...by contributing little tiny bits of our identity.
I don't post to it nearly as much as many of my friends do...I chime in on far more conversations than I start. And one of the main reasons is the aforesaid pressure to "perform." To create something worthy of the attention of the multitude. The other reason is because the things I really WANT to say...the things I really FEEL, are far too important to be trivialized by broadcasting them to many who are undeserving of my innermost thoughts. The madding crowd both giveth and taketh away...we simultaneously want to please them, to let them all know how witty and profound we can be, while also resenting and fearing the exposure. Facebook is a paradox: it promises a sense of intimacy while providing the cloak of safety in numbers.
There are moments when I am in such need of...something...validation? sympathy?...that I am compelled to open Facebook and compose a status update that reaches out to that universe, seeking a "like" or a comment...the answering back that says, "I hear you...you exist...and I understand you." But I can't seem to say the words, most of the time. Because the words I really want to say are too much...too overwrought...too revealing...too intimate or scary, to say in that forum. So I remain silent. But the lure of it is still overwhelming.