I struggle to post anything on Facebook. Anything. I actually feel a little better for having said so.
I look after social media for some businesses as well as some pages for The Big Table, BT RunClub and our community garden. I’m not averse to engaging in social media nor stalking or commenting on the posts of others; the rules just change dramatically when it’s posting as/for me.
There are two main reasons for this. The ‘who cares?’ factor is primary.
Seriously, with 80% of what pops up on my news feed, who cares? Once I apply that rule to the meal I’m eating/person I’m seeing/holiday I’m having/race I’m running/blog I’ve written, I can talk myself out of pretty much any status update imaginable.
Well, not every status update. What I’ve realised is that while my ‘who cares?’ radar is acute, my ‘I-really-care-about-this’ radar is sometimes greater. When we gave birth to our younger daughter, Clover (I think Molly escaped the explosion of Facebook), I didn’t give a toss that you heard about it – I wanted everyone to know and posted her birth accordingly (pretty sure I did!).
When it comes to telling Fi how much I love her and how wonderful she is, though, I tend to use my words. You’re going to have to trust me that this happens because when I’m sitting in the same room as her, telling her via Facebook how much I love her or that she’s a great mother seems, um, a little weird.
Now, I know this may just be me because I see plenty of others who don’t struggle with this tension. Perhaps I’m overly simple but I figure that she’s right there so, hey, I’ll just tell her—it’s less convoluted that way. So, while I think it’s super that you’re besotted by the most wonderful man/woman in the word and love them to bits, who cares? Answer: you do – so go tell them!
I’ve realised that I have massive double-standards in these areas. Some people do Facebook really well and I enjoy and get huge laughs from the inane posts that spark a volley of witty comments from very funny and clever people. They probably don’t meet my ‘who cares?’ criteria so I’m really glad they’re not paralysed by my rules.
Funny thing is, I love seeing how your road trip is going or your kids are growing up, which anniversary you’re celebrating, or even where you’re having dinner tonight; it feels like a mini-link to your life and keeps me in its loop. (So, it turns out that, when it comes to ‘who cares?’ with my FB friends: I do!)
Others post links to interesting stuff: important issues, important truths, funny pranks, super-talented humans, heart-wrenching and inspirational gear. I feel richer for it. I’m glad they don’t stop themselves either.
That’s my first rule.
My second rule, which tends to catch most of the posts that don’t get caught by the ‘who cares?’ rule is the ‘don’t be a tosser’ rule.
Facebook is rife with folks refining the dark art of image crafting; letting you in on curated parts of their life so you can complete the remainder of the idyllic picture in your own time (and likely feel miserable for your imperfect life as you do so).
Given I’m not sure I can post much without being a tosser in the process, I don’t tend to poke the bear too often.
Recognising that those criteria left me sharing nothing with the folk I call ‘friends’ on Facebook, I challenged myself to post something, anything, with more frequency in 2015. I’m serious; it was a goal.
While not failing completely, I failed well enough. A quick tally-up shows that my bold efforts to inflict more of myself on an unsuspecting group of friends yielded a haul of 15 posts in 2015. If it had been a ’15 in 15′ goal, I would have totally nailed it (who cares? what a tosser!).
Here’s what I’m discovering about my criteria and my posting frequency: the reality is that I rarely post because I do care. I care too much. And while it may be a curious form of the art, my non-posting is an emphatic form of image crafting all the same. Pretty dumb.
I’m trying to write more in public spaces in 2016. You may have noticed. I’m not talking the anonymous spray-painting of kilometre markers on the foreshore footpath or the different places I ply my craft on a professional level, I’m talking ‘my name is Simon Elliott and I wrote this’-type writing.
I find this scary, vulnerable, shame-inducing, risky, humbling, adventurous and faithful. And I’m trying to do it all the same.
Truth is, I’d far rather that something I wrote was shared by others (so please do!) than shared by me. There’s far less risk involved, and you can always say ‘hey, they shared it, not me!’, I just didn’t delete it!
So, forgive me. Take some comfort that I generally don’t impose the same constraints on others as I do on myself. I think the Facebook world is a better place for (some of) the frivolity and gold that goes on despite my silly self-imposed rules.
Also, know that I’m a work in progress. I’m trying get braver with this stuff while understanding that people I know (by name and address) may likely think who cares?/what a tosser when I foist myself on them. I’m trying to do it all the same.
What I may have just written is a 971-word disclaimer for the annoyance I may inflict on a potentially dwindling group of Facebook friends each time I write something, but perhaps I’ll also kill off some of the pride that so badly needs to be crucified in the first place.
I doubt it will be that easy.
Thanks for listening.