The first time I explored social media was in 2003. It was a time where the only version of what we are bombarded with daily today could be seen through chat room and MSN/Hotmail profile pages. In early 2005 I created my own profile on Myspace. I found it to be a fun way to share pictures and thoughts with my “friends” and that enjoyment carried over to Facebook in late 2005. We all get sucked in at one point, unfortunately. There was a time when I felt a minor thrill from finding a friend on Facebook that I had not seen since I was a child. There was no need to necessarily “catch-up” because all of the information we would ask each other could be found in our profile. What were they up to? Kids? Married? Dating anyone I know? job? Where did they end up going to college? When I was living in a dorm room, even more could be gained from social media (assuming I never did stupid things because I was obviously going to be tagged in photos) because I was given an abundance of photographs from so many different friends to keep with me as mementos for years to come.
In the last few years, all of the positive things about Facebook have seemed to become less and less and the negative things have weighed me down. I noticed that I read many status updates for the sole purpose of rolling my eyes. People on my friends list began to irritate me more and more. Even the people I would consider to be legitimate friends in life appeared obnoxious in their social media persona. I also noticed there seemed to be a separation of those with children and those without. As a 29 year-old with two children that consume a majority of my day, I often find the urge to post pictures of my children or share cute stories about what one of them may have said. The urge quickly dissipates when I think about some of the mothers on my friends list that insist on posting story after story of their children and appear to have lost opinions or interests beyond parenting. Since I am a mother myself, one that enjoys children in general, I can see why most of my childless friends on Facebook would roll their eyes at my updates if I am doing the same to fellow mothers.
Scrolling through a newsfeed a few times a day has become exhausting and seems to only occur out of habit. I also have noticed that people tend to either share two things; how wonderful their life is or how terrible their life is. It is understandable that people want to gloat or complain to a large group of people and social media makes such things possible. I finally had to quit, This morning I disabled my Facebook account. I am not an Instagram person, nor do I involve myself in the myriad of other social media outlets that I am clueless about. Distancing myself from such things may actually make me remember people fondly rather than despise them because they have a douchey Facebook persona.
Children and teenagers today have it rough because they are growing up in a world where the dumb things they do, say, and think about are permanently displayed and shared all over the internet. When I look at my old journal entries, complaining about whatever triviality a fourteen year-old complains about, I cringe and feel a sense of calm when I realize that I was the only one to ever know about these thoughts. Young people today must be careful in each movement they make. Orwell was not too far off when he wrote about Big Brother, but is not the government that is destroying our privacy, it is our peers. Anonymity appears to have become an archaic notion and sits among the likes of floppy disks and 8-track players.