A to Z Challenge
I was pretty late to the social media/networking thing. I didn’t join Myspace until 2009. I think I gained a total of 5 friends. I didn’t feel comfortable sending friend requests to people I’ve never seen outside of work or since graduation in 2001. It felt odd to me and I couldn’t fully grasp the concept of it all. And what if no one remembered me? Could you imagine the horror of finding out that after moving across country at 15 everyone you knew literally forgot about you? I was so afraid of discovering I was a bigger nobody than I remembered that I didn’t send any requests except to people I knew from work and only those I actually talked to.
One of these 5 people eventually suggested Facebook which was much simpler but so plain it was confusing. Everything was blank. There was no ticker, few ads, and I think there was even less blue in the theme. I didn’t touch it for months after opening the account. I stopped bothering with Myspace after connecting with a friend who had over 600 friends. I felt really small and embarrassed, like I was less of a person or something. As if this guy didn’t know me in real life, I felt like him spotting my single digit friends list would make him not want to socialize with me anymore. So I only spoke to him offline, like everyone else in my life at that time. Already I was feeling the pressure of keeping an appearance of a lifestyle that didn’t represent me. I was not keen on pushing forward with this.
It didn’t take long to discover I really enjoyed sharing pictures of my son on Facebook. He’s incredibly photogenic, unlike his momma, and I don’t think I would have as many pictures of him from then if I had no social network to post them to. I started going through what I assume is the same progression as everyone else. One random post gets more than a few likes, you notice one new friend knows pretty much everyone you forgot you knew and from there your need to expand your presence online grows greedily, overtaking quite a bit of your personal space.
I had my awakening during the 2012 elections. I was never into politics before my brain injury but after…it’s all I thought about. It started with pro Romney and not-exactly-anti-Obama posts. I got a bunch of likes, whatever; except for this one woman who countered my every post with a link, a quote, a concise argument or a simple question. I read her links, thought her questions and arguments through and began researching both sides. I “lost” a lot of “friends” after that. At first I was upset because I didn’t think I was being annoying. I posted the same amount as before except it was no longer about movies, celeb gossip or whatever pointless nonsense you can think of.
Quality over quantity
I actually had a moment where I contemplated what I was doing on Facebook. Why was I losing “friends?” I didn’t factor in that most of these people weren’t people I knew. We added each other as neighbors for Farmville and other obsessive games; this actually makes my consideration of the content of my posts versus the number of my friends list that much worse. Could I name any of these people? Absolutely not. The brain injury altered my interests; I couldn’t tell you who were my neighbors because I stopped playing the games. I only noticed numbers lowering, not names disappearing.
I “lost” over 100 “friends” because of [what I assume was the cause] my growing interest in politics showing through my posts. I “toned it down” and everything stabilized. I felt like the fewer friends I had, the less important I was so it was “best” to keep my posts in line with what others wanted. But things had already changed for me. I still wasn’t interested in making fun of Bieber, acting like the LGBT community wasn’t fighting for much deserved rights, or distracting myself with pointless quizzes comparing me to food.
I started to look at Facebook as something different. I no longer felt comfortable sharing pictures of my son, especially after having JJ. It felt too personal. I deleted all of my pictures. I felt it was no one’s business and they had no right to pry just like I had no right to post the photos in the first place. Memories are meant to be shared but we share them in such large amounts and with such frequency that they lose their precious and endearing value with their constant exposure. We hold nothing close anymore.
I came to the conclusion that I don’t care how many followers I do or don’t have and I certainly don’t care how many you have. At times I experience jealousy when I compare numbers but I remind myself that I am not capable of entertaining an audience all day, every day. I don’t have the patience nor the tenacity to remain consistent for entertaining purposes. Also, I’m much too selfish for such an investment of time and energy. I stopped caring if people “like” my posts. I don’t need a number to tell me how relevant I am. Instead of inviting people I don’t want into my private life, I’ve decided to invite them to indulge in perspective. It’s their choice but how will people know there’s more than Beyonce’s Lemonade going on in this world if all they see is one article after the other questioning the meaning of it and her marriage and not one article on the fact that North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill” is about more than transgenders not using their cisgender restrooms; Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. William Barber II:
[…] if you read Section 2 and Section 3, it also takes away the right of municipalities to increase the minimum wage […]
Instead of The Bathroom Bill, call it The Anti worker, Anti-Living wage, Anti-Family, Anti-Women, Anti-Civil Rights, Anti-Gay, Anti-Transgender Bill.
GOP lawmakers hoped we’d focus on the bathroom controversy, and not read Sec 2 and Sec. 3 which prohibit city governments such as Charlotte’s and Greensboro’s from requiring contractors to pay a living wage and afford workers with vacation sick leave.
It also takes away the ability to file employment discrimination suits in in state court.