People dig the honesty. They well up at their computers. They support you fiercely with a "thumbs up."
Just below those gritty statuses comes the powerful quotes. People can't resist them. They "like" to say "Here, here! Thanks for glittering my webs with positivity." People always approve of the status that gives them the vacation away from the person who uses Facebook as a diary to welp about bad service at TGIF and traffic jams.
Good news will herd in all the friends you forgot to unfriend two years ago. And selfies... don't. Please. One per month if we must.
A "like" means Yes. I approve. Okay. Sure. Good quote! I'm sorry. That truly stinks. You go girl. Hoot rah. Better luck next time. The definition morphs like the skinnier skins of a chameleon on adrenaline, depending, of course, on what kind of verbs & nouns you hitch it beside.
I am almost embarrassed to unearth this Facebook Status Science that I've discovered in the last year or so. I blame it on the fact that I've always geeked out over social norms via social networks and I am a closeted sociology nerd who has yet to use her degree.
I am lost in admitting the harder truths: we've gone an extra step in sacrificing privacy to pedestal our own lives. We've pulled ourselves from moments, more sacred than we'll ever know in this little lifetime, to arrange the coffee cups and share our presence at the indy bookstore with the world. We've fragmented our lives and boiled down each other's feelings through likes & pokes & retweets & favorites.
Jeepers, I just wanna tell you this in my little corner of the internet: There has been nothing so glamorous about today. About eating cake because I have no groceries. And getting ice off the car with a tea kettle and shovel because it is lethally cold in these parts of the world and I am inept when it comes to actual "real people practical stuff".
I love social media and how it cranks up our world but I still crave the moments that are for keeps. The conversations I know won't translate straight into sound bites and book content. The moments when phones buzz from inside our heavy coats and we don't even hear them. Because, yes, your pupils look that dang pretty and I was never very good at taking my eyes off of you.
I crave the people who know me enough to ask me about my day. I need that. I really need that. Otherwise, you go for days & days only talking about work and the weather. And maybe a Kardashian. And you forget that there are actual bodies, actual souls with feelings, that have always validated your existence in this world with their unfailing love & presence. It was never about numbers or platforms for them.
I am afraid of becoming a performer.
Afraid that the beauty of networking through social will streamline into a desperate need for approval by others, all of us governed by a "like" button that has become more of a "yes, life. well. done." button.
I lose a little faith and then my mom walks in the room. She tells me she is headed for drumming circle tonight to drum in the New Year while I am scrambling to schedule the tweets so I can see girlfriends tonight. And laugh a little. And remember to be 24 a little.
But my mama, she wears red flip flops in the winter and never fails to carry a kazoo. And she doesn't believe in technology. Or punctuation. (Off, sorry mama.) And I have to be so envious that she has learnt to grow old without the unnecessary pressure of people who don't matter.
My mama asks me how I'm doing. She's never liked a status and yet she's loved me deeply in an always sort of way. And her world is not cluttered by strangers and kids we all met in middle school who still take to "liking" our sepia-toned photos of wine and Thai food.
And, when she asks me what all this social media stuff means, I tell her true.
"It doesn't mean anything. When it comes to real life, and real problems, the ones who care will call. Or text. Or find a way to extend beyond 140 characters to rise up and meet you at eye level. They press into you until you speak."
And you have to be really careful with those folks. You have to make sure that you don't get so sucked into performing that you forget the reliable ones. The good ones. The ones who stood by before we ever determined that 600 followers was a very good thing.
And. I've. Grown. Tired. Of the mindset that I must shine for the world through perfect glimpses of cropped images & fragmented dialogue that I pulled from a girls' night on Tuesday. I want to be more human than that. i want to toast to a reality that ain't so poetic or an actual status that is true for today:
I didn't buy any groceries yet. I should have gotten them last week. My hair is a bundled mess and, left unkempt by a comb for more than three days, it will dread. I didn't feel comfortable in my jeans this morning so I opted for a dress. And red lipstick. And rain boots that shine. Because I feel like rain boots should never be designated for days with just puddles; They is just too fun not wear on a perfect little Thursday where the sun breaks through the clouds in all the right spaces. My dishes are dirty. My laundry is crying and weeping on the floor. My inbox looks like no one has ever loved it before. And I realized just yesterday how people can break your heart just by staying who they are.