I am an unabashed Facebook fan. It’s great for connecting, news, discussion, humor, music and a whole bag full of things. But for all it’s positives, there is one thing about Facebook that truly bothers me. It’s something we are all responsible for and it is worth pointing out:
Facebook turns us into caricatures of ourselves.
When you read my posts, I promise you are getting a part of me that is real. I stand behind everything I post from the serious to the not so serious. But it’s only a part of who I am. You aren’t getting the full picture. There are entire portions of my life I simply leave off of Facebook entirely. It’s real life stuff that my friends and family offline get, but no one will fully get online.
You don’t see me post about my job at all. Ever. I have my reasons and they are good ones. Many of you probably don’t even know where I work or what I do but it’s a big part of my life. I love what I do and take great pride in knowing my job is important to not just my employer, but also to our community.
I post about my wife from time to time but on Facebook you don’t get to see our relationship when no one is looking. You don’t get to feel the depth of what we feel for one another or share in it. You don’t get to see us out on our treasure hunts or how much we enjoy one another’s company. It’s a huge part of who I am that you will only glimpse if you know me and interact with me in real life.
I’m a Dad and I love my kids something fierce. Some of that comes through on Facebook, but again, unless you spend some time with us, you are never going to fully see me as a father who would do anything for them and would lay down his life for them. You don’t see the tender and quiet moments on our front porch, or the times we are singing and cutting up in the car. You don't see us cry together when things are tough or laugh when we are being silly.
I have some of the greatest friends in the world. They love me in spite of myself. And oh the good times we all have. Unless you are there, it’s just something you don’t know about. We love opening our home to people and do it as often as is possible.
And even though there are little pieces of all these things on my wall, many people will hone in on only the things that I feel strongly about. And I am ok with that. I put it out there and it’s the lion’s share of my posts. I am proud of the things I stand for and won’t quit. But let this be known: I will not make things personal with anyone and there is not one ounce of hate in me for another human being.
Just because I disagree with ideas and attitudes or think that collectively we have some major problems that need solving, does not mean that I single out anyone and hate them. I’ve actually been asked why I continue to put up with some people and let them continue with the things say and the way they act on my posts and in my inbox. It’s because I don’t have any ill will towards anyone. To have those feelings is a waste of energy. Even when I give up on a person and cut them loose, I wish them the best and it was just better for me (and them) that we part ways.
So maybe just maybe, we should cut each other a break now and again and remember this online life is only a fraction of who we all are. Sometimes we will get to the point with some people where it’s just healthy to move along. But until we reach that point with them, and even after, it’s good to remember we are all human. We are all someone’s spouse, parent, sibling, son or daughter or friend. We live in the real world and are more than our Facebook caricature.