Blogger: Wendy Lawton
I’ve had more than one local friend mention how wonderful my life seems to be. I always chuckle and say, “Oh, that’s just my Facebook life, edited for consumption by strangers.”
Then this week one of my Facebook friends posted a link to this blog post about Facebragging. Gulp! It sort of pulled me up short. When all we hit are the high points, is that a different kind of lie?
Here’s what I’ve always thought:
- Since Facebook is so public I’ve applied my mother’s long-ago note writing advice: Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want to find posted on a bulletin board at school.
- I’m uncomfortable when people share intimate or too-personal details on Facebook. (But maybe that’s just my own reserve.)
- I’ve told my clients to be ever-so-careful about what they post on public forums because, as authors, they are public figures. Everything they post becomes part and parcel of some ever-growing bio.
- I see Facebook as one more brand-building exercise, not as something akin to the confessional.
- So, in practice, I’ve always been aware of who may be reading what I’ve written and what kind of professional image I project.
But. . . after reading the blog on Facebragging and reading another article about the depression suffered by many millennials because of comparing their less-than-fulfilled lives to the Facebook lives of their peers. . . well, I’m wondering if we are doing this right.
Here are some of the questions I’m mulling:
- How does one post a more balanced picture when we know it’s a public forum? There is no way to know that our myriad Facebook “friends” can be trusted.
- If we were to become more transparent, what does it do to our public persona? Do I really want to know about the marital struggles of my favorite author?
- I’ve been convicted lately about the dangers of grumbling. (Read Jesus Calling, October 9th.) If we add all the grumbles of our life to our Facebook page, does that defeat our goal to live above the fray?
- Many of the struggles in my life are not mine to share. A lot of us may seem to have perfect families, perfect marriages, perfect jobs, perfect vacations, etc., when it’s just that the bad stuff is confidential.
- I’ve tried to be balanced in my Facebook posts– some personal, some helpful (sharing links, etc.) and some professional (talking about my work and my clients). Being transparent about some of the things dogging me and sharing some of my deepest struggles feels way too risky to me and would throw the balance off.
- But in letting my natural reserve inform my Facebook content, am I in danger of Facebragging?
So today, I don’t have any answers for you. *Surprise!* I just want to hear what you think.
Is there an inherent danger in creating a fantasy online image? Is there a greater danger in letting it all hang out? Should we stop pretending we know a person via social media and accept the fact that our social media content is more akin to a cheery greeting card than a long, honest letter?
I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.
Is Facebook a safe place to tell all? Click to Tweet
Perfect garden, gorgeous kids, great recipes. . . is our Facebook life pure fiction? Click to Tweet
How can we strike an honest balance in social media? Click to Tweet