"I hate you."
"OMG, where are you now?"
"Nice life, brat."
For the last two weeks, my husband and I have been traveling out of the country enjoying a trip that we have looked forward to for a long time. During the trip, I've been posting some pictures and some comments on Facebook of where we've been and what we've seen.
The messages that started this post were a few of the comments I received. I know most of them were meant to be sarcastic because only my family, where sarcasm is a dominate gene, and friends, whom if not connoisseurs of sarcasm don't last long, are my friends on Facebook. So I know they were just teasing... sort of... kind of... right?
Or are they nicely, with humor, trying to tell me something else? Does posting this kind of thing make me obnoxious? Is it offensive? Does it mean that I'm unfeeling or out of touch? Am I a show-off and just plain nasty?
Image: F Mira via Flickr
I have to admit, I'm never quite sure about Facebook rules of etiquette. I joined only because my son traveled to Australia for a semester abroad his junior year of college. The time change made it difficult to stay in touch, and Facebook became our lifeline. I don't know what I would have done without those posts and all of those pictures. Looking at them gave me context and peace of mind. I loved sharing the journey with him.
When my daughter went to Italy for her semester abroad, she lost her phone and refused to get a new one, leaving Facebook as our source of contact. Once again, I could keep track of her whereabouts, when she was last seen alive, and could follow along through her picture posts as she discovered Europe. It kept me sane. Does everyone remember the movie Taken? I was out of my mind most of the time she was away. Thank God for Facebook.
We all know the good and bad about social media. We can bully, inflict pain, and possibly even bring back the nightmares of middle school and high school when those people you'd hoped to never see again are suddenly front and center on your computer screen.
But it can also bring us closer, can reignite old friendships, can help us to keep in touch and share our lives with the people we care about. It can sell us, engage us and make us laugh. Through it, the world becomes a much smaller place.
So, when I was watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, I wanted my youngest son to see the tanks rolling by. I wanted to share the moment with him, so I snapped the shot and posted. When we were in Monte Carlo and they were setting up for the Grand Prix, I knew my older son would love to see the stands, the track and the yachts in the harbor and so, I snapped and posted. When we were in Paris, I wanted to show my daughter that I'd taken her dad to the exact spot on a bridge by Notre Dame where she and I had spent a wonderful evening a few years ago. When we were at the American Cemetery near Omaha Beach a few days before Memorial Day, I wanted all of my former military family members to see one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I'd ever been. I was in the moment and wanted to share the moment.
Maybe I should've taken the pictures and waited to get home to share them personally. Maybe not everyone is interested in seeing what I'm doing on my trip. Perhaps posting them was sort of like the famous saying on the t-shirt, "She went to Paris, and all I got was this damn t-shirt?" Maybe.
But here's the thing: I want to share in the joys and the difficulties in my friends' and family members' lives. I want to see the wedding pictures, the graduation pictures, and the special times. I want to know that your college grad just got a job. I want to see the new homes, the weekends at the beach with the new baby, the awesome seats you had for the game. When you buy that motorcycle you've been dying to own, I want to see it. If you win the race, I want to know. If you have succeeded or failed, I am interested. Duh, that's why I'm on Facebook.
(What I don't need to know is that your dog is no longer constipated, or that the wart on your nose finally got removed (amen), or that your mother's best friends' husband is in heart failure. However, for the rest of it? Bring it on. We all know what we signed up for when we joined.)
So, is there a line and, if so, did I cross it? I know there are truly obnoxious posts; you know, too, because we've all seen them. The ones with the picture of the margarita on the beach and the words, "Having the best day ever here in Mexico. Heard it's freezing back home. Soooo sorry!" Now that's just an a#$hole. But what if the post had the same picture and said, "Great day here in Mexico. Missing you guys." Is that obnoxious?
I think the issue may be that we are simply more comfortable when people only share their uncertainties, fears and the bad stuff. Maybe we are not really open to celebrating others' accomplishments and joys. Maybe we just don't want to hear it. We love to share our story, but want no part of celebrating someone else's.
Maybe what I need to do now is that when something bad happens, like the time they opened the pool and all the tile on one wall was off (today), or when I came downstairs and there was a huge pile of dog crap in my family room (last week), or when the brakes caught on fire in the car that my 19-year-old was driving (last summer), or when the kid whom shall remain nameless was detained at the concert (several years ago, thank God), I'll make sure to post it. Maybe a picture with plastic cuffs on would make it better? Or a perfect close up picture of the dog crap still steaming? How about one with the flames still leaping out of the SUV? The bill for the tile work on the pool? Will that work?
In the meantime, while I try to figure this all out, I will definitely think twice before posting pictures or comments that may be perceived as being obnoxious. Also, never wanting to offend, if I indeed did so, I apologize. But, that said, if I did, might I suggest that you unfriend me or block me or something?
Because there's no way I am going to keep cheering you and yours on, and liking all those posts and videos (can you cut the time down a bit by the way) of your kid scoring the winning goal, if you aren't going to say that my picture of Notre Dame was rockin. And if you are going to make snarky comments, I may just decide that green is not your color. Which, would then, of course, prove your point that I am indeed one selfish, obnoxious, unfeeling bitch.
So post away people. I want to see it. I want to hear it. And, if I am too obnoxious for you, too happy, too whatever, feel free to hit the "unfriend" button. I won't be offended, I swear.
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