Do you Facebook? If the answer is yes, how much thought do you put into a post before you hit the SEND button?
I read a book recently that discussed how people--especially teenagers--use Facebook to craft a carefully vetted persona. The person representing them on FB is just that--a representation, usually of who they wish they were versus the real thing. They use great care when listing what bands they like, who they saw at the local hang-out, or what they're doing while on vacation. There's also a lot of plotting that goes into whose wall they post on or who they mention in a post and don't even get me started on the pictures. It's amazing how there's not one bad picture of any of us floating out there on Facebook. If there is, we untag that puppy faster than you can say, "Unlike."
I was discussing this phenomena with my friend Trisha and we agreed that not only do adults do the exact same thing, but that we're both guilty of it. Take, for example, a recent post of mine from when I was vacationing with Trisha at Kiawah Island:
6-mile run on the island. Now off to sleep on the beach. Wake me when it's time for cocktails!
Frankly, I could give a rip less about cocktails and I believe that day we went to the pool instead of the beach because we were sick of dealing with the sand. But it's a way of saying look how much fun I'm having! Look how great my life is! Aren't you envious? And did I mention that I KICK-ASS by running while I'm on vacation???
So, to fight the trend, Trisha and I decided to establish the 7-day Facebook Honesty Campaign. In it, Facebooker's are challenged to post only non-braggy, true-to-life posts of what's actually happening in their worlds. Sample posts may look something like:
Had gas in today's meeting. I acted like it was the guy next to me. I think they bought it.
That damn breast hair is back.
Drove home last night after too many drinks. No cops. Whew! Dodged that bullet.
At what point in a new relationship is it appropriate to mention you're actually married?
Re-reading "Twilight" for the 20th time.
Okay, so we see why this may not actually work. It's TMI and there's a good chance if you post that you're playing Angry Birds instead of working that you may get fired.
But at least mentally, ask yourself the next time you go to post on FB -- does this post represent the real me? Or am I spicing it up a bit--hoping to appear wittier, smarter, more desirable, more outgoing, more in-demand, etc. than maybe I really am?
So play along with me. If you were to REALLY post what's going on in your life--the boring, the mundane, the insecurities--what would it look like? Leave a sample post below.
If you dare.