Was life better before Facebook? Possibly. I never saw what you were having for lunch, or the amusing thing your cat did.
On the other hand, I do like being in regular touch with distant relatives and friends.
Last year, a couple of people commented on how idyllic my life sometimes looks on Facebook – the family walks, meals together, and smiley selfies etc.
To be honest, my life is just like most other people’s life – happy bits, sad bits, boring bits, cooking dinner, putting the bins out, paying bills, blah blah…
Some people’s life does look idyllic on Facebook and maybe it makes us jealous. But we really need to understand what Facebook is.
Facebook is mostly spin.
Just as the Blair government made an art form of spinning negative political news to make it look like something positive, so people are doing a sort of life spin on Facebook. We show only the best bits, the happy positive bits. There’s no intention to deceive. Just to show ourselves in the best light.
I tend to post happy family times because it’s something positive. I don’t post about arguments, or the time I had to go to the eye hospital and was quite scared about my eyesight, or when I get a letter with bad news, or times when I feel hurt, and a whole load of other stuff that would make me look bad, irritating or boring – even though I can be all of those things!
Facebook seems to be split into two types of people – the angry people who rage about something new everyday, in a way they never would if they were talking to the person face to face, and normal people – those who mostly post simple moments that made them smile or think.
There is possibly a third group – the show offs – those playing the ‘keep up with the Joneses’ game of look-at-what-we-just-bought-that-you-haven’t-got.
I tend to block the angry people and the show-offs.
The problem is, if you think what people post on Facebook is their whole real life, you may become depressed that, by comparison, your life seems boring.
Here’s the thing. Everyone’s life is boring or mundane a lot of the time. We have to make our own joy.
A few years ago our family moved from buying mostly material gifts at birthdays and Christmas, and started giving ‘moments’ instead.
We went to see the Chinese State Circus when they came to town. We booked into a Jazz Breakfast. We hired a boat for the day and cruised down the river in Norfolk, for a picnic. What were we doing? Making memories.
Good stuff rarely just happens. You have to organise some stuff to create memories. Sometimes it can all go wrong, but the memory of it all going wrong can still be a funny memory.
Facebook isn’t real life. It’s a million tiny snapshots of what’s in people’s heads at a certain moment of their day.
If you want more happiness in your life do two things:
- Don’t think Facebook ever tells you much more than a bit of spin.
- Organise your own spontaneity! Plan some stuff. Make some memories of your own.
And perhaps it is time to write down the dreams you have for your own life. Then go and make the dream come true. And, when it does, tell us, on Facebook!