A good friend of mine and I were talking yesterday about how Facebook drains the energy out of us and yet we can’t seem to stop scrolling down the feed for hours in hopes of getting news from anyone. Well most of the time, all I get to see are statuses of acquaintances — some I’ve only met once or twice in my life — about their problematic love life, how much they hate going to school, how stupid the government is, and whatnot. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not here to tell people to stop posting for all the world to see whatever it is they feel like sharing. After all, we all have our own accounts to manage and, needless to say, this is a free country. That actually goes for Twitter and other social networking sites as well. However, based from what I’ve experienced yesterday, I don’t think these sites can really ever match up with the feeling of meeting your friend face-to-face or striking a conversation with them without the eyes of the world prying on your every reply.
Yesterday we had a despedida lunch date for one of my college friends who’s going to Germany for internship. We spent half of our afternoon talking and updating one another about the happenings in our lives and how we are all thrilled and anxious of what’s yet to come. It was just a simple date (in fact there were only three of us) but it was priceless. Of course, we learned the news of her internship through Facebook. But the lunch date filled the things in-between which FB failed to cover. There were lots of laughter, funny queer remarks, crazy stories, and even self-ridicule.
I think for the most part, we tend to be overly self-conscious when we’re interacting through social media. Knowing that the whole world is looking at us, we try to choose the right words to say to earn the most “likes” or “favorites” and to appear more self-righteous than we actually are. While it is a good way of trying to become more “responsible” especially when airing an opinion about a sensitive issue, I don’t think the same method would work well if you’re trying to make a relationship work.
At least for me, it doesn’t. From time to time I crave for some real conversation with friends and whenever I post something on FB or Twitter which garners a reply, I find myself struggling on my next sentence because I know I would literally be answering to the whole world. There were a lot of times that I felt like cursing or saying mean things but always find myself stopping midway because I know a lot of people won’t like it, particularly my relatives, professors, and possible future employers who have Facebook and Twitter accounts. (Though it’s a different thing to openly express hatred to someone or something and you know a lot of people will back you up, case in point example, the newly-elect senators of the country. But then again, it’s still a form of self-preservation on your part.)
And the question is, do I really have to be ‘that’ reserved when it comes to my friends? Doesn’t it make me someone less than who I really am?
See that’s the thing. These social networking sites put everyone in one place — friends, family, colleagues, enemies, strangers, so much so that it becomes a struggle to come up with a reply to a certain simple comment that would make you look good to all these different people. It’s as if all arrows are suddenly pointed at you and you now have to make yourself more interesting, more self-righteous, more…likable. If you’re operating in five different social sites, it gets REALLY tiring…toxic, even. Like a part of you dies everytime.
With that said, I’d like to stay away from FB as much as possible. It seriously consumes my time and energy so much looking at different posts when all I ever want to have is a real conversation with a friend. As for my Twitter, I would be more active in it compared to FB, but I would definitely tweet less. I won’t deactivate them because I might still want to talk to the world from time to time — of course, in a less affectionate and impersonal way.
As for my friends, well if you don’t mind, I’d like to be more old-fashioned. I miss being with you guys and I miss being myself when I’m with you. E-mail, phone call, SNAIL MAIL whatever as long as we don’t have to mind if someone’s looking. Text and chat are good too, but they almost always end in awkward silence — one end waiting for the other who clearly doesn’t know the best reply to ‘:)’. Hit me up for a cup of coffee or a movie or a simple walk in the park and I would gladly meet you even if you’re halfway around the world.
They don’t have to be as frequent as everyday. They can even go as few as once a month. The point here is, we’ll have our own private little world where we can talk and be ourselves as we watch the bigger one pass by without caring what it has to say. By all means, we could use that as our escape when things get rough. It would require more effort but the reward would surely be more fulfilling. You get the idea.
So say let’s forget the social media and bridge the gap ourselves, shall we?