The Facebook Pitch

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I’m sick of Facebook.  To me, Facebook is nothing more than means of pitching to others the grand commercial of your life.  Think about it – each Facebook post or comment represents a short, concise portrayal (the hook) of your life (the product) told in such a way to make it sound so much more interesting and enjoyable than it really is (ie. to make everyone else feel like crap because their own lives suck – just like commercials).

No one posts comments like: “I think I may kill my three year old if she smears oatmeal into the cracks of the table one more time,” or, “Nothing happening in my life, same old crap, different collection agency calling and threatening litigation.”  Instead, we read posts and see photos that offer brief, idealistic glimpses into other people’s lives.  Posts like:  “Just sat down with a warm cup of Chai tea, a good book and a slice of fresh-baked bread.  Life is good!”  You almost expect to hear Beethoven playing in the background and can envision a Japanese-style room complete with Feng Shui orientation.

Nowhere does it mention the fresh-baked bread was a necessity because the husband gambled away this week’s grocery money, or the house is a disaster, the kids bickering constantly and the youngest’s nose is dripping fluorescent green snot like a spigot.  No, no, these precious details are kept on a need to know basis – and no one ever needs to know.

If even my life can sound interesting on Facebook, there is a problem.  And the friends!  Well, the amount of friends you have indicates how popular you are, the amount of posts on your wall and birthday wishes a reflection of how many people will show up at your funeral in the event of your untimely demise.  Never mind that half of the people listed as your “friends” are people you met briefly through work and will never speak to again in this life, while the other half are people you have since pissed off, forgotten about, or better still, the ones you keep there with the express intent of one-upping with your super-fabulous glamorous life.  No, there they are, their smiling, peaceful faces living proof that you are a happening, popular person.

My personal favourites are the people who post “life lessons” on their walls, things that strongly remind me of Deep Thoughts from Saturday Night Live.  Messages like: “we want to be free of unwanted feeling, but perhaps true freedom resides in our having no resistance to whatever feeling comes.”  Wh – what?!?  What does that even mean?  Or here’s another gem: “honouring the reality of our interdependence.”  I kid you not.  These are real posts, I couldn’t even make this stuff up. Meaningless drivel like this is designed to make others feel this person (whose posts are usually accompanied by some god-like photo lifted from google images of a rainbow or sunset) knows the secret of true happiness and is neglecting to share it with you.

When did people stop communicating with one another, when flaws and idiosyncrasies were treasured as valued parts of a whole?  When did we begin to condense our lives into snippets of words that tell nobody anything about who we really are but in which there is no risk of rejection or vulnerability?  People used to readily admit they were completely ignorant about the path to eternal happiness; this joined us together as in the search for buried treasure.   People used to talk to each other, not pitch to each other the story of their lives.

Now our flaws are hidden away and our lives polished up like rotten apples presented to the teacher we’ve always secretly loathed.  The truth is none of us know the secret to happiness, all our babies cry during the night (even though we told everyone little Andrew had been sleeping straight through since he was two weeks old).  But we’re safe. Oh, yes, we’re safe behind tiny little 1”x1” photos of the choicest moments selected from our dreary, boring lives, behind the 25 plus words we use to pitch our story to the world.

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