Why Ice buckets are fine by me- but maybe facebook isn't

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Facebook has been inundated with ice-bucket drenching in support of ALS. I think it's refreshing to see my newsfeed have a more macro-focus than micro-focus.

In recent years (arguably since the dramatic "timeline" transformation), I've seen an incredible shift on facebook from communication with one another (remember looking at Wall-to-Wall's?) to unbridled self-promotion. Quite often, my newsfeed reads like this: Look at me! I got a job! I got a 4.0! I got engaged! Look at my new shoes! I got married! I had a kid! I got a dog! My kid got a 4.0! I lost weight! Look at me!

Thanks a lot, "like" button. I'm looking at you, Zuckerberg.

I'm not just pointing fingers at others; I make posts like this, too.

I also sincerely enjoy staying up-to-date with friends' accomplishments, and wishing them congratulations for every milestone along the way. I have some awesome friends! Many who live too far away - who I wouldn't keep in touch with if not for social media. Thanks, Zuckerberg!

It's just, at what point are we taking our individual, personal, messy lives and marketing each moment? Transforming each instant into a picture-perfect, cleverly captioned (and hashtagged!) blip -- desperately seeking the most possible "likes."

Sometimes I feel like scrolling through my newsfeed is like watching individual self-made highlight reels. 

Ask any athlete, any player and any team can look good in a highlight reel. My junior year, my Bucknell basketball team was 7-21 (still love you guys!), but if you only watched our highlight reel, you would have thought we were NCAA-tournament bound. We weren't.

But we looked good doing it, amirite?

We decidedly did NOT shoot 100% from the floor that year - but you couldn't tell from watching the highlights. Did every single one of my facebook friends just have the most amazing weekend ever? Really?! Anyone else have a weekend full of laundry and catching up on sleep? Just me? Is everyone else I know feeling blessed and happy and ecstatic and surrounded by loved ones? Nobody is even slightly anxious? A little discontent with their current situation? Feeling a little let down by the people around them?

At what point is "filtering" our lives down to likeable flashes inauthentic? Ten years from now, are you going to look back at a really hard month in your life and think to yourself, "Wow, during that entire period, I posted nothing but duck-face selfies and pictures of my manicures."

I obviously think you should have some type of filter for what you post--for example, you shouldn't post things that could hurt other people, and some private aspects of your life are better left out of a public forum.

But you also don't have to have a picture-perfect timeline. You can have a fun, fulfilling weekend without documenting it online. You can post about things bigger than your own achievements and find balance. You can be happy, with or without "likes."

I worry for the kids spending their formative years growing up in this social media age of constant comparison - as Teddy put it:

{source: pinterest}

So, hate all you want about the ALS Ice Bucket challenge - but, for me, it's pleasant to see people post about causes - things bigger than their own little lives - in a public forum. Not to mention ALS is a horrible, debilitating, disease (watch this video if you haven't already - I find it promising over 14 million people already have.)

I was nominated for the ice bucket challenge opted to donate. First off, I rather bathe in a pool of spiders than post a video of myself online. I can't even listen to my own voice mail without cringing. Is that really how I sound? Eek.

More importantly, it's a wonderful cause. If there's any bandwagon I want my newsfeed to jump on, it's the "let's help cure a terrible disease" bandwagon instead of the "#selfiesaturday" bandwagon. Let's just hope we can stay off the "incoherent political rant" bandwagon for a little while longer.

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