… But I’m also probably not going to change, says Denise Li.
When you work with digital and social media as much as we do at Material World, you’re pretty sensitive to articles about the effect that Facebook and Instagram on its users, as well as the articles with headlines such as “The 10 Most Annoying People on Facebook”.
Thanks to the fact that I’ve read tons of these articles, I am now unable to deny awareness of my multiple social media sins, sins such as …
1. Posting my holiday snaps (These can elicit feelings of envy in some of my friends)
2. Posting mushy relationship-related status updates (To my defence, I only do this on occasion and I’m in an LDR after all …)
3. Using a couple pic as my profile pic (see above)
4. Posting status updates about how happy and contented I am with my life (it’s usually a result of fitness-induced euphoria)
To name a few.
Yesterday, I came across yet another blog/op-ed about the issue (read it here). The author thinks “A Facebook status is annoying if it primarily serves the author and does nothing positive for anyone reading it”. By this, the author probably means that unless I’m sharing links to other interesting articles, I’m really not doing my Facebook friends a service at all.
The Facebook Timeline is a funny thing … on the one hand, it occupies the territory of both personal and public space. Public in that whatever you post is up for consumption by others, but at the same time, I think its “personal-ness” should be acknowledged and respected.
What do I mean by this? Well firstly, I don’t post up pictures of my holiday with the primary intent of eliciting feelings of jealousy. I do it because it is a convenient place to collect photos I’ve taken to remember my memorable trips. I’ve changed a couple of laptops over the years, but I’m happy that I can still browse through pictures of a solo backpacking trip I took in 2007, and the trip where I met Alain in 2010.
I am currently doing the same with an album I started on Facebook a couple of weeks ago titled “Bruges 2014” (to commemorate my trip to Europe), and despite my acute awareness that I may be pissing some people off by doing so, I will continue to upload pictures to the album. Some of you might think I’m guilty of “curating my life” or “trying to show my ‘perfect life’ to everyone”.
But here’s the thing: I am not in control of what other people think or feel, and unless I post up racist or otherwise bigoted remarks on Facebook, I honestly don’t think I’m doing anything wrong.
When a Facebook friend posts a status update proclaiming how happy she is with her life, I am genuinely happy for her. After all, isn’t it frequently said that one of the keys to happiness is showing gratitude? Begrudging someone who shows her contentment on a public sphere is just grinch-y and mean-spirited. If you take issue with it, then I’m sorry to say that you – and not your Facebook friend – are the problem. If it bothers you so much, there are a few simply solutions: (1) scroll down (2) hide the person’s updates from your Newsfeed, or (3) unfriend the person. But perhaps it might be beneficial for you to do a little soul-searching and start examining why someone else’s happiness annoys you so much.
It’s your prerogative to post what you want on social media (stopping short of it being racist or homophobic of course, because there is such a thing as responsible speech), and while I may not be appreciative or care for every post, I will defend your right to post it.
About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys training in MMA, and doing conditioning workouts. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets and Instagram @smackeral83.
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