Are My Facebook Posts Obnoxious?
"I hate you."
"OMG, where are you now?"
"Nice life, brat."
For the last two weeks, my husband and I have been traveling out of the country enjoying a trip that we have looked forward to for a long time. During the trip, I've been posting some pictures and some comments on Facebook of where we've been and what we've seen.
The messages that started this post were a few of the comments I received. I know most of them were meant to be sarcastic because only my family, where sarcasm is a dominate gene, and friends, whom if not connoisseurs of sarcasm don't last long, are my friends on Facebook. So I know they were just teasing... sort of... kind of... right?
Or are they nicely, with humor, trying to tell me something else? Does posting this kind of thing make me obnoxious? Is it offensive? Does it mean that I'm unfeeling or out of touch? Am I a show-off and just plain nasty?
I have to admit, I'm never quite sure about Facebook rules of etiquette. I joined only because my son traveled to Australia for a semester abroad his junior year of college. The time change made it difficult to stay in touch, and Facebook became our lifeline. I don't know what I would have done without those posts and all of those pictures. Looking at them gave me context and peace of mind. I loved sharing the journey with him.
When my daughter went to Italy for her semester abroad, she lost her phone and refused to get a new one, leaving Facebook as our source of contact. Once again, I could keep track of her whereabouts, when she was last seen alive, and could follow along through her picture posts as she discovered Europe. It kept me sane. Does everyone remember the movie Taken? I was out of my mind most of the time she was away. Thank God for Facebook.
We all know the good and bad about social media. We can bully, inflict pain, and possibly even bring back the nightmares of middle school and high school when those people you'd hoped to never see again are suddenly front and center on your computer screen.
But it can also bring us closer, can reignite old friendships, can help us to keep in touch and share our lives with the people we care about. It can sell us, engage us and make us laugh. Through it, the world becomes a much smaller place.
So, when I was watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, I wanted my youngest son to see the tanks rolling by. I wanted to share the moment with him, so I snapped the shot and posted. When we were in Monte Carlo and they were setting up for the Grand Prix, I knew my older son would love to see the stands, the track and the yachts in the harbor and so, I snapped and posted. When we were in Paris, I wanted to show my daughter that I'd taken her dad to the exact spot on a bridge by Notre Dame where she and I had spent a wonderful evening a few years ago. When we were at the American Cemetery near Omaha Beach a few days before Memorial Day, I wanted all of my former military family members to see one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I'd ever been. I was in the moment and wanted to share the moment.
Maybe I should've taken the pictures and waited to get home to share them personally. Maybe not everyone is interested in seeing what I'm doing on my trip. Perhaps posting them was sort of like the famous saying on the t-shirt, "She went to Paris, and all I got was this damn t-shirt?" Maybe.
But here's the thing: I want to share in the joys and the difficulties in my friends' and family members' lives. I want to see the wedding pictures, the graduation pictures, and the special times. I want to know that your college grad just got a job. I want to see the new homes, the weekends at the beach with the new baby, the awesome seats you had for the game. When you buy that motorcycle you've been dying to own, I want to see it. If you win the race, I want to know. If you have succeeded or failed, I am interested. Duh, that's why I'm on Facebook.