Monday, June 17, 2013

Fearbook and The Pit of Insta-Despair

Facebook puzzle head

June was supposed to be that month.  A new beginning.  My contract work was slowing down to a reasonable pace which meant I'd have time to hunker down and do some real, solid writing.  I was going to pump out uber pages a day, in time to have a solid first draft for a heavy duty weeklong workshop I'll be attending in September. 

It's now mid June.  Status update: page count: dismal, hours surfing social media: all time high. Self deprecating sense of unworthiness *ding, ding, ding!* we have a winner!

I have to keep reminding myself that it's not like I'm not doing stuff - work, projects, cleaning my room (seriously, that can be quite the accomplishment)...but one click on Facebook and everything pales in comparison to the adventures of everyone around me.  

Some might think this odd coming from a girl who spends much time traveling, enjoying the fruits of a bicoastal life.  But really, is that any different from your other five hundred online Facebook friend-sonas? How about the mother with the two perfect children who never cry or do bad things like your kid does?  Or the free-spirited single gal who's always dressed to the nines and out dancing the night away? God forbid the super successful entrepreneur who's international speaking engagements make him the most important person IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD! And let's not forget those masters of culinary experiences.  How do they eat out every night? More importantly how to they still look so great with that amount of caloric intake!?!.

Grass is always greener It's not like these people aren't awesome, I know and love each and everyone.  But its easy to take a stroll down self pity alley when staying positive and motivated can feel like a ten hour spin class.  I have to keep reminding myself of the old adage (as cliche as it may be) "the grass is always greener on the other side". 

It does help to know that others feel as overwhelmed by the plethora of social happiness and "ra, ra" motivation as I am. Earlier this year, Time wrote about how Facebook makes you feel bad about yourself.

Lauren Lyons took it a step further in her latest article  in the Huffington Post where she admits all her fears and financial woes.

The start of her article is telling:

So many Facebook status updates are about that new job, what a wonderful wedding you had, how great that concert was last night. "Weekend trip with the girls was amazing! Thanks Vegas!" 50 likes. 19 comments. Maybe it's just a function of my friend list, but whenever something not-so positive comes up, it's crickets. "I'm having a really tough time finding a job right now." 0 likes. 2-3 comments, mainly "hang in there!" or " :( " 
By prioritizing engagement with "success posts," we perpetuate this online culture of vast insecurity, and thus, a lack of space for expression of failure.   

I admit, I'm guilty of "liking" other's success but who doesn't want to show their friends they're happy for their great achievement (even if it is winning twelve rounds of beer pong?). 

Author Shauna Niequist also blogs about the issue in Relevant Magazine.  She makes a great point:

...we rarely check Facebook when we’re having our own peak experiences. We check it when we’re bored and when we’re lonely, and it intensifies that boredom and loneliness.

So what to do?  Shauna suggests that instead of using the computer to watch someone else's perfectly crafted life, enter it.  I prefer the afterwork happy hour drink but sometimes a phone call, email, even text message can do the trick. 

That helps with bringing back the "real" people aspect of life, but what about increasing productivity?  

This little gem of an application - Anti-Social - allows you to take yourself off select social media websites for a predetermined period of time.  This has been quite helpful (as long as my iphone and ipad are nowhere in sight). 

All this to say: writing is HARD! Hopefully someday I'll have an FB post that says I'm finally finished my first draft!  Until then, you'll know that I'm spending copious amounts of time pulling my hair out, typing, typing and more typing (and probably an equal amount of time deleting) and in between those long gruelling stretches, I'll maybe take a snapshot or two of a sunny day on the beach or a large piece of red meat.

Babysteps, right?
A big hunk of meat
Women wearing masks on the beach
Mmmmm....Sunny day on the beach.


  1. I've taken to LYING on facebook, just to look better! HA! Join me?

  2. I post so rarely on facebook, if you were looking at my profile you'd probably think I was in a coma. Oh well, I can't keep up with everybody's vacations and family pictures! I don't have time to facebook, I have a book to finish! I should go post that...

    Interesting idea though, about the positive/negative posts and how they're received. I do think facebook is quite useful for a lot of things, but it does give you sort of the highlights reel of relationships, rather than deep and meaningful conversation/reality. I think part of that is cultural though too.

    Anyways, great post! Now stop reading my comment and get back to your WIP!

  3. Telling stories on FB, Jackie? A true writer indeed! Jeff - Yes Sir! Stat Sir! LOL.

  4. I've recently joined facebook. Haven't had much time in the past. But due to mounting pressure from friends, I finally did. It's fun. I'm glad I did.

    1. Glad you took the plunge Karen. FB is fun and a great way to stay connected with friends and family. Now I'm off to look at more pictures! :)