I love Facebook as much as the next person. I check it several times a week, sometimes more, sometimes less, sometimes even every day, depending on how busy I am. I love reading about new babies, new jobs, new homes. I set my email notifications to let me know when someone sends me a message or writes on my wall. Let's be honest, it's an easy and convenient way to keep in touch with people. I've "reconnected" (to use a cheesy, soap opera word) with elementary school and high school friends who I haven't talked to since the 80s. I keep up with college friends, friends overseas, local moms. I LIKE Facebook. I USE Facebook. I may even be slightly addicted to Facebook. (I don't know because I've never tried to quit. I don't think they have a detox plan in place yet.)
But if I have to read one more status update that says something like, "I'm off to Wal Mart!" or "Feeding the dog now!" or even "Sitting at the gynecologist's office waiting to have my pelvic exam!" I'm going to scream. Really? I need to know that you're having your pap smear? Why does anyone feel the need to share this stuff?
Yes, I'm talking about Chronic Status Updaters. We all know them. We all hate them. Most of us block them. I'm talking about the people who update their status 12 times a day, and not with witty, funny stories, or links to relevant stories, or even updates from pages we've signed up for as fans. (Because we all know I can't live without my Twilight Saga updates. Go Team Edward!) I'm talking about people, usually stay-at-home moms, who tell their Facebook friends every time they leave the house to do anything. I mean, does anyone REALLY care that you are about to start eating your cheeseburger at McDonald's? I know I don't. (And let's be clear: I'm sure that men do it, too, and that working moms do it too, but in my Facebook world, it's only the stay-at-home moms who update 93 times a day. Most men don't share that easily.)
One of my Facebook "friends" recently had a day that looked a little like this:
I'm at the bus stop!
The kids are on the bus!
I'm off to Target!
I'm done at Target and now I'm going to get groceries!
Back in the car after saving $19.34 with coupons!
I'm putting away my groceries!
Time to pick up the kids!
Doing homework with the kids!
Time to make dinner!
Yay! Time for bed! What a long day!
OH MY GOD. Shut up already! You took up my entire freakin' screen and now I have to "hide" you, so I'll never know if you actually do anything interesting with your life!
Now, I'm sure that I've been guilty of posting things that aren't always that exciting or witty or clever. I'm only human - I think MY life is endlessly fascinating, no matter how many times my husband nods off in the middle of one of my famously long-winded stories. (True. He does. And I am long- winded.) And I'm sure there are people out there who'd say that I share too much, like, this week, how we all posted our bra colors to remind ourselves and our friends to do monthly self exams. But no one out there could accuse me of being a Chronic Status Updater. (You could, however, call me a Chronic Facebook Commenter, but that's another story. And I just can't help myself.)
Remember when we were kids and our moms used to say, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"? Well, I think we need a Facebook button that says, "If you don't have anything interesting to say, don't say anything at all!"
So I started thinking: What's behind this? Is it just that people have nothing better to do than to update their status all day long? I mean, we're busy moms, we have things to do, places to go, people to drive to soccer practice, and laundry to fold. So what's behind this annoying trend?
My theory is that it's often a symptom of being bored and lonely. Not that we don't have enough to do, just that what we have to do isn't all that exciting, really. And maybe there's an element of not feeling heard, listened to, in our lives. No one listens, so we send our thoughts into cyberspace. If we felt attended to, listened to, heard, at home, would so many of us feel the need to share the minutiae of our lives with our Facebook friends? Would we need to connect in this way? Or maybe, because our lives are consumed by the minutiae of motherhood - the errands, cleaning, cooking, driving, attending to everyone else's needs every minute of the day - we need to vent, share with people who understand what our lives are like. Depending on how old our kids are, we can easily become isolated at home. Connecting with others, even via the internet, may be one way to keep from going crazy with the demands we put on ourselves. Connecting with others is a basic human need.
A mom I know recently posted, "If people spent as much time on their marriages as they do on Facebook, there'd be fewer problems." I understand what she meant. Never mind that she's a total CSU and I could tell you where she ate lunch every single day for the last month and a half - she has a point. I'd add that maybe people need to focus some of that energy on making REAL WORLD connections, on improving our real world relationships.
Slacker Mom Says...technology should make our lives easier, not replace human interaction. Get off the computer (or smart phone, or whatever) and go to lunch with the girls, grab coffee with your husband before he leaves for work, meet your neighbor for a drink after the daddies are home for the night (or, heck, while the kids play in the backyard. No one's driving, for Pete's sake). Social networking sites are great, and they have their uses, but hanging out at the local cafe with my friends is a lot more fun. I may be old-fashioned, but I'd rather have face time than Facebook time.