On Starving Facebook

I don’t post to Facebook as much as I maybe used to. I mean, look, I never posted much, but whereas as I used to feed Facebook semi-regular snacks and the occasional meal, I’m now borderline starving the bastard. Look at my Facebook feed and you can’t quite see its ribs, not yet, but it’s certainly looking svelte if not a tad gaunt.

My more anemic contribution to Facebook’s diet was and wasn’t a conscious decision. As I mentioned, I certainly do use and post to Facebook, and having made the move to Bangkok has obviously given me a bit more to post about, but I’ve never been one to get personal or overly political on Facebook and, well, more recently, I’ve begun to more closely examine why I post any given message or article or photo online and, upon answering the ‘why’, I then turn to the ‘should’, as in “should I or shouldn’t I?” More often than not, the answer is . . . naw, I shouldn’t.

Look, I’m not here to say you shouldn’t post as much as you do, to take a goddamn break from Facebook, to stop posting pics of your kids or your meal or your cats or your outfits or your abs or your backyard or your fucking car; I don’t really care what you post or why. But I do think you—I, we—should care, especially the why.

So, that’s what I do: before posting something, I ask myself exactly why I wanna post this whatever it is. I try to be as honest with myself as I possibly can. Once I’ve done that, I can better decide if it—the post and the reason I wanna share it—is truly of value.

Now, whether it’s of value or not is entirely up to me—and up to you when it comes to your posts.

Like, if I think of posting some message about how much my day sucks, about how hard it feels to be me right now, well, if I’m honest with myself I’d have to admit that, all I really want, is some sympathy, a few people to click that SADFACE emoji and gimme a few, “Oh, that sucks and you’re awesome and I care for you ‘cause you’re great” comments. Now, realizing this, admitting it to myself, I’m simply not gonna post that message. It’s just not me. If I really need sympathy, I’d rather reach out privately to one of many good friends who genuinely understand me and will know what I need. Crowd-sourcing sympathy just doesn’t do it for me, as tempting as it may seem in the moment.

But, I’m not gonna begrudge you that feeling, that flood of public sympathy on your wall if that’s what you need and if it genuinely makes you feel better. Just be honest about it.

That’s the thing, the more honest I was with myself regarding why I wanted to post this, that or the other thing, the less I felt the need to post anything at all.

It’s not to say I always post important, hard-hitting shit! Not at all and quite the opposite! As of this writing, this is my latest post to Facebook:

Not exactly The Economist or The New Yorker. But, well, when I asked myself why I wanted to post it, the answer was, “’Cause it’s pretty funny and I wanna make people laugh. Also, it’s weird and, right now, it’s my weird and I wanna share that weirdness.”

To me, that seemed like a genuinely worthwhile reason to share a photo of an Asian sports drink and a ridiculous story about its origins.

Otherwise, these days, that’s pretty much all I post: photos tied to my experiences in Thailand, usually accompanied by a bit of text, usually funny with a dash of informative thrown in for good measure. Friends told me they wanted photos, I like sharing photos, so I share photos.

But, when the answer to the ‘why’ is that I want my ego stroked, wanna impress a lady, wanna make myself out to be someone I’m not, wanna stir shit up, wanna tell someone they’re wrong, wanna tell people how messed up the world is right now, want sympathy, well, then, I typically try to keep my finger off the Publish button.

Hell, that’s just me, though.

You may feel that posts of value are those that inform people and set them on a more educated path. Or maybe you feel better telling Facebook that you’re lonely and hate your ex, even without a reaction, ’cause it’s the online equivalent of shouting from the rooftops and it gives you release. Or maybe you get a kick from posting cryptic non-sequiturs only you understand.

Hey, if that’s the case, go to it.

But . . . well, to be honest, I might unfollow you, though. Just saying. That shit’s pretty annoying.