I’ve always been one who’s active on Facebook, generally keeping a window open throughout the day to monitor social media, checking statuses, commenting, and keeping an eye open for a potential news story or two.
Frequently I post where I’m at or what I’m doing, but usually not going so far as to take pictures of my dinner as some do (unless I’m covering a restaurant story for 209 Magazine).
And now with my new life as a journalist where I’m paid to be opinionated in certain forums when before I had to be very cautious of my public opinion (That damn catch-all section of CUBO or deportment seemed to apply to making negative comments or criticisms of certain things or superior officers), I can now publically voice my rarely filtered personal views, outlooks, and beliefs about certain things.
While scrolling through my newsfeed that was full of swagger and bravado the other day it got me to thinking, “What is this Facebook thing that we feel so connected to and are so compelled to report on – and why do we even care?”
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can keep you connected to your friends and family but am I being narcissistic or braggadocios with digital kudos when I post pictures from family events, vacations or even a no-big-deal selfie with a celebrity or ballplayer?
Sure, my posts may get a few ‘likes’ but honestly I’m not looking for the “OMG, you’re so lucky!” or “What an amazing guy!”
I’m just expressing my joy of a certain situation and inviting others to celebrate with me.
If a friend posts on Facebook that they completed a competitive run with their personal best are they bragging or just glowing with pride for a major personal accomplishment?
I enjoy seeing what their lives are up to and don’t view it as a “competition” of mine vs. yours.
The other day I was told that it sure looked like I have a perfect life on Facebook.
I’m sure anyone’s life is skewed in public forum because of looking from the outside in.
We’re not truly aware of other’s demons, skeletons, baggage, and behind-the-scenes trials and tribulations associated with each life.
Believe me, I have more than my fair share of dirt buried away and covered with hard packed topsoil along with a few skeletons stashed away deep in some closet – stories that Lifetime movies or Brian de Palma thrillers are made of.
I’m also aware that I don’t know what’s behind the curtain of the Facebook lives I check.
On the flipside, when someone does air their dirty laundry, do we really want to hear all the details or be brought into all the drama? These are usually the same people that get all bent and later complain that others should stay out of their business.
Now, bad things happen to all of us, but we shouldn’t have to publicize those things with the community at large. Inviting others to experience your misery or dysfunctional family episodes along with you is not advisable. Especially when a few days later when you’re the one posting a happy picture of your mug having the time of your life with that person you called ugly names and said you would never trust or believe.
So how do you portray an accurate picture and is that even necessary?
For me I’m going to continue to post what makes me proud – my family, our outings, vacations, and accomplishments, some of which has gone into overdrive with the introduction of a grandson six months ago.
I still will be vocal and opinionated as when I shine light on a situation it tends to be with a heat lamp.
And also, as always, my newspaper stories will get posted as well.
Richard Paloma is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.