As I checked into Legoland, attaching the obligatory picture of my son and I grinning like Cheshire cats to my latest Facebook status, I was actually sitting on the sofa at home in floods of tears. A close friend had died that day and I was devastated, distraught, overwhelmed with emotion. But rather than let the world know how I was feeling, I pretended everything was okay. Why wouldn't I? I'm a Facebook Phony.
Of course this was an extreme case. Grief makes us do all sorts of strange things. But pretending everything's okay while inside feeling like utter crap is not an unusual act. We all do it, all the time We're all Facebook Phonies.
You know that girl constantly posting pictures of her 'beautiful bubba'? That baby screams 14 hours a day and drives her to the brink. By posting pictures of the occasional smile she gets from her colicky child she is showing off the only reward she receives for countless hours pacing the room and pounding the pavement trying to get her to sleep.
And you know that couple? The ones always checking in on a Tuesday at some restaurant or other? They go there after their marriage guidance session. Miserable, the pair of them. But by letting the world know they're on another bloody date night they think they're proving how strong their relationship is.
We've all got a friend who has finally found the perfect job, perfect partner or perfect home. Well if it's that fricking perfect then damn well enjoy it love, don't go banging on about it on social media. The more you boast, the less I believe you. You're the ultimate Facebook Phony.
We all do it. We go on a night out with the girls and check into every place we visit on our wine-induced wobbly way. I admit it - there are times I spend more time on my phone checking in to places than talking to the people I'm so proudly checking in with. The thing is, when we're actually having fun, doing things we love and enjoying ourselves, we're too busy to post. I didn't go near social media on my wedding day, because I was too damn busy getting married. I put a few intermittent 'look how blue the sea is' things on when I was on honeymoon, but basically I was enjoying spending time with the person I went on holiday with, not clambering to tell everyone how much fun we were having. When you're really having fun on a night out, you're too busy laughing to bother typing in your pin code, uploading a photo and thinking of a witty remark to accompany it. Those posts come after - when you're bored, tired, or nostalgic. Or drunk. Yes, drunk posts are a whole other thing. But real time fun almost always means a Facebook absence. The faux fun posts come after.
Just seen a celeb? Tell Twitter. Been served a particularly presentable prawn dish? Whack it on Instagram. Feeling a bit unloved? Fill up Facebook with pictures of you and your mum/mate/cat smiling so much you look like you're sponsored by a dental clinic.
As a former showbiz journo I know the drill more than most. Celebrity dies? Quick - raid your photos folder so you can change your profile picture to one of you with said dead celeb. Not only are you (hopefully) the first to announce the terrible news "RIP BOB - SUCH A GREAT GUY - RIP RIP RIP" to your Facebook world, but also everybody you know will immediately be aware that you were closer than them to this person, who is now in heaven, thereby actually making you near-heavenly yourself. It's bollocks, but we all do it. The ultimate attention-seeking act of the Facebook Phony. Is rushing to announce someone's death really something to be proud of? Maybe it's time we put RIP to rest on Facebook.
I'm not saying none of it's genuine. Those pictures of newborn babies, first dances and graduations are all pretty 'I'm happy' moments. But let's face it, most of the time we're trying to make our life look better than it really is. We're Twitter Fibbers, Instashammers, UnPinteresting Facebook Phonies. And it's time we stopped. Nobody cares about your fifth check-in on a Saturday night. Nobody reads those stories you share from your best mate's blog. And you know what, I couldn't give a flying fig whether you ran 5.8k at 3 o'clock this afternoon. My bet is you were on a bike anyway. By liking these updates we're just encouraging more crap updates, and enhancing our Phony status by pretending to care.
So that's it, I've had enough of 'liking' things that don't interest me at all, writing 'beautiful' on yet another picture of a baby that looks more potato than human, or checking in at dinner when instead I should be eating, and talking to the person opposite me. I'm fed up of wasting time on a night out telling everyone where I am, who with, and what hilarious things they're saying. I'm over it. I'm only ever being honest on Facebook again. Well, for this week, anyway.
Stick that in your pipe and like it. Can you do the same?Suggest a correction