Last week I posted a status on my Facebook about being fed up with social network crazes. Unfortunately for me I chose to put this status up in the height of the no make-up selfie craze (and refer to it). In hindsight, I know that I should have chosen my timing better. It was insensitive and I felt really bad about it. The last thing I wanted to do was cause offence. As a result someone decided to take one of my pictures from my Facebook and put it on their wall; along with a comment aimed at me being a hypocrite (the picture used was a selfie of me and my boyfriend). I found this really difficult, and upsetting, to deal with. It was totally out of my control and the stark realization hit me that we don't have any control over the information we chose to put online.
I felt sad that something special, belonging to me, was taken and shared with strangers without my permission, but also that my point was misunderstood. My point was that I was fed up with Facebook crazes (think neknominations), not selfies. I wasn't being a hypocrite (I don't mind the odd selfie and have a few on my Facebook) but because I chose to mention the no make-up selfie as a craze, it landed me in trouble. I sincerely regret making the comparison, not because of the backlash, but because cancer effects so many people, and so much money was raised through the no make-up selfies. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what it is, craze or no craze, as long as it's doing some good and making a positive difference. I can appreciate that my status must have hurt this person for them to react in this way. You never really know the power of something until you feel the ripples of its repercussion. And that works both ways.
I have a true love hate relationship with Facebook. I certainly don't put my private details up there, and I'm very selective with what pictures I share. But yesterday's turn of events really got me thinking, and I found myself asking the same old questions - why do we feel the need to share stuff on there? Why do we do it so publicly? After all, the person who decided to share and remark about my photo could have emailed me privately - why did they feel the need to show everyone else too?
I can't exclude myself from this, I write statuses sometimes and I know I will be sharing the link to this blog, but why? Why do I want people to see my achievements, my happy photos, or if I had a fantastic weekend away with my boyfriend? Even as I write this I am trying to find the answer. I am not an insecure person. I don't need people to see that I am happy, yet I still put things up.
I only know one friend who is not on Facebook, and I admire her. Her life is private. I don't know when she last did exercise, what she had for tea, or if she had a good night's sleep last night. When I see her we catch up about things, we fill each other in on stuff we want the other person to know, and we keep quiet about what we do not. It's great. It's real. I only found out the other day that she has a new car. She didn't boast about it or graffiti it all over a wall for everyone else to see.
My point is, and I know I'm rambling a bit here, Facebook is great for so many things - raising money for worthwhile causes is one, keeping in touch with distant friends, another, and just having a good old nose around when you're bored. But even that is a bit sad when I think about it. I have the personal details of every friend I know who lives abroad, so why do I need Facebook to keep in touch with them? When I'm bored I could just go and see my friends, why sit in front of a screen and look at people's lives that only show a snippet of their reality? That's another thing. Our lives are so much bigger than what is on the screen. No one really knows what goes on apart from the people we want to know, and that's usually done in private.
So there you have it. There's no conclusion to this as I'm still thinking about it. But when I find the answer, I'll be sure to post it on my wall to let you all know. And this time, I give my permission to share it.