Some Facebook Conundrums

As many of my readers may know, I am the Facebook queen. I am a frequent poster, making snarky comments, posting photos of fun events with my wonderful family and friends, and promoting blogs. Always promoting my writing of some form, always.

Some conundrums (a confusing situation or question that causes me to wonder if it is worth it all) about Facebook have come up lately and I am here to discuss.

  1. Now when I am at an event, dinner, or any socializing with friends, they will begin their conversation with me after their warm and loving hug and kiss hello, with a command, “No posting on FB.” It seems most are even more critical than I am about their photos and they would only permit a professional, touched-up portrait to represent their image on FB. It’s a little disheartening for me as I like to share. (With about a billion very bad photos of me on FB, I guess I am not that vain – they represent good times.) Or overshare as the case may be, read on.
  2. I overshare but ONLY to share my good news, happy events, and writing. Therefore, some perhaps unhappy?? people have taken to thinking that I have a charmed life with no stress, no worry, and absolutely no negative things happening at all in my life. I CHOOSE to share only positive, (with the exception of my post flood phase) and this has caused envy and jealousy by some small-minded people. (Please then, just unfollow me instead of being unkind!) Some have told me I brag, but I share honest information about my life and my children; and the FB community as a whole is wonderful and supportive and cheers on everything! That’s why I share: it is a delightful feeling for others to cheer on my happiness! And I do this for others too – it is mutual caring and support, and cheering on! For those who have a problem with my children’s accomplishments, or my vacationing for a month, or whatever else gets on their nerves, I find I don’t need them as a friend –for even a benign thing like a FB friend. I have plenty of true blue friends (as well as lovely FB friends) and they are happy for me as I am equally happy for them at all of their good news. The solution is as simple as hitting the unfriend button and I have done it several times. I have even read people ranting about other people’s “perfect” lives, and I just boil because I know that some like me, just share the positive, good news, and the sad or bad news stays private. No one really knows what another person has endured, or deserves. It should be judgement-free, and I do my best to keep it positive on my posting and commenting.
  3. Since FB is social media sharing – celebrating events and the accomplishments of my loved ones should not be considered bragging. I revel in my friends’ good news and in their children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments. I am sorry if there is something lacking in another’s life that makes it seem like bragging, but I am sharing my happiness with a supportive community. As an example, I just had my first grandchild, via my husband’s oldest son and wife. Before that though, and even with being an envious grandma-wanna-be, I absolutely delighted in dozens of friends posts about their adorable grandchildren. AS ANOTHER EXAMPLE: I have a few friends who are traveling the world, posting their adventures for all of us to enjoy. I have one FB friend, a philanthropic man who I respect and admire; (and for whom the entire synagogue campus is named after due to his generosity) who is a gazillion-aire. He jets off on his private plane to his ranch in Aspen, spends once a month on vacation in a luxurious exotic retreat, and recently spent a week on a yacht. And yet, he is enjoying his life and sharing his joy, and I enjoy seeing his posts. Another lives a life in show business that many would envy, hobnobbing with the rich and mostly famous – his wonderful existence on full display for all of his old friends to see. I am thrilled for his happiness and have pride in his accomplishments and love that he shares. Could there be envy of these lifestyles and adventures, or that of my world-traveling friends? Of course there could be by others, but I don’t see it that way at all. And I would bet most are like me. SHARE your happiness and joy, we don’t mind at all. In fact for every one Debbie Downer negative person about my positivism and happy news, there are 20 reveling and celebrating with me.
  4. This one creeps me out though it should not since I post most details of my life. When I go to a community event, or even synagogue, where warm and wonderful people who I do not see often or regularly socialize with, give me a big hello and a hug or kiss, I no longer need to spend catch-up time on my current events. This saves a lot of time as they can rattle off all of the significant events of my life, since they obviously closely follow all my FB posts. I have to say though, it always startles me when people who don’t comment on my posts know everything I am up to. I just am never prepared but it is equal parts flattering as it is creepy, that people follow my life events. (I am a frequent liker, lately using the love button for lots of things, and a frequent commenter so everyone knows I have visited them and their good news or share.)

Okay, ready for your feedback. Let me hear from you!

17 comments

  • Arlene,

    As a mother of a son and two daughters who would often tell me to “STOP POSTING, MOM”, I thought you’d maybe like to hear my take.

    I don’t think people are vain. Sure, people want to look their best (which is their right), but I also think they’d just like to enjoy a dinner, brunch, party, etc., with you and actually feel like you’re present. As a former oversharer, my kids and friends used to tell me that I cared more about my likes than accompanying them to a meal. I think to an extent, when I dig deep, deep down, they were right. When all you care about are pictures and sharing, it makes your kids and friends feel like they are pawns to gaining likes. As I’ve learned, that’s not a great feeling.

    Also, I urge you to rethink the “sharing good news” portion of your blog. Have you ever considered that YOUR good news is possibly not yours? And instead belongs to your friends and your kids? It is wonderful of you to be so happy for them, but maybe it’s not your news to share. You can be happy for someone in ways other than flaunting news and photos that they might want to keep private. While in your mind you are sharing your good news, in others’ minds, you are flaunting something which is private that belongs to them. If they want to brag on themselves, that’s their choice.

    Finally, I got a lot of pushback from my daughters and a few friends who felt as if they always needed to look their best if they were going to see me. They knew I was going to bug them to take photos if I saw them, so they would get stressed about any gatherings we’d have together. One of my daughters told me “let me just enjoy a brunch with mom in sweats, don’t make me wake up 30 minutes earlier to put makeup on.” My son actually told me that a former girlfriend of his didn’t join us for dinner one night because she was feeling ill and knew I’d post a photo of them, and just wasn’t up to it. My other daughter joked that if I kept this up, she was going to ban me from seeing her kids. That sure got my attention.

    I don’t mean to sound critical, but I figured you’d want to hear my thoughts on the matter, as I was once an oversharer too. I’ve since deleted my Facebook account, and have found that my kids and friends are much more relaxed around me, and much more excited for our time together.

    Best of luck.

    • Hi, you did not say your name, but I think you work with my DIL, who I adore. So Hi there!
      I have learned a few things along the way of my mis-steps in the past.
      1. Never post without permission – I have gotten permission on all my posts in the past six months. Even from friends but most definitely family.
      2. Being present in the moment is most important to me — in fact the last times I have seen my kids, no photos were taken or posted, and this is more the case in the past six months to a year than not. My phone stays in my purse. I am looking at them and hearing them. Of course sometimes they have THEIR phones out.
      3. I love my kids and their spouses so having all the affirmation and love that they are as incredible as I think they are is wonderful. I find FB mostly supportive. – for every twenty or 100 nice people, there is one who is jealous.
      4 As long as I remain both a writer and a blogger by profession, even if part time, I will need LinkedIn and FB to promote. I just got another writing assignment due to my posts on those sites! It is a job and it is good business.
      5. I let my children share their good news first. Sometimes I re-share, but I am learning to ask first. Still have some work to do in that.
      6. Just to prove how far I have come, I have not posted photos from my son’s wedding. Would I like to share the joy of that event? Of course, but it is their decision when and if to give me permission.

      Thanks for reading and weighing in. You gave some sage advice. Getting off FB is not an option for me, it is how I keep in touch with friends all over the world and see their grandchildren etc. Too precious to give up. Also need it for writing promotion and again, I do get business from it – lots.
      Best, Arlene

  • Cheryl Shatz Petruzzelli

    It really should not creep you out, or surprise you, if people know things about you even though they don’t respond or “like “your every post. I read almost everything you post, but sometimes I am out or in the middle of something and I take the time to read it but forget to respond or like it. I’m sure there are many people like that. I’m sure there are many people Who read what you and others post but are too shy to respond. They prefer to be in the background… that’s just who they are. Someone I know, who is not on Facebook, asked why I post celebration dinners or great food I eat, or accomplishments etc. I tried to explain to him that is a shared experience – just like sitting in a town square and sharing with your friends and neighbors. Except this is a virtual town square Keep on posting ! Sometimes you just want some good old fashioned positive feedback from your peeps !

    • You are absolutely right Cheryl, it should not surprise me or creep me out — logically most do not respond but they read. I am sorry I put it that way.
      Sharing is a good thing, in my way of thinking and glad you share as well.! And thanks for your likes and comments even if they are rare!

  • There will always be nay Sayers but just keep on doing what you do wonderfully. Write about your musings and life, it is interesting. Yes I am one that follows everyone and make comments but that is just me. I feel if you are putting it out there then it is free territory to comment. I may not know you well but we learn a whole lot on FB!

  • Ignore and delete the negative. They are jealous. I don’t know anyone who posts life’s daily problems. Continue your posts as usual. I always respond or like and enjoy that you do the same for me.

  • I love reading what others are doing and sharing, even if I don’t know them. To me it’s like saying “only simchas” when you see someone at a funeral. Anything positive and happy is ok with me. Keep blogging, Arlene!

  • Kvell away, Arlene. I love reading your posts and blogs!

  • Arlene, you never come across as a bragger, you are just a positive, happy, encouraging person!
    Love seeing where my friends are traveling and pictures of their kids and grandkids .
    The only thing I don’t enjoy on Facebook, are negative, name-calling political posts and when people download 50+ pictures of their kids/vacations that haven’t been edited.
    I’ve been criticized and asked not to talk about the weather! I’m sorry, I’m not going to apologize for living in a sunny, warm location.
    Look forward to seeing more of your life events in the future!

    • Liz, I laughed out loud at your apologizing for sunny and warm weather!!! I have gotten that one too!!! And I agree with every word you said! Thanks!!!Keep enjoying life!!

  • My posting sent a few minutes ago came from the soul. Again, I value your friendship.

  • It’s an occupational hazard that one’s writing occasional causes friction with friends, family, and acquaintances. I know it’s gotten me into my share of trouble. That’s why I’ve shied away from keeping a regular blog, though I used to keep one religiously, years ago.

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