Relationships are at risk by how much you're divulging online. Are you guilty of over-sharing?
Ever since networking evolved from the MySpace phenomenon back in 2003, Facebook took the top spot two years later, now having pulled in over 1 billion users, making for a plentiful abundance of social media fanatics. What began as a small college site evolved into a soapbox for anyone with something very important or either very useless to share. While the internet allows us our freedom of speech to preach whatever we wish to friends and family around the world, we aren't apt to pausing very long before doing so. Our rants and raves are permanently logged into cyber space, flooding each others timelines, no longer leaving much of anything a mystery to anyone. And isn't that the entire reason behind Facebook? Prompting us to share links, photos, major life events...the Network is the nosy next door neighbor we can't (or want to) shake!
Sure, it makes for connecting with out of state/country kin or friends a hell of a lot easier than picking up the phone and having an actual conversation with them, but do you ever wonder how your personal page is being perceived? I know a lot of people reading this will say to themselves that their Facebook is their business and they could really care less, but honestly, we do care at least a little bit (hence, public back and forth bickering on posts or deleting accounts (temporary or not, in fits of rage). Like the time I carve out to read from my library at home, I make a point to get online and observe the many different types of coupled up and single users on Facebook and observe what their personal lives are reflecting by what they post. These are the ones I encounter the most often:
1) The Eeyore
Maybe she just split up with her long time boyfriend of two years. Maybe he never called her after finally sleeping together like he promised her he would. Maybe you've been single longer than you care to admit and have given up on any good ones being left. These FB users are easy to spot because they're the repetitive Debbie Downers on the network who can suck us into their fleeting phases of depression. We constantly find ourselves becoming their relationship sponsors, encouraging them to 'hang in there' or professing how big of a douche their Ex was and are lucky to be rid of just so we can have back the old happy person we know they were before their intimate life went south. Music videos from Adele and Beyonce are popular in this category, as well as internet quotes from Tumblr such as, "I don't miss You, I miss the person I thought you were", or "I think about you every day. Asshole." While we feel for these heartbreaks that come and go through the seasons, their negativity always lingers until a new love interest comes along and makes them forget they were ever hurt to begin with. Most of us have been these people at one time or another haven't we? Misery sure loves company.
2) The Patrick Bateman
Some of those sad Facebook users can drift further along and reach an angry level, that of which, turns into typecasting an entire gender responsible for one persons doing. A twist that these folks have to the previous is that their posts can be quite clever if not, humorous at times! In fact, I prefer these users over most because their rants can make for some good lunch break or after work entertainment when I've got nothing better to do but poke around online. Nice and ho hum one minute, stormy skies and punching kittens the next! Burned on more than one occasion, these comedians want to make it very clear to all of their followers that pretty much NO one is to be trusted. Bitter and emphatically offended by any post that could possibly be directed at them or remind them of someone they'd rather forget, the common news feed seen here are Someecards, Grumpy Cat, or just point blank, "____ can kiss my mother f*#king ass!" statements. Men and women of this character are often single, or being jerked around in those unions that we see go from 'in a relationship' to 'it's complicated', to 'single' and sometimes back to 'in a relationship' within a weeks time. High school behavior is so rad!
3) The Notebook...on Steroids.
Is there anything better than the beginning of a really spectacular relationship? Thrilled to finally become a plus one, making it 'Facebook official' is one of the first monumental steps in sharing their new found love, and they see no reason to leave it at that since they have a better relationship or marriage than YOU do....they have the daily posts to prove it! While they may not feel they are coming off as smug or going overboard, if they're sharing something just about every day that solely revolves around their partner, and I'm talking common activities such as making dinner or how they were just surprised by another gift from their other half 'just because' (again), then it IS too much and yes, annoying.
I'm all about romance, affection, and the intermittent inside jokes or 'love you's' exchanged between couples on Facebook. It's wonderful when people we know and care for are being adored! However, when we stop just living in those amazing moments with our other half to snap a million photos to upload and plaster on our profile, what is really being accomplished? Is there an unspoken rule that unless everyone you're connected to sees what just happened, EVERY time something happens, does that mean it never existed? Must we achieve a certain amount of likes from online for our partners efforts and acts of love for it to actually matter?
Milestones of importance and deep meaning (pregnancy, births, engagement, wedding, etc), those are worth making noise about. If you feel the need to share the common stuff so that we're aware how happy you are with so and so 24/7, take a minute first to think about why you need our validation and approval because yes, that is what you're doing more often than not. Eliminate FB from the equation and be present with your partner. Relationships are not a contest, and they last far longer when kept just between the two people involved.
4) The Fitness Fiend
Losing unhealthy gobs of weight is a big deal. I remember dropping 25lbs in three months over a year ago and sharing the news online with everyone because of how proud I was to have stuck with such a bitch of a workout training system when I've never liked to exercise. I felt great, looked great, and that was that. Literally....I left it at THAT. There were no precursors to the event, or aftermath to keep everyone posted after all was said in done. Who needs to know each occasion I'm hitting the gym or what diet I'm restricting myself to to keep my figure?
Some will argue that sharing these details will spur friends into forcing you to stay on track by encouragement and praises, even doling out stern reminders. But you know what, that's what trainers are for! Gyms even offer those drill sergeant folks for free when you sign up for a membership! If not, you can always enlist a workout buddy and kindly push each other towards your goals...face to face. Motivation by a live human being can do greater things than reading a 'go get 'em!' comment in a timeline ever can. If you're killing yourself just to catch or keep your other half, then you're doing it for the wrong reason. Love is a fire starter to getting and staying in our best shape, I get that. But like the over-sharers I spoke of before, if you want to make your goals a reality, then just DO them. Tagging yourself each time you hit the bench won't make those muscles happen faster. In fact, all you will be doing by taking selfies in the mirror and updating us with your latest set numbers is kill the workout time you've got.
5) The Desperates
These facebookers are probably the worst of them all. From the moment they wake up to brush their teeth and have their morning session in the loo (which they feel the need to pronounce without discretion), to the time they hit the bed and have to fight Fido for space, there is no limitation on what these folks will share with us! It's like having a d-list celebrity in your home town who believes you're just as in love with them as they are of themselves. Neither happy or sad, they run the gamut of emotions from beginning to end, it all depends on the encounters they have throughout the day. There isn't much to divulge about these yappers, their bland and useless statuses always speak for themselves and arrive if not minutes, only hours between each other. If they happen to at all be in a relationship (which would be shocking), they are usually the one half of the couple that's always glued to their phone.
Now, don't get me wrong here. If it wasn't for Facebook, this article could have never come to fruition. Hell, I know that in the past, I've been part of some of what I wrote about. We're not bad people for our social self indulgent tendencies, some of us just get a little lost or wrapped up and lose touch with how things used to be before networking became such a huge deal. You can't go anywhere without seeing someone caressing their cell phones, giving only part of their attention to the company that is sitting in front of them. I'm aware that due to things like having kids, running the risk of an emergency, or being on call for a job make it impossible not to be connected to the technology, but that doesn't mean that we should put our gadgets on pedestals. Relationships suffer or are destroyed every day by the wrath of actions on social websites, Facebook being the main offender. Yes, it's a fun internet 'hangout', but let's not forget how we lived our dating and married lives before it came along. If any of the parties listed above frequent your friends list, there's always options in the settings to take care of the nuisances. Think before you post! Remember, if you cherish your private life, be cautious with what you're choosing to make public.