Facebook, my longtime friend, the one I always stick up for, the one I count on for professional networking, referrals and humor, failed me today.
I have several friends who have abandoned my beloved Facebook, calling him out as a time-waster, a veritable multi-inning "my genitals are bigger than your genitals" tournament. They claim he conspires to make them feel unworthy. Unproductive. Unpopular. All the un-s.
Forever defending him, I spout his positive qualities: he's a break when you need it, his like-minded groups provide validation as well as a forum to discuss things that are difficult or painful to admit face-to-face. He's a platform to find and conspire with other folks who enjoy your pez dispenser collecting hobby, or troubleshoot why your bread isn't rising properly.
I like to cook. Especially for Friday night dinner. I have a tendency to get elaborate, import specialty ingredients, serve multiple courses. I appreciate decadence and gluttony. So for a time, I posted my Friday night dinner menus loaded with colorful, descriptive language, designed to both entice and impress. About a year ago, I realized that while these weekly posts garnered quite a bit of attention (and kudos) they were horribly braggy.
Not "they might come across as braggy" but just... unabashedly braggy.
And they said more about my need for pats on the back than anything else. They served my purpose to announce "Look how much I can accomplish! I'm incredible, and proud of myself! You should be jealous!"
Now, had I actually posted my needs and feelings (or better yet, discussed them with a close friend) I might have been able to earn the kind of attention I was seeking without making 500 people feel like crap. Thus, upon realizing this, I discontinued the posts. I still cook, but no longer have a need for the announcement and requisite feedback. Thanks, therapy.
What I came across this morning was a humblebrag with a twist. It was a particularly insufferable combination of "poor me, I'm so overwhelmed" and "look how much I'm doing each day" in the hopes of receiving the standard:
"You're so impressive!"
"I don't accomplish half of what you do." and
"Make sure and make time for yourself. You're so selfless; put yourself on your priority list" responses.
She did receive exactly these responses, which I'm confident was her intention. She now feels validated.
The truth is, I'm sure she is working hard. I'm sure she is overwhelmed and on the verge of burnout. But clearly what she needs is not support (since it was offered and rebuked) but rather attention.
We all drank the Koolaid manufactured by the cult of busy. We are impressed with busy since it's become synonymous with prominence.
But I'm beginning to understand why my intelligent, well-traveled, priorities-in-the-right-places friends are fed up with Facebook and its daily barrage of un-ness.