Who wants to know how much I earn? How much my house is worth? My car? Annual holiday? Who wants to see a doctored photo of my sun-kissed ripply abs? My pouty lips? My breakfast, lunch and dinner? Interested in my hourly comings and goings? Need to know how bad my period pains are this month? Photo of my morning poo perhaps?
No, you say? No one’s interested? Ah, yes, I suspected as much. Which does rather beg the sodding question, why the hell is EVERYONE sharing such attention-seeking bollocks on Facebook EVERY day?
Each one of these truly enlightening and life-enriching status updates reduces the poster to needy self-indulgent toddlerhood. A time when every minor and largely insignificant achievement was heralded with congratulatory applause and wonderment. The grown-up poster of: ‘I have a tummy ache’ has made little progress in their personal growth and development. They’re still entirely dependent on others’ continuous support and meaningless validation.
Facebook brings out the worst in us all. The absolute worst; a broken mirror reflecting the ugliest of our social media obsessed society. A forum in which vanity is given the thumbs-up; in which humility is non-existent and superficial Instagram lifestyles are showcased to a captive gullible audience.
How and when did we all become so insecure and self-doubting that posting a picture of a recently purchased iPad would be enough to console us? When did Facebook become our surrogate parent?
If your self-worth is entirely dependent on external factors, on others’ slapping you on the back each time you buy something, you will never actually truly enjoy anything; never experience the pure joy in any given situation as you’re too busy presenting the moment to the rest of the world. How do you really enjoy a romantic dinner with your husband, when you’re more focused on updating your Facebook status? It renders every magical moment in your life as superficial. You’ve missed their wonder and significance as your priority was telling others about it.
“When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?”
Thich Nhat Hanh
My best friend recently honeymooned in Barbados. I know this because she told me. In person. I did not find this out by reading through her hourly status updates, nor from her photos. There weren’t any. She went away with her new husband and did not feel the need to invite her Facebook friends along. Why would she? She has no need to show-off. She’s a successful, self-assured and confident woman. She doesn’t need our ‘likes’ to make her feel better.
I found out during her wedding that she’s also ‘quite a big deal’ in her company. I never knew that. I knew she’d had many promotions but she failed to mention exactly how far up the managerial chain she was. She’s never posted up her latest job title or unsubtly hinted at her huge salary; she’s quietly and humbly climbed the ladder of life and kept it to herself. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? Aren’t you more impressed by someone when you accidentally discover their greatness? Rarely happens. Within minutes of meeting most people, they waste no time in filling you in on their usually-lame junior management job title.
“The less you speak of your greatness, the more shall I think of it.”
Yeah, right on Shakespeare!
I’m genuinely intrigued by the psychology of the Facebook boaster. Any perpetual bragger actually. Sometimes, I think I should have been a psychologist, but I lack patience so am more likely to tell the insecure show-off to ‘stop being a dick’ rather than help him overcome his issues.
In my experience, Billy Boaster is usually the underachiever. His life hasn’t quite turned out how he’d planned and his left shoulder is burdened by an enormous chip. He was probably bullied in school and/or shown little attention by his parents. Thus rendering the need to post up hourly selfies entirely understandable. So, no one liked you in school? Ten minutes on Instagram spent touching-up a photo of your beautiful doe eyes will solicit all the ‘likes’ you’ve been missing.
Put this way, excessive boasting is terribly sad. Desperate and genuinely sad.
I’m quitting Facebook…soon. Being the addictive fiend he is, it may take a while to become completely clean. But, but, but, how am I now to promote my blog? I want people to read my blog, to follow it, and to ‘like’ it. But what does that say about me? As driven by ego as the next person. Ah, to be a Buddhist monk, it’s the only way.
How’s this for a fab closing quote. Lord Chesterfield (who?) says in one sentence what I’ve tried to in 800 words:
“Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise.”
Now please like my blog😉