I’ve had this love-hate relationship with social media for nearly three years now. I can remember why I first decided to join Facebook. An ex-boyfriend sent out a mass email announcing he was expecting his first child with his wife. I think he didn’t realize I was still in his address book (or maybe he did and wanted to rub it in) because he was surprised when I replied with congratulations. I told him I was recently married and he asked if I had pictures of my wedding on Facebook. I didn’t have an account but thought why not, I could sign up. That was the beginning of what I call “the trap.”
I loved Facebook instantly. I found all of my old friends and got a daily dose of the happenings in everyone’s lives in an instant. It was thrilling, exhilarating, and addictive. After a while I found myself on the site while watching television and sometimes while sitting on the couch with my husband. So much for lovey-dovey time.
But, my time with Facebook soon exposed a dark secret I’d been harboring. I became jealous of my friends, co-workers and even some family members. The pictures and status updates gave me a glimpse of the fun, fabulous lives they were living, so it seemed.
It made me feel I allowed it to make me feel my life wasn’t so great. Sometimes I felt whatever I had to post wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t long before my self-esteem took a hit and my husband began to notice something was wrong. I wouldn’t admit it because I was in denial until I was ready to own it.
I knew I had to make a change. My time on the website consumed me more and more. I went through a 6-month fast from Facebook about three to four months after moving to Atlanta. Then, after getting back on for a short time, I deleted my profile for good.
The challenge I face today is I have to use it for my job. My news station, as do most news stations, has a Facebook and Twitter page and website that I must post to on behalf of the organization. I must have a Facebook account to do that. I created a page that doesn’t have pictures or hardly any friends and I don’t post anything under my profile.
I’ve come a long way from my struggles with Facebook. I think it’s a great site, but so many people abuse it. I was one of them. I wish I could say I had better control of my feelings but the truth is I didn’t and instead of conforming and ignoring my pain, I decided to cut it. I do have a Twitter page and I do pretty well with it. I use it to post positive things about myself and the world as I see it. I follow mainly news organizations, businesses and people who can make good deposits of information into my life.
There’s something in private conversations I’ve had with a few people regarding my Facebook confession that everyone should think about. Things aren’t always what they seem. The lives I was coveting, my confidants would tell me, are often times fabrications. You can always look happy and put your best foot forward when you have a few moments to wait for the flash of the camera.