Oh, the many faces people put forward where their on line presence is concerned! How shocking it continues to be to me that, seemingly overnight, we have all been given the opportunity to put up billboards alongside the highway composed of the lives of our friends, on which we get to broadcast any and every thought that comes to us. What a remarkable opportunity this is—and how utterly terrifying. Who among us hasn’t been struck, repeatedly, to discover what this or that friend really thinks about things? We’re definitely getting to know each other in a very different way these days, mes amis, for better, for worse.
There are some very obvious stereotypes that have emerged in all of this. Here, a short list:
- The family guy: gush gush gush about their kids. It’s like receiving one of those wince-worthy year in review letters that come with many holiday cards (the ones that depict lives in which it apparently never rains), only every day. One only hopes you haven’t eaten recently when reading the next gush.
- The chucklehead: nonstop jokes, goofy pictures, quirky videos of people displaying the most comical aspects of the human condition. Good—great—for comic relief, but I’m often left wondering if you’re paying any attention to what’s really happening out there these days.
- The foodie: yes! Please! By all means, do show me the incredible Dagwood sandwich you made just now! Which, food photography being its own industry for a reason, always ends up looking a hell of a lot less appetizing on line than you think, old pal!
- The world traveler: you look good with the Pyramids behind you! Oh, you clever thing, you, “holding” the Eiffel Tower in your hand like that! Where, oh where will life find you globe hopping next? I sit with baited breath….
- The curator of Great Big Experiences: seriously, is it a divine law that if you go see Hamilton, you MUST LET EVERYONE KNOW YOU JUST SAW HAMILTON?
I’ll stop there as it’s feeling like I could go on forever (the animal lover, the political ranter, the motorcycle guy, the exerciser, the nostalgia buff, the lover perpetually on honeymoon, the single cause crusader….).
I know, I know: cast not the first stone, McWright. I’m as guilty as everyone else of posting just these kinds of things (I’m pretty good at avoiding the food shots). If I ever get a photo of me with some celebrity, I assure you, you’ll be the first to know! But I’d like to think I avoid overdoing it in any one direction, and that’s kind of my point here. Are you monochromatic in what you post, or do you diversify your on line presence, use up more of the technicolor range of that which actually constitutes your life (at least I hope constitutes your life)?
I’d like to think I generally do the latter, such that who I show up to be on line is a decent depiction of who I actually am (I mean, isn’t the point of Facebook primarily to keep each other abreast of what’s happening in your life, all of your life?). And if I do lean in one direction too much for a while (I’m certain I can be accused of this where current politics are concerned), well, that’s probably still a decent depiction of who and where I am right now. Like the weather, things should change shortly.
So here are my, now formerly unwritten, parameters for what I post on line. You are officially welcome to grade me on these going forward.
Regarding what you’re about to post, McWright:
- Is it clever? Why say what you’re going to say in the most banal manner possible? Go ahead and dare to be entertaining. Dare to address the topic or event in a way that others didn’t see coming. Remember: some people out there haven’t started watching Game of Thrones yet, so you are in some serious competition for their attention!
- Does it provoke…just enough? Who doesn’t like edgy? Who doesn’t enjoy being made to feel…hmm…uncomfortable in a…comfortable way? By escorting me up to that edge, but not shoving me off of it, I end up trusting you more, trusting that, while you may have whatever feelings on the matter you do, you also have enough perspective to not need or expect me to feel the same way. You give me a taste of the pie, not slam my face with it.
- Is it different than what you posted yesterday? Please! Unless you’re keeping us up to date on something serious going on in your life (which, by definition, is what you’re about these days), play a different song, dj!
- Does it offer a slightly different glimpse of…you? I don’t mean to go too far with this one, as this could become burdensome fast. But I like the spirit of it all the same. A good example: we all have guilty pleasures that we’re reluctant to admit. Go ahead and admit it! I posted the other day that I’ve enjoyed the heck out of this last season of Girls on HBO. What manly man does that?? But it’s true, and it’s me, and what the heck do I care about how others react to that, and won’t the heckling I may get be itself worth the price of admission? Though no one has responded to that post yet, so I assume they’re all still in horrified shock.
- Finally, the age old, am I okay with my mom seeing it? Because she will! (Love you, Mom!)
So them’s my thoughts. But I have to go now, to give some shit to a buddy of mine who just posted a photo of the egg sandwich he’s eating as we speak.