Selectively Sharing on Facebook
Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 19:02
Don't Brag. It's a rule most of us learned when we were toddlers. However, our Facebook profiles definitely suggest otherwise.
Facebook and social media in general are filled with statuses proclaming fantastic G.P.A's, record breaking sport performances, fabulous tropical vacations, and acceptances to amazing academic institutions.
When did this become OK? If a classmate sat next to me in class and said, "4.0, take that Smith College" or "Just got back from a two week Medditeranean cruise!" I would be dumbfounded. However, when I log on to Facebook these boastful claims overwhelm my newsfeed.
Yes, Facebook is great. I enjoy being able to discover the latest YouTube sensation, easily communicate with my best friend from high school and stalk my latest crushes' thousands of pictures. But, at the same time, Facebook can make me feel pretty down.
Whether it's pictures of happy couples captioned "three years with the love of my life", a timeline studded with images of amazing tropical vacations or a status about a fabulous summer internship, I often sign off Facebook reflecting on my own life and accomplishments with a much more critical eye.
Now don't get me wrong: I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with sharing happy news on Facebook. Yes, certain updates are more egregious and annoying than others, but as a whole most people just want to share their happy news with their hundreds or thousands of friends.
Also, let's be honest: people have found ways to publicly share happy news long before Facebook came around. "My child is an honor student" bumper stickers and lengthy holiday letters filled with braggadocio immediately come to mind.
However, Facebook presents these updates in an entirely new and often overwhelming way. So, what's a girl to do? – Not log in and risk missing out on the next Rebecca Black or the latest "lolz cats" pictures?
No, I don't think that's the answer. Instead, I think we all have to take a step back and remember what Facebook really is – a social media site where people choose to share certain aspects of their lives. Key word: choose.
Very few people post about their average or below average grades, their plans to go to their grandmother's house for spring break or their uneventful weekend. Imagine how different Facebook would be if we didn't get to filter what got put on our timelines. "Earned a 4.0 this semester but also got in a huge fight with my best friend two days ago" or "Accepted to a competitive graduate school but was rejected from my top choice."
However, until Facebook installs this feature I am going to take my own advice and take Facebook with a grain of salt – maybe even a whole shaker-full – the next time grades come out. And next time you get a perfect GPA, do us all a favor: tell your mom, not Facebook.