“You aren’t really anybody if you’re not on Facebook”

Okay, I took liberties with that quote,  which originally comes from the Gus van Sant movie To Die For and actually reads, “You aren’t really anybody in America if you’re not on TV.”  It comes to mind because two clients this week have shared stories about something they did last weekend (going kayaking and installing a window air conditioner) that included comments like, “And then we decided to post pictures on Facebook.”

When my family and I were in Hawaii in April, I noticed a creeping self-consciousness after awhile because, simultaneous to taking pictures of some place or event, I would think to myself, If this is a good picture, I’ll put it on our Hawaii blog and this is what I’ll say about it.  In other words, I became aware of my slide into leaving the present moment by planning my blog post.  My clients, too, were less present for air conditioner installing and kayaking because they allowed themselves to be preoccupied by planning the Facebook posts.  I imagine a process something like, While being photographed  balancing the air conditioner in the window, the person thinks of the caption that will accompany it: This is me balancing the air conditioner in the window.

I do not mean for this to turn into a rant about Facebook.  I believe every generation has its pitfalls, its siren call away from what we are doing right now.  But I also believe every generation requires its skeptics, those who say, “I’m not sure it’s a good thing to be so hooked into Facebook (or blog posts) that the planning of the next post occupies one part of our mind while the rest of our mind is shooting the rapids.”  That could prove dangerous.

And more than that, if we have had a devastating first relationship and now have a fledgling new relationship, and this new person notices that in the current heat wave, our apartment is brutally hot and goes out to buy a window unit and comes to install it for us because we don’t know how – it seems to me we’d want as much of our brain to be on-board as possible, to notice this moment, this moment where we find evidence that maybe, this time, we’ve found someone who cares about us.

  1. Katie Luers said:

    But you were NOT thinking about this blog post while your clients were telling you this, right?

    Katie Luers 503 964-8510

  2. tom moss said:

    good points, Katrina. To me, the most troubling thing about Fbook is its power to keep attention focused on a screen, instead of the beautiful world, or the face and voice of a friend. love, tm

  3. karen said:

    I have no such feelings about Facebook or Instagram, though I use them both. However, what you’ve described is one of the main reasons I stopped blogging, actually. I would feel this small surge of relief when I was doing or experiencing something blog-worthy. I’d start mentally phrasing out how I would present this or that event while I was experiencing it, and like you said, it took me away from the experience and into the framing of it. Sort of like when everyone used to videotape the kid birthday parties rather than participating in them.

    On a related note, I also felt something like this way back when I was in therapy. After the first couple of months, when all the veins of my childhood were unmined, when I was suffering through a terrible divorce, I just went in there and let loose. Then came the times when a little something would happen and I would think, “Oh, good, I can talk about this in therapy this week.” Soon after that, I graduated with my therapist’s good wishes.

  4. pits47 said:

    linked to you in my blog… thanks for the inspiration 😉

  5. Chris U. said:

    Heh. I can definitely spend too much time thinking about computer stuff..not facebook persay..I think its a little too public for me. Not nerdy enough, or maybe just not …separated enough.

    Though..I also think my messing around too much on the computer is sort a self medication, if I _give_ my self stuff to obsess about and get worried about and feel stressed out about..I’m still stressed and obsessed and worried..but its not as bad as if I let my subconscious just drag things up.

    Though I…I do find the days when I can _stop_, and put away my books and my computers and distractions and just be just be where I am not somewhere else, not constantly fighting to be entertained…they are really special.

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