So, I’m reading this book, Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon (a new author for me, my favorite author is Tess Gerritsen but I’m always checking out different books and authors because I’m an avid reader let me get off this tangent and get to my point) and I’ve just read this line that hit me so hard I literally had to close the book and get up for a minute.

It seems like we’ve gotten to the point where our experiences, our memories–our entire lives, actually–aren’t real unless we post about them online.

Yes, it is ironic (or is it? I’m one of those Philistines who consistently misuses the word “ironic”) that I’m doing the very thing that line is talking about, but where else am I going to share this profound revelation I just experienced? (Don’t answer that.) I started thinking about how I’ve given up Facebook for Lent and how, ever since Ash Wednesday at least once a day I have a thought I want to post on Facebook. Then I have to remind myself that I can’t and why. And then I start thinking about why I wanted to post it in the first place instead of just keeping it in my head or saying it to my husband like people used to do back in the long-ago days before social media.

I suppose I seek validation. Isn’t that what most people who are on Facebook want, though? What makes me worse than anyone else? What is the purpose of publishing your every mundane thought, if not to have it validated by someone?

How did people validate themselves before Facebook, I wonder. I was alive then, but I can’t really remember. Just like I can’t remember how people checked movie times at dinner before smart phones.  Or how people did anything before the Internet.

Maybe no one needed validation. At least not to the degree we all seem to need it now. Maybe just having the thought or the experience was enough. Maybe we thought accolades and applause were for those who truly achieved something noteworthy, instead of someone who managed to get through a day without losing their job or their kid. Such is our culture now.

Babies have an online presence before they can crawl. Even pets do. An online persona will soon replace a social security number or a birth certificate as proof you actually exist.

I’m not sure where I was going with this, except that it struck me and I wonder if it’s a bad thing that we need validation so much. And even as I write that I wonder how many people will actually see this post. Ha ha! It’s so deeply ingrained now that I can’t turn it off.

I’ve got to get past the point where I don’t think something I’ve thought or done matters unless it is “liked”. Maybe that’s the reason I gave up Facebook for Lent.

Advertisements