If Facebook itself were a game to be won, it would be very difficult to determine the winner. It would be even harder to become the winner.
Here’s what I mean.
I would think that the true “winner of the game of Facebook” would be the person least perceived by their friends as a narcissist, yet somehow isn’t secretly a snoop.
Maybe I should create a Venn diagram? (See below.)
Let me just say, I definitely am no Facebook winner.
However, I don’t want to be identified as either a narcissist or a snoop… but if I outright deny that I’m neither, doesn’t that just prove I’m a narcissist?
Since last June, I have made a point to spend less than 5 minutes a day on Facebook- and my life has become better for it. (Narcissist comment?)
Basically, I’m usually on there just long enough each day to post pictures of our family, see if I received any new notifications, and take a look at a friend or family member’s profile if I’m wondering what they’re up to. (Narcissist comment?)
But even then, I could easily see how I could be perceived as a narcissist. I mean, seriously- everyday I post a new picture of you, or a selfie of our family, or a story about you.
To some, I very well could be that annoying guy who is perceived as trying to make it look like he has the perfect family and the perfect life, thanks to the stage of the everlasting talent show/high school reunion of Facebook.
While I’m grateful for what I’ve been blessed with, I quickly and openly recognize that my life is far from perfect. (Narcissist comment?)
However, I do believe in the importance in being a positive influence in society; which to some, can come across as being a show-off or self-obsessed.
And then on the other side of the spectrum, if I’m not a narcissist, am I a snoop?
If I’m not a person who is perceived as tooting my own horn all day with happy pictures and stories, am I instead the opposite- a person who is quietly snooping on everyone else, without giving out too much information about my own life? (Because that’s not fair, right?)
I wonder if I can get away with admitting that it can be very challenging to scroll down my Facebook feed without having some kind of judgmental thought about someone who is clearly crying out for attention; whether it’s a negative rant, a duckface selfie, or a “look at my awesome life!” update.
Full circle. Am I that happy narcissistic person? Or the snooping friend? Or am I simply both, by default?
I’m not good at playing the game of Facebook. I’m better off just sitting on the bench- throwing in enough sporadic comments and pictures that are positive and that don’t mention questions or comments regarding politics, religion, or food; that way I’m still contributing without oversharing and inviting people to unfriend me.
All I know is to keep doing what I do: Open the window to friends and family to let them see what is going on in my life, which is you and Mommy.
I don’t regularly share pictures of you on Facebook, unattached from daily stories I write about you.
But over the weekend, I did. I just shared three pictures of you on Mommy’s Facebook wall, as she is rarely on Facebook anyway:
In one, you’re smiling with Mommy as you “make soup” with water and spices.
In another, you’re proudly displaying your hilarious monster truck collection.
And in the third one, you’re using a pizza crust as a mustache.
Sharing those pictures with Mommy was my way of helping her stay connected with Facebook friends; giving her new material to talk about without her actually having to start the conversation.
As the comments began rolling in, I started seeing a common factor: People were genuinely amazed at how much older you look.
I haven’t noticed it as much because I see you everyday. I’m more aware of changes in your intellectual maturity instead.
So I guess I should take this down as a moment in your life where you magically looked a bit older, all of the sudden.
Your friend Henry’s dad put it this way: “When did Jack turn 7?”
It’s like watching the minute hand of a clock. If you stare at it constantly, you probably won’t really notice it move. But if you turn away for 20 minutes, then return back to it, you see an obvious difference.
As your parent, I see you every day. Since you’ve been alive, there have probably only been 3 or 4 nights where I was out of town and didn’t see you at all for the day.
Something I have noticed here recently is that your hair is obviously more brown now, like your parents’ hair color, than it is blonde.
And I’ve noticed how your nose and lips look just like Mommy’s now, while your chin and brow look a lot like mine.
It’s easy to get distracted in actually raising you everyday that I tend not to see so obviously what everybody else does- those subtle changes are hidden, though they’re right in front of me.
This letter was supposed to be a funny one about how I’m a typical dad in the way I hide your toys when you refuse to put them away when I ask you to.
But seeing that this is my last letter of 2013, I want it to have a more retrospective perspective.
So I’ll save my originally intended programming for next week and/or next year.
Instead, I can’t help but think of what this year, 2013, has taught me on this gloomy and rainy December night; letting this all soak in.
It’s been an interesting year for me in that it’s been like a dichotomy.
Three months into the year, I became a (new wave) vegan, which proved to take an epic psychosocial toll on me; yet physically and psychologically, I’ve never been healthier, and more at peace and in a state of gratitude.
(I have even sworn off caffeine for the rest of my life, as well; because I see it as the most unregulated addictive stimulant in the world.)
One of my favorite bands ever, Third Eye Blind, sings one of my favorite songs ever, “Motorcycle Drive By.” My favorite line of it serves as a bit of a motto to describe the private challenges I’ve dealt with inside my brain this year:
“And there’s this burning like there’s never been/And I’ve never been so alone/And I’ve never been so alive”
Before it sounds like I’m throwing myself a pity party, let me just clarify. I’m not alone. I have you and Mommy. I have family. I have friends. I have plenty of meaning in my life.
I have joy!
But there’s an undeniable disconnect that I suddenly became aware of during the weeks following my denying of animal products for nutritional sustenance. It was like cutting myself off from the rest of the world. I by default ostracized myself from what is normal in society. After all, I no longer participate in that historical human shared experience.
Then a few months later, for all practical purposes, I did something similar when I “quit” Facebook.
I went from spending a minimum of 30 minutes to 60 minutes a day scrolling through my Facebook feed, commenting and corresponding, and accidently instigating polarizing conversations based on my opinions that half my friends agreed with, while the other half didn’t.
Plus, I confused a lot of people whenever I used sarcasm.
So since June, I have made a conscious effort to spend only 30 to 60 seconds (!) a day on Facebook. Perhaps, in a sense, it’s selfish to my Facebook friends, but for this 2nd half of the year, the only news on Facebook I have known about is what shows up at the very top of my news feed; which is what the free market of my 960 Faceook friends decided was the most relevant that day.
This week on Facebook I was introduced to a cool type of picture that parents can create of their kids.
I don’t know that it’s called, though.
So until I do, I’ll just call it a “collage profile.”
Featured here is the picture that introduced me to it. Granted, this is a professional picture, by my friend Joe Hendricks, who took Mommy and Daddy’s wedding pictures as well as our pregnancy pictures.
To me, this is the perfect example of how it should be done. A+!
The concept is simple: a picture of a kid, superimposed with various, random texts showing their name, age, and interests.
What a cool idea! I have no idea who thought of it first but I hear that it’s trending on Pinterest.
Just for the fun of it, I threw one together for you. Eleven days away from your 3rd birthday, I now have a better visual of the stuff you’re into during this exact stage of your life.
A few months from now, I assume some of these listed interested will be replaced with others.
But as for right now, I can preserve this sort of visual bookmark on your life.
While I’m sure this kind of picture can be created on several different websites out there, the one I used is Picfont, where I do all the captions for your pictures. I like it because it’s free and doesn’t require a login and password.
So whatever this trendy kind of picture is called, it’s something I should probably do every so often.
The fact that you currently like the color pink… I have a feeling that’s going to change in the next couple of years and then we’ll really have something to laugh about.
Well, assuming you’re reading this years from now… Yes, son… you used to love the color pink.