I like Facebook for a number of reasons (one of which being it's a great way to pepper my friends with my weekly musings on this blog).
But because don't live in a house made of lollypops at the end of a rainbow, I'm also aware that many people use Facebook to brag about their lives. But we all know that just because it's on Facebook doesn't make something true. (Case in point, my husband's new friend's wife looks amazingly skinny in all of her Facebook photos. I girded my loins to meet this perfect specimen of womanhood only to behold that she has the biggest ass of anyone I've ever met. How did this not translate on Facebook? I was both shocked and delighted that she was actually human.)
But back to the bragging versus sharing when it comes to personal details. If you've shared something, i.e.; "Check out my...pregnant twin sister....giant martini the size my head........muffin I baked that looks just like Obama"....it should make people smile. When you brag something "Isn't my daughter just the cutest girl in the world, eveh?...Look, my son got another A+....future president!..I have the best hubby in the whole world, much better than yours!" people generally want to punch you in the throat. However, they are more likely to roll their eyes and knock you out of their newsfeed.
But one thing I never thought about, but now I think about is that some people post photos on Facebook with the added bonus of leaving people out. I didn't realize this until a friend pointed it out to me, but now I do. She shared how sad she feels when parents post pictures of kids' birthday parties on Facebook and her child isn't invited.
I have been guilty of doing this in the past but you can bet my husband's friend's wife's ass I won't be doing it again. When I posted pictures of my kids' birthday parties, it was more in the spirit of "look how awesome this cake is!" or "look how big my little boy is getting!" or even "look at all his adorable friends...surely he won't be up on the bell tower one day!" I certainly didn't mean to make anyone feel left out, and yet in hindsight I'm sure that some people did. Seriously, why didn't I just make it a private group? Who wanted to see all those kids besides their own parents? And probably Grandma, who could easily be added to a private photo album.
As our kids get older and both their (and our) social circles grow, the reality is that you can't always invite everyone. It doesn't mean you're not friends or not friendly but seriously, do we need to rub it in each other's faces? I tell my 6 year old son not to discuss any birthday parties he is attending on the bus or with other kids in his class because not everyone is always invited. If we can impart such wisdom to our children, we can certainly reign in our out-of-control egos enough to restrain ourselves from putting certain things publicly on FB. Just use a private album to share all the awesome pictures of the party with the only people who care, anyway -- the parents of the children who attended.
So I've come up with a few rules of thumb that work for me. They may not work for you, but I've come up with them so I am never the cause of some little girl looking over her mom's shoulder on Facebook and exclaiming an anguished "Why wasn't I invited to Little D's birthday party!?" (Truthfully, because she only wants to invite her brother, her cousin and the plastic dog she calls Coco)
Family events such as pumpkin picking, cookie decorating or birthday parties are all fair game for public posting. Kids' birthday parties where you didn't invite the whole class should perhaps be put in a private album.
Church, sports or scouting events where everyone is welcome? Post to the world! (You may even get more participants!)
Pictures of you in your boxers? Please don't.
Pictures of Ryan Gosling in his boxers? Early and often please.
The point is, I'm trying to carefully consider what I'm posting these days, before I post it. If it's an attempt to make my life seem "oh so glamorous" (like I need to prove this...I have two small children and I'm a bookworm -- how much more rock n' roll can things get?!) or, more importantly, I think it will perhaps hurt someone's feelings, I probably will not be sharing it with the FB world.
Our FB posts, just like our actions, have consequences. I will carefully consider my motivations in posting status updates and photos, especially when it could potentially leave someone feeling left out. As left out as my husband's friend's wife's ass was in all of her FB photos. (But we all know she doesn't exist anyway and was just a construct invented for today's blog.)