The Sticky Side of Life

World’s Biggest Hypocrite {Why I Joined Facebook}

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#Worldsbiggesthypocrite
HUGE, HEAVY read ahead…. you’ve been warned….
I know, I know, I am the world’s biggest hypocrite… I’ll
take it. Last night I saw a post from one of my close friends who happened to
be at the same baseball game I was at and I wouldn’t have know that if I hadn’t
been following her on social media…. I missed seeing her because she posted
where she was after I had already left.

I even said, “Get on those Instagrams faster next time! I’m
all high tech now!”

Then she wrote back, “HAHAHA I’m still laughing at the irony of
you being a social media advocate!”

So there you have it, Hell had a snowflake, I confessed an
appreciation for Facebook…. That sounds weird to some, but to others who have
known me for the past 11 years it’s a big deal. I have had a very open and
obvious hatred of Facebook for a long time and some people know why, others don’t
and others still refuse to be my “friend” or “like” anything I post because
they think I’m a hypocrite. Fair enough. But here is the back story, the
history and the evolved apology:


Facebook has come a very long way since the beginning… I
remember the dawn of this internet beast happening in the 2003-2004 college
year of my life. It was the new big thing. {HUGE
Back Story Footnote at the bottom that further explains my lack of enthusiasm
to jump on board}
At the time I lived in a house with 6 roommates and
Facebook notifications were dinging all over like you were standing in a menagerie.
At the time, you had to be a college student with a college address to be a
member (I’m sure those of you who have seen the extremely accurate “documentary”
movie know the basis of it for sorority face voting, yaddah, yaddah) and mostly
it was used to track co-eds and their relationship statuses.

My introductory year to Facebook consisted of this:

  1. Girls making their profile picture their
    cleavage or butt.
  2. My house SHUTTING DOWN for a WEEK in a mess of Kleenex
    and rum because some boy either didn’t like the cleavage picture, randomly
    changed his relationship status, or posted some flattering comment about a
    DIFFERENT, rival cleavage profile picture.
  3. Irrational, emotional, violent and highly
    regrettable decisions being made by girls because of pictures being posted of
    their boyfriends, by someone else (usually the rival cleavage owner) doing
    things they had promised they would never do (again).

So when the popular thing to do in my early 20’s that “everyone
else was doing” presented itself to me, I was less than convinced to jump on
board. In my 20’s I still had the same ideals I have now, which for a 20 year old
translates to being very weird, square, stick in the mud, boring, whatever. But
I like to surround myself with positivity, celebrations of female qualities,
and actually not be submersed in constant reminders of emotional (self
manifested or not) betrayals… The Facebook addiction became infectious and
caused girls to come running into your room breaking down about a picture you
HAD to come see RIGHT NOW and then join them for an hour to comfort them until
they were done sobbing… Facebook was exhausting.

*************MAJOR DISCLAIMER HERE************* I am in NO WAY saying that the girls, many of whom are still my close friends today DON’T
think the above things because they DID do Facebook in college. NOT AT ALL. What
I am saying is that Facebook was a hotbed for negative interactions AT THE TIME
IN MY PERSPECTIVE. Though many, many wonderful things probably happened on
there too: relationships bloomed, people fell in love with sweet comments,
rainbows and unicorns, etc, etc. But that wasn’t my exposure… maybe it was the
friends I had? (wink, wink, just kidding… maybe, at least one). I saw,
disagreements erupt into campus wars, the action of not liking someone’s
picture cripple self esteem, I experienced MY OWN FRIENDS post pictures of themselves
that later destroyed their relationships. I myself fell victim to making one highly
emotional, extremely irrational decision in reaction to a picture I saw that
has permanently damaged my relationship with that person. Trust was broken that
will never, ever be repaired…. Thanks to Facebook. (so my naïve 20 year old
brain believed)

Facebook was damaging, enabling bad behavior, promoting
conflict, making it easy for people to hate one another, developing habits for
solving conflicts with another human irrational and violent, and crippling the
self confidence of the women around me. (Not all, many came out unscathed) But
it was this giant beast of discomfort that I wanted nothing to do with AT THE
TIME. {I guess that is what you get when you throw such powerful things at
drunken, testosterone and estrogen?}

My grad year of college I was earning my Master’s degree in
Behavior Management. Though toxic this beast of social media still fascinated me.
I decided to title my thesis: The Affects of Multi-Media Influence on the Developing
Conflict Resolutions Strategies of Adolescents.  The college years are obviously a crucial time
for a person’s mental development and the scaffolding that occurs between ages
of 17-23 is what we are left with for most of our adult life. We get great
scaffolding between ages 3-8, 7-14 and of course 15-18 in many different areas
too such as how we handle violence and how we learn to solve problems. But the
college years are where we actually learn to interact with the world
independently (away from our parental role models). We shift our learning to
peers more dramatically than in high school…. (now that was a VERY brief psychological
explanation because I don’t plan to bore you with the depths of my thesis….)

Anyway, my research taught me a lot about the psychology involved
and it didn’t make Facebook look any better or tempting to join, in fact much
worse.

I continued to avoid Facebook after college, which took me
into the High School Coaching phase of my life. By this time Facebook had
opened its doors to the non-college world and everyone from grandmas to
toddlers were joining. This ushered in the era of Coach/Player conflict of
interest with High School Athletics. Each season we had to take seminars for
dealing with cyber bullying, parents “friending” you as the coach to earn their
kids playing time, and my 2 epic coaching experiences that left Facebook scars:

  1. A COACH, a full grown adult male, posted a video
    of one of my key players being humiliated in an attempt to “rally” his team to
    play hard against us… that’s a fantastic way to be a role model for teenage
    girls, not to mention the trauma, tears and recovery speeches about integrity
    that haunted my team room for a week… glad there was a ready forum for you,
    adult role model, to devastate a teenager for the sake of a laugh or whatever
    you hoped to gain… How dare someone post a humiliating picture of another person?
    How dare someone EVER post a picture of another person without their permission
    on the internet? How dare someone violate another person’s privacy and
    integrity so easily?…. Answer = Facebook. They even make it into a cute
    little paper airplane. Then…. Other people get to LIKE that you humiliated
    someone else! A teenager, and you are supposed to be a responsible adult role
    model in a position of great power and leadership…I’m obviously still angry. That
    was 2010.
  2. The season that still haunts me due to a poor
    moral decision I made which negatively affected the entire team, the entire
    season: A picture was printed and left in my office box of a returning player drinking
    alcohol ON Facebook… REALLY? You thought that would fly? It happened, really
    with or without Facebook I’m sure that I would have been delivered the picture
    regardless. But someone ELSE put her out there, exposed her for viewing without
    her knowledge to be caught or to heed consequences. Though illegal behavior,
    she didn’t expect it to be made public and probably (stupidly) trusted the
    other party goers to keep her secrets. But because it was posted publically I
    had to take action. VERY long story short, my actions and decisions about that
    season still haunt me today and every time I see those seniors I wish I had
    done the opposite. That was 2011.  
I resigned after the 2012 volleyball season (not because of
Facebook) but because we were having our first son. I also decided to pack up
my business office location and move it into my home so I could be the day care
provider for our baby. THIS WAS THE TURNING POINT….

Previously, as a professional Wedding Coordinator/Rental Company,
I had this major presence in the community, an office, a huge sign out on the
street and a walk in accessibility to every bride and party thrower in Lane County.
I was easy to find, easy to hire and convenient to work with because I was open
every single day. Brides could literally stumble in and spill their planning
pages all over my desk begging for help. It put me above other competitors. It
gave me a professional edge to have a physical location. That went away with
the decision to work at home, and so did my edge. My exposure, storefront
retail sales and income plummeted. I had to wake up and realize what other
coordinators had over me…. And imagine my devastation when I learned it was a “Social
Media Following”…. 3 words that made me cringe and overflow with emotional gut-check….

It took me 2 years to come to grips with reality and with
struggling to be a WAHM, communicating with clients strictly over email, trying
to promote my retail with only email blasts and the tiny blogs that had
literally no followers. I would be up into the wee hours of the night doing all
sorts of Etsy promotions but only within Etsy itself which is limited. I needed
help. I needed a break through. I needed to evolve my thinking, as my financial
responsibility had in no way decreased simply because I was now at home with
the kids! In fact now we needed more income! Yikes!

Once upon a time, in December of 2013 my sister posted one
of my blog posts on HER Facebook and all of the sudden I see in my stats that
it was read over 200 times…. Holy Cow that was impressive! I made about $0.07
and was so excited! Where did that come from?! I check my stats for referring urls….
Facebook…. Ugh…..really? Could there still be rainbows and unicorns on
Facebook? And could they be willing to help ME! But I’d be the biggest
hypocrite in the world?

My sister created me an account in January of 2014 right
before the big Bridal Showcase… primarily for a business page for GEG. She then
sends me a message to say, “You already have # Friends!” so apparently the
world hadn’t shunned this hypocrite entirely. Though I was still pretty leery,
self conscious and for lack of better words, overwhelmingly terrified as to how
people would react to seeing me on there. One person even commented, “Is this
really you?” in the first few days. Yep, it’s me! Over here all vulnerable with
a target on my back!

It’s been a year and a half now and truth be told, I have
found more rainbows and unicorns than anything else. I joined Facebook at
apparently a great time. Nowhere and probably thanks to my age difference and
new/different/matured peer group do I see negativity or the interactions I have
feared for so many years. My lack of experience and acceptance had left me
blind to the developments of people being able to connect across state lines,
follow along with a pregnancy and babies growing, moms who can see the faces of
their babies fighting for us overseas and so much more beauty. Facebook has
changed into a place for businesses to share and grow. Facebook is a place
where we announce our joys and sadness so that we can gain empathy and public
celebration. I personally have used Facebook now to promote my charitable
causes and it has HELPED. It has made a bigger difference than any other
campaign I have tried to promote awareness for all my causes, charitable and
domestic. Facebook connects me to friends living in other countries that I don’t
speak to regularly. That is what it should be for and I support that. I support
this new age of socialized interactions among humans. It is completely
different than the Facebook I met back in 2004, completely. But it is also
different than the Facebook I experienced in 2011… maybe not, but the people I
know using it are. I’m no longer affiliated with many people whom I knew to use
it abusively. Everyone I have had the privilege to interact with and whom have
accepted me as a media “friend” after everything, have been incredibly supportive
as every day is still a little bit traumatic for me.

Every day I’m terrified there will be a humiliating picture
of me posted or some secret revealed that I was better off never knowing, a
trust broken forever…I still DO NOT approve of anyone posting a picture of me
without permission, nor do I like to throw out personal stories (when I do
realize the people who are wanting them now in my life do not judge). It
terrifies me to be judged and to be addicted to this phenomenon of being “liked”
socially. I’ve fought so hard to not be drawn into whether people like me or
not, and come running to see how many likes my posts get. I don’t want to be
attached to how many people “like” a picture of my children and then be up all
night wondering “why she didn’t like my post… is she mad at me? Are we in a
fight I didn’t know about? Did I offend her? Does she think my kid is ugly? Did
I forget to tag her or her business so now she’s not speaking to me?”….
uncontrollable spiral of self doubt that stems from one tiny “cute picture” of
myself or child. It’s exhausting and what I didn’t like to begin with at the
roots. Weekly angst about a picture… it still exists on a smaller scale, but
now it is a lot different, and a lot more positive and I am different too. The
difference is that now I need it. I need it to connect professionally. But the
kicker is…. The real kicker…. I like it. “Like” it a little too much. It is
nice to see everyone and be connected, especially now that I work from home. I
can actually have an adult conversation once in awhile in my (home) office.
Thank you Facebook for that opportunity. You still scare me, but I know it’s
me, not you.

So there you have it… my history, my confessions, and my
apology. I’m here, socializing with media, fully accepting my scarlet title of the
world’s biggest hypocrite.
{HUGE Back Story
Footnote}
My senior year of high school there was this huge controversy on
a forum called Oregonlive.com where high school students could start threads
and post things anonymously about teams and other people. I was a major target
unfortunately. There were posts about me that suggested I was sleeping with my
coach (female) for playing time, was a “disgrace” to the sport, should be shot
in a dark alley for missing that play, etc. These were all posted by anonymous people,
whom I actually knew to be my own teammates at the time, which made practices
super fun. There is more, but that’s for another day. Bottom line: I had
pre-developed impressions of online forums where you could post and reply to
comments. Oregonlive no longer allows anonymous posters thanks to our reactions
and complaints for my case. I’m sure I wasn’t the only HS athlete to ever be humiliated
on an internet forum, but regardless I am now super sensitive and permanently
scared, so when my name is on the internet I instantly panic. It also
dramatically affected the way I went on to coach and teach girls to respect
each other, so I guess I came out with the win.


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