which song is about who now?

Yesterday Juan Baez III (He makes us call him that…we have to pronounce it “eye eye eye.”) did a guest post about my current Facebook / social networking diet.

I had feared that my posts talking about this issue weren’t very clear (Who would have thought my incessant rambling would not be easily understood?) as to exactly why I was doing it. So, here goes attempt number four.

I originally touched on how Facebook consists of a lot of posturing. A good bit of preening happens before you post something on Facebook. Sometimes it’s as simple as only uploading the pictures of you that make you look good. Other times it’s spending a couple minutes figuring out the best way to say something in a short, concise manor so you look more smarter. As I said before, this creates an idealized image. And heck, anyone who doesn’t do this and whines about being unhappy all the time, those people are ‘hidden’ from view, furthering the pristine aesthetic. So that’s Facebook.

Another portion of the net I’ve stepped away from is my RSS feeds. This is something that I myself have preened to perfection. I’ve found all the sites I like, and I’ve assembled them together in Google Reader to make some sort of Tony Entertainment Nexus. A portion of this is idealized visions of other people (their blogs). Other portions are made up of funny videos, good music, pretty pictures. What it ends up creating is this world view perfectly tailored to my ideal life. It’s all good, and no bad. If any bad gets through, I skip past it, or I’ll eventually remove that RSS feed.

So here’s the basis of my problem: A very large portion of the “good” in my life, is coming from a glowing screen I sit at all day. When I’m NOT looking at this constant flow of good stuff, I’m in my car, or on the bus, or at home raising my kids. Much of that time I can’t do anything to create my own good stuff. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but right now we’re in a tough spot of having a newborn and a temperamental 3 year old. That means a lot of my time at home is spent managing Noah, and once he’s in bed, Teresa and I are so tired we can barely manage to do more than fall asleep on the couch watching TV. So externally, the world is great, my friends are having fun, creative people are being wonderfully creative, and life is good. Internally, I have the stress of a job and life, a self loathing at my own failure to be creative, and a sense that I have no free time to do anything I want to do. THIS is the essence of my problem. Right now I feel like I don’t have control over making my own happiness, and while it may not be true, the Tony Entertainment Nexus is telling me that everyone else has a great handle on theirs.

All that aside, here’s the truth of this situation. I do have control over my own happiness. While it may be difficult sometimes, it’s my job to remind myself that, despite their Facebook pages, other people don’t have perfect lives either. I have no plans to permanently disconnect myself from the social web, and it’s not going to change itself to my liking, so it’s on me to figure out how to deal with this external/internal dilemma. But if learning to deal with that includes cutting myself off for a while, or maybe every once in a while, then so be it. When I “come back” on Thursday, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to dive back right back in and go back to where I was. Perhaps I’ll try to trim down that enormous RSS list (which will be very long after not looking at it for a week). Maybe I’ll limit my Facebook use to certain times. Who knows. All in all, I’m glad I’ve done this so far, if for no other reason than to prove to myself that I can. I never claimed to be addicted to Facebook, but anybody can say “I’m not addicted. I’ll stop right after this.”