December 4, 2014
We Just Want To Be Heard
I have noticed myself lately typing up statuses on Facebook and then deleting them with the thought, "Well, know one wants to read that." They have been a mixture of random thoughts, things I've been doing, small observations that I have happened upon. I suppose you could say I have been trying to post only meaningful statuses, and share information that people actually care about.
Catching myself with a thought of, "I'm not going to post this, who even cares?" made me start to wonder... why do we share random thoughts and observations on Facebook? Why do we scroll down our newsfeed and find a plethora of statuses about the pretty tree we walked past, the fact that we stubbed our toe on the counter, that we just bought a zucchini for dinner tonight? Why do we post the much reviled, vague statuses that just barely indicate that something is going on, but without sharing any information at all? Why do we update with every thought that pops into our head?
There are countless articles out there about types of Facebook statuses that need to stop, and how we need to stop throwing personal information that no one cares about out there. Social media gets a lot of bad rap for destroying true socialization and creating a false front of "Hey, look at my perfect life!" intermingled with a healthy dose of "Oh gosh - can you just see all the drama I have to deal with???" We all know this, we all jump in to roll our eyes and remark how annoying it is... so then why does everyone still do it?
I think the simple answer is that we just need to be heard. We are lonely, we want someone to pay attention. We share our random thoughts because there isn't anyone to speak them too, we want someone to hear and tell us we are funny, or profound, or smart. We post vague, cryptic statuses when something is wrong because we want someone to know that we are hurting or upset, but we are afraid to open up and be completely vulnerable. We share information online, because it's safer. We could talk to someone, but it's easier to share pieces of yourself when you are face to face with a screen rather than a real person.
Opening ourselves up in person is a risk. We might end up being laughed at - or maybe we'll find out the hard way we aren't as funny as we think we are. Maybe the eyes of the person we've dared to confide in will glaze over, or respond only with an awkward "Oh, I'm sorry" when we are looking for sympathy and understanding. We might end up wishing we'd never said anything at all. When we share online, the worst that can happen to us is that no one clicks the "like" button.
You can argue that social media is what caused our loneliness and insecurity and if we didn't have social media we wouldn't feel the need to over-share or under-share or sort of share on it. Or maybe, our loneliness and insecurity was all there before and now, now it simply has a place to be let go. You can look at it either way. Whatever the cause, the need to be acknowledged is there. Maybe that's why, as we continue to complain and make lists of all the Facebook statuses that need to go away, we don't stop making them. Maybe we all just want to be heard.