Friday, January 23, 2015

Why Replacing Facebook with Failbook Needs to Be a Thing

I joined this mom/woman/church group a while back. It meets twice a month. There's free food and childcare (translation: worth my time). At our most recent meeting, another mom spoke up about Facebook posts and it went something like this:

"Does everyone really need to know about every single milestone your baby reaches? I mean, I feel like every time I go on, my news feed is filled with achievements, like this baby rolled over, this one said another word, this one can read a dictionary. Moms of older kids, has this gotten worse over the past few years? I feel like it's getting worse! Is it getting worse? What is going on?"

Now this particular mom is one of my favorites. She is the sweetest, most articulate little thing this world's ever seen. Coming from her, this was somewhat of an outburst. I'd never heard her sound irritated. My heart ached for her. I knew what she was feeling.

She'd been sucked into the Facebook pit of doom.

We've all been there. Annoyed, irritated, and feeling like deactivating our accounts...tired of people and posts and pictures. On the surface, we say it's because we're just "tired of seeing it!"...but why are we truly tired of seeing anything our supposed "friends" post? What is it that's really driving us nuts and making us want to block people? Sometimes it's because friends and family don't always share our belief system (I can name at least 3 people who continually make me scream "MORON!" at the top of my lungs).

But I don't think my mom friend was talking about that. She wasn't bothered by the beliefs of the other moms. She wasn't saying they were idiots for hitting milestones. No, she was bothered by the perceived boasting....the in-your-face attitude....the "look at me, look at me" behavior.

I've come to the conclusion that Facebook can absolutely break down self-esteem and turn perfectly normal people like me into stalkers. I'd say 50-60% of the time, I leave my Facebook page feeling awful.

Whoa, how is she still so skinny?!
Alright who is this hooker my ex is dating...
Um, crazy that they can afford that?

And to take it one step further, when you're in charge of directing and guiding and creating another person, the potential for Facebook damage is taken to a whole new level. Yes, I'm suggesting Facebook harm can be even more daunting, even darker, even more harmful for those trying to raise little people.

Her kid willingly eats vegetables?
Huh. I wish my husband would do that with our kids.
Another family vacation??

Now this topic has been beaten to death by bloggers all over the country. Stop comparing yourself to others - the New Years resolution for millions of us. But how many of us actually do anything about these feelings? How many of us willingly put ourselves out there, flaws and all, and let people see the reality of our lives? Is it really all that gross? Is it really all that terrible? Would it really hurt to only keep people in our life who accept us, crazy faces, misbehaving kids, and all? Could we potentially change the face of social media comparison by posting less pictures of perfection...and more pictures of imperfection?

Yep. That is exactly what I'm suggesting. Instead of posting only the good, the beautiful, and the perfect, let's flip the switch and post our epic fails, our uggo moments, and the imperfection that encases every one of our lives. I'm not saying no pretty pics, or successes, or fun times.....but how 'bout less Photoshop, more insane face pictures? I think there's a thing called Snapchat for that.....but why only a few seconds of funny? How about saving that moment for all time? How about making someone laugh? How about making ourselves laugh?

If you scroll through the contacts on my phone you'll see all assigned contact pictures are INsane. My girlfriend went running and was hit on by some dude so she snapped a picture of herself looking all sweaty and said, "Really?" Bam. It's now her contact picture. I think she looked gorgeous. My buddy used one of those crazy photo editors to make his nose abnormally long and freaky looking. BAM. His contact picture. He is totally handsome, partially because he can make me laugh at my saddest moments. My sister sent me a picture of herself in front of a gym mirror, no makeup, making a totally crazy face. Contact picture. My sister, the little kiddo I grew up with, does not need makeup to be one of the most stunning, kindhearted persons on this planet.

Are you catching my drift?

These pictures light up my life. They are the real people I've come to love and know and treasure with all my heart. They are the imperfect, flaw-filled loves of my life. I don't mind seeing professional pics and updates on how great your kid is doing....but when push comes to shove, those moments don't remind me of the reasons why I love you.

I have one Facebook friend who talks about getting her period and dying under a plate of nachos all the time. Another friend purposely closes her eyes in every picture she posts. Hilarious. This is what I'm talkin' about, people. Turn Facebook into Failbook. Believe me, everyone wants to see your mistakes. And no, I'm not talking about those emo, moody posts with some creepy song lyrics and an open-ended phrase that leaves everyone wondering if you're somehow mad at them. I'm talking about real, honest-to-goodness life fails. Reality.

Like when you're doing a rare workout and your little one stacks her ice-cream-lookin' legos next to you and you instantly want to eat them even though you know they are plastic.

And when you buy your daughter sparkle powder and then realize it's a poison pink cloud of shimmer and shame that wont come off your skin and gets literally everywhere.

Or when you try and schedule time to read to your kid but you take so long at the computer that she ends up reading books without you.

These are the real stories of my life. And we all have them. The woes my brave mom friend shared that day during our meeting resonated with everyone in the group. We now have a thread dedicated to posting our fails. Some of them are hilarious. Others are gut-wrenching. All are relatable. Knowing you aren't alone is the best feeling in the world.

And you know what else? You have the power to remove yourself from situations that you feel are non-conducive to positive self-image. I chose to narrow down my friend list dramatically, keeping primarily those people who add value to my feed (I'm still working up the guts to delete all those who add no value....I'm sucha sissy). I also choose to follow bloggers who celebrate imperfection and write about interesting, thought-provoking topics. I am slowly weeding out the "perfect mommy" blogs from my feed and instead dedicating my online reading time to improving myself and my flaws.

Life isn't a one-size-fits-all garment, nor should it be portrayed as such. We are each so unique and so powerful in our own way. We all struggle, even the moms with the perfectly-advanced kids. Who knows, maybe her marriage is in shambles. Maybe her kid can read a novel but still wets the bed. These are the things Facebook doesn't tell us...and we sometimes need to remind ourselves that regardless of how perfect it looks, everyone is struggling. Everyone. So add some comfort to the Facebook feed and toss out your latest fail. I guarantee it will make somebody's day.

Have any of my readers experienced problems with Facebook comparisons (or Pinterest, or Twitter...)? I know I've got some strong souls out there but let me have it - how many of you sign into your social media and feel awful when you're done checking your feeds? Tell me about it in the comments down below. As always, thank you so, so much for reading :)



  1. January has been a crazy busy month for me at work. I haven't signed on to my Facebook account once. I just don't have time to click like on all the cute kids, puppies and vacation pics. I haven't posted on FB in over a year, but my family tags me from time to time. I don't have anything to say there.

    I read years ago on Penelope Trunk's blog to write about your failures. That is what people want to read. They don't care that you went to your yoga class today. They want to read you intended to go to yoga, but didn't make it. I don't think it is because they want to see you fail - it is because they can relate.

    I read to learn - which is why I read your blog. Another great post Jen. And I'm so glad FB wasn't around when I was young. I would have never figured out who I was.

    1. Thank you so much Savvy. You know, if I didn't need Facebook for my social media management clients (one of them is linked to my personal page), I likely would've disabled it a long time ago. I get so, so frustrated with it. I try and post for my family, but sometimes even that seems to result in drama. I think Penelope is so totally right - everyone really does want to see you fail. And I totally agree with you....they don't want to see it because they are evil...they want to see it because it makes them feel better about themselves. What an unforgiving world we live in.

      Having you as a reader literally lights up my life :) Thank you so much for stopping by!!!!!

  2. I think we need to start a hashtag #failbook. I'll totally post a parenting fail every day if you do!! Oh the irony...bahahahahah!

  3. In all honesty--facebook has really always been a happy thing for me. I only got it in 2010, after I'd been living apart from my family for a few years, and I have a relatively small number of "friends" on there--mostly relatives and people I love dearly and want to keep up with--I want to hear about all of the great things in their lives--my huge, and widespread extended family is really close. I'm thrilled to see the pictures of wedding and newborns and all the awesome stuff that I'm always too far away to see in person...but you can imagine that I'm a fan of keeping social media funny as well. :)

    oh, and to answer your question about meds in China--there is a lot of 'traditional Chinese medicine' which is more herbal and homeopathic--but standard medical care is also available, it's just that certain medicines they don't have at all, as in, they are highly restricted and generally not allowed to be sold (Adderall, Benadryl) or they just aren't sold for inexplicable reasons (imodium).

    1. That's awesome - it sounds like you've really nailed your facebook friend list. Mine is still a work in progress! I think I would like it a whole lot more if I didn't need to see stupid people on it! haha!

      That is so crazy about the medicine restrictions - I would love to visit China one day. I am totally into the whole tea and salve healing stuff!! Thanks for the info :)

  4. I avoid Facebook like the plague - I haven't updated it in a year because there's no need. Anyone in my life, or blog, who require an updated status on my whereabouts or current situations will get it without the need to blast an additional amount of people who don't give a hoot. Besides, if I'm having a great day and feel the need to share with someone: I text or call my friends or boyfriend. That's it - I'm good. No need to blast it all over the internet lol I have nothing to prove and no desire to be on there. Alast, it's there, in idle mode. :) I message my dad that's it :) I agree it should be a failbook but I still wouldn't use it because either way the only ones who need to know are those with a Need-To-Know basis and most of them aren't on Face/Failbook. lol :) Have a great one Jennifer! -Iva

    1. Hahahaha you are the best. See, this is kinda what I want to do, too. I have to log in to Facebook for work (social media management), but I wish I didn't need to! I am also a huge fan of texting - but NO GROUP TEXTS! They are for the devil only! HAHA

      Anyways thanks for stopping by Iva :) Love ya!

  5. I love Facebook, but it does bug me when people act as though their lives are perfect. I post real life stuff. When I curse at my kids, my messes, stuff like that. It's what I prefer to see.

    So many times I want to write, "Cut the sh*t" when people try to make it seem like their house is spotless and their life is perfect.

    And by the way, thank you for the kind blog note you left :) My cat still randomly looks at the ceiling. I'm still freaked out a tad.

    1. You are specifically one of the bloggers I was talking about in this post. You post real stuff and I admire you for it. It's why I read your blog.

      You are so welcome - my heart is totally with you girl. I remember those days very clearly and truth be told, there is nothing anyone can say to make it better for you. But at least you've still got your humor! HAHA And a friendly-ghost-finding cat.....???