Thursday, April 04, 2013

NaPoWriMo #3: social media

I have a love-hate relationship with the internet in general and social media in particular. I love how easy it is to keep in touch with my family, who have spread out in an ever-expanding manner. I love how easy it is to find facts, recipes, and educational resources. I'm finding lately, though, that I have much to regret: hours that I waste online, rather than being engaged with my family; how I allow my expectations for myself and those around me to be skewed by standards so completely disconnected with reality. It would be easy to make a break if it weren't for the benefits, so I'm struggling to find a balance.

Today I read a post on Segullah, a blog for Mormon women, about how we present ourselves on the internet. It articulated nicely some of my main complaints about social media, and (somewhat surprisingly) inspired today's poem. It was interesting to me that many readers claimed to have no problem with viewing others' posts, pins or status reports and feeling jealous or perceiving them as trying to appear superior. So maybe it's just a few of us with weak character that struggle with it--on the other hand, I know I'm not the only one amongst my acquaintance because recently a good friend shared a link on Facebook to this blog post about how social media informs the way some of us feel like we are expected to go overboard in the way we celebrate holidays. Not that I agree with the entire post, but it raises interesting issues. Do I feel the need to compete with others to show I'm "doing it right"?

Lest you think I'm casting stones, I freely admit to thinking almost all of the things I say below--so this is an indictment of myself, if you will.

Reality Check

It’s a big, bad, braggety brag-brag world
out there
in the rarified air
of the social media stratosphere
full of tweets, reviews, pins, pix and posts

my kids are smarter than
my boyfriend is hotter than
my house is neater than
my lunch is tastier than
my garden is greener than
my outfit is cuter than
my carbon footprint is smaller than
my recipe is better than
my cat is fluffier than
my crafts are more clever than

please pay attention to
who my friends are
what politician I support
where I went to high school
what products I use
where I went for dinner last night
what I ate
who I’m engaged to
what game I’m playing
where I shop
who’s on my blog roll
what I’m wearing
where I went for spring break
why this movie star is hot
and that celebrity is an idiot
and oh, yes
how cute my baby is

I’m so much more
frugal fertile
funny fashionable
clever creative
connected compassionate
sweet skinny sincere
socially aware
political progressive
healthy intelligent
(and did I mention well-read?)
than you

some days it’s exhausting
just hitting the on button
but the part that gets me
where it hurts
is I allowing myself to get sucked in
to buy into it, all of it
every time the voice in my head
responds with
oh yeah?
instead of good
good for you
every time I don’t just walk away
every time I post or repin or share
something that I think will make me
look even better
every time I try to edit
or tweak
or crop
or spin
or photoshop
just to outdo someone else’s standard
of how things should be
I’m making it my own
impossibly high bar for being

who do I think I’m fooling?
that big, bad world
or myself?


Anonymous said...

Nice One!
Check out my blog entry from last night...simple, but related (mostly pics, so you're in and out in a flash!) <3 Happy NaPoWriMo, Chicklegirl!

Elizabeth Maurer said...

er, that was from me, Lizzie @

chicklegirl said...

Thanks, Lizzie. I tried to comment on your post but it told me I had to log on with a Wordpress account, so I'm not sure my comment went through. Just in case not: your post was lovely. We must be on similar wavelengths, about how easy it is to neglect the things that matter most when we get distracted by superficial things. ((hugs))