22 November 2016

These days my Facebook feed fills up with posts from our students at Wall Street. I don’t really mind having them as my Facebook friends, and as the Online Community Representative it seems appropriate to, though perhaps not necessary.

Since most of these students are high school kids, each time I go on Facebook, I am transported into the tumultuous world of teenagers – the highs and lows, the drama, the attention-seeking. 

It’s pretty interesting.

I never had Facebook in high school. We used Hi-5 and there wasn’t an equivalent of a news feed where you fight for seconds of others’ attention – claim your space in the sea of status updates, so to speak.

It makes me wonder if I would have been like them had there been Facebook. Would I have bared every ups and downs in my emotional state for all to see in the hopes of getting a few likes or catching the attention of that one person.

I’d like to think not. But I’m not sure.

Looking back at my earliest posts from my late teens, I see similarities – the need for others to acknowledge my emotions, my thoughts, my “me”; the willingness to let my so-called friends into my innermost sanctum.

Is it that Facebook gives us a space to indulge this urge to be public? Or does it implant upon us this desire, intrusively imposing a habit that we otherwise wouldn’t have? 

These are interesting questions.

I lean towards saying yes to the first. I think we all have this strong, though sometimes hidden, desire to share. Friends, in my opinion, are individuals we share with – our time, our thoughts, our plans, our feelings, our insecurities. 

With Facebook, sharing becomes easier and debatably more effective: you can share instantly with more people. Granted, the attention your friends give to your status updates is likely more careless than one given in a face-to-face conversation. But presumably they’d still become aware of what you want to share with them and respond – be it via comments, chat or the next time you meet.

And the more you feel acknowledged, the more you share.

Is this a good thing? I don’t know.

I like it when my friends share, because it gives me a window into their lives, sets up topics of conversation.

I used to think me sharing on Facebook was a good thing, but not anymore. It’s not that I’ve become more private. It’s just that I began to feel I was sharing for the wrong reasons: I just wanted to be seen, to be heard. It’s not different from wearing a fluorescent bird suit and dancing in a crowded mall.

So yes, seeing my students’ hourly posts about their love lives and their school woes has led me on this train of thought, and I just wanted to share.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

Let me know what you think.



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