Bragging rights

I don’t know when it started to happen, but I’ve noticed recently that this one thing has really started to annoy me.

Facebook.

OK, it’s not Facebook itself that annoys me. It’s the content that I see day after day.

Yes, I understand that it is my choice to log in day after day and see what it has to “offer me.”

More often than not, what it has to offer me is a bunch of people bragging about very trivial matters.

I was talking about this with Phyllis the other day and then mid-way through my point I interrupted myself and said, “Well, I guess I can’t complain … I always brag about my running-related achievements.” Most recently was my 16-minute marathon PR!! (Are you tired of hearing about that?)

But, Phyllis (being a good friend) said posting things on Facebook that have to do with achieving something that you put a lot of hard work and effort into is different from — everything else. This “everything else” category usually has to do with Instagram photos of gifts you may have received. Or, anything that has to do with showing off that you have a lot (or some) money and means.

But, it’s not just the materialistic bragging that annoys me.

The emo status updates about “I had a bad day” but then being vague about what the cause was … those annoy me too. Or, the ones that are along the lines of “OMG, I have such great luck/news/prospects!” and then not sharing with the class what exactly you are excited about … those equally annoy me.

 

Maybe I’m just easily annoyed.

But, seriously, not all things have equal bragging rights.

Right?

 

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Not another Facebook post

In less than two months, it’ll be six years that she’s been gone.

I hate the thought that I’ll soon be 25 years old and she remains as her 18-year-old self, well, in my memories anyway.

Memories are a funny thing. While wasting time on Facebook than finish a job application I need to send out, I was trying to figure out a way (without converting to Timeline) to see my first wall post. I had a feeling it was from her. It was either her, or my high school prom date. Back when the wall was pretty much what it sounds like … a text box for anyone to come by and post on. Seriously! Anyone could have erased what you commented on your friend’s wall to replace it with their own words!

I don’t understand this wall natalia. It seems like anyone can just go on and erase what other people have written. I don’t understand facebook. See you soon. I LOVE THE CD! -kristin

The words above come straight from what appears to be my first wall post on Natalie’s wall. I signed my name because as I described, everyone’s wall comments appeared in one text box back in the old days … This was July of 2005.

Things I worry about when I over-think things slash get myself in a “bad place” include: I’ll die alone with no husband or children; I’ll be trapped at my current job forever; I’ll lose my job and never get a new one; My future children will be ugly have no sense of humor …

Today it was: What will Natalie’s profile look like once Facebook forces everyone to convert to Timeline? She will never have a cover photo! — which is so unfair because she would have selected the most kick-ass photo (that she would have taken).

I don’t remember a lot of specifics from Natalie’s memorial service Celebration of Life — too many tears to have an adequate memory — but I do recall someone mentioning that as time goes on, the pain of a loved one’s death lessens, just as a cut on one’s hand will heal and turn into a scar.

The scar appears from time to time on Facebook, or when I scroll past her name on my cellphone — yes, my phone is that old and I have issues deleting her number. The scar also is noticeable when Mates of State or Sondre Lerche play on my iTunes shuffle. Or, if I just see a cool graphic design on a sign. She was studying visual communication design.

I actually don’t think it’s fully a scar yet, more of a scab. I have to remember not to pick at the scab though because you know what happens when you pick at scabs … the wound reopens and it bleeds.

So, sometimes I want to cover the scab-to-be-scar with a Band-Aid so I don’t have to see it. So there is no potential for me to pick at it. But, at the same time, I don’t want to forget anything — even the memories of our first Facebook interaction.

Or this gem: Hi I’m Natalie, aka Deminem. I’m addicted to coffee because VCD is just that taxing. But what can I say? Its the life of an artistic genius. I like scruffy boys who share my design flaire and its a plus if you can sing in falsetto. But don’t be patronizing or I’ll kick your butt with my gymnastics-toned muscles. — Natalie’s Facebook status, June 2005

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[I swear the 24-hour Disneyland adventure recap will be my next post. I promise!]

Lent for the perfect person

It’s been a tradition more or less since college for me to give up Facebook during Lent. However, last year I didn’t make it too far. (Search “Lenten failure” on this blog).

I just can’t shake Facebook. Too many people use it as a regular form of communication. So, why give it up knowing I just cannot resist the temptation?

What would I give up for Lent then?

I don’t smoke. I don’t binge drink. I don’t frequently use curse words. I don’t cut people off while driving. I don’t back-stab friends. What does the perfect person do then?

Give up Facebook, anyway. I won’t check Facebook during working days plus Saturdays, which just leaves Sundays. Sometimes, as of recent, I even have Facebook open the entire time I am at the office and will respond to other people’s posts in mere seconds. Now you’ll be lucky if you get any response at all.

I’m not religious in any sense but I did go to a Catholic Jesuit high school that has instilled this “sacrificing of something” during Lent practice. It’s a time to give you more time to reflect on yourself and your surroundings. I’ll probably be way more productive without Facebook anyway.

Also of note, I will give up bacon from tomorrow to Easter. And, I won’t even go to the store now to binge-eat some tasty crunchy strips. (I am a vegetarian who eats only bacon + dairy and seafood … I’m not a vegan!)

This perfect person* is just about to become more perfect!

 

*I am fully aware that I am nowhere near perfect.

A shout out to the birthday duo: Happy birthdays mom and dad!

The story, is that my mom is an avid Solitaire player. I actually do not know if she is any good, though I have walked by her playing on the computer and have seen all the cards shuffling (flying?) on the screen, signifying a successful game.

For a while, she had been saying she wanted “a Facebook” so she could have “little friends” of her own. My brother and I ignored these comments. Finally about a month ago, she created a Gmail account, which led to her being able to make a Facebook account. The next week she even got an iPad. These are all really big steps for this woman — I mean, look, she was calling Facebook, “a Facebook!”

She mainly uses her iPad to play Solitaire — now whenever and wherever she feels like. She hardly has any Facebook activity.

The friend request she had sent my brother had been pending for a long time. He never accepted it. But, one day he logged onto his Facebook on her iPad and forgot to log out — rookie mistake! — and she therefore accepted her own friend request herself through his account. Like any mother, she perused his friends. Later asking him, why he is friends with so-and-so and so-and-so. I had to explain that Facebook friends are not all real friends.

She went on to play her Solitaire, bored with our Facebook musings.

My brother and I discussed getting her an iPad case for her birthday, but then we decided there would be no point since it never leaves the house. She’s probably at home playing Solitaire right now — even if it is my dad’s birthday today.

Happy birthday to my dad, and happy birthday tomorrow to my mom!

[If you are wondering why this was such a mom-focused post, take a look at last year’s parental birthday post! The story was that my dad almost drowned one of his sisters …]

It’s not creepy. It’s my job.

It is not in my job description, but my job forces me to act creepy. Below is the list of “get away, you’re being creepy!”

  • Running a solid 30 seconds to a minute in boots after a couple walking on a trail. When I caught up to them panting, the man asked me where I came from, and I admitted that I walked then jogged after them (in order to get an interview).
  • Snapping photos outside of a middle school on a sunny day and going up to the tweens and asking them for their names and what grade they’re in. (At least I kept the candy in my pockets and didn’t ask the ones waiting around after the school bus had left if they needed a ride).
  • When the phone — and computer — systems were down for what seemed like an entire day, I drove 20 minutes to the agency’s downtown office to get some answers for a story. I cornered the person I needed to speak to right before a meeting he had.
  • For a running story, I couldn’t find any runners — apparently when it is rainy, people don’t run much out here. So, I looked through recent local marathon results online, searching by hometown to find potential local people to talk to. After gathering a few at random, I selected names that “looked” like they would be friendly.
  • Pushing my way into the center of a break dance-off. No, I don’t like being around sweaty teens who have rhythm, but I need good photos!
  • I helped a coworker find an ex-girlfriend on Facebook. But, it wasn’t as simple as searching her name in the Facebook search bar. There was a series of steps that involved verifying her graduation through the university’s online records, which led to her full name (she had like three middle names). Then her full name was entered into a Google search which came up with an out-of-state wedding announcement. She got married and changed her last name. Eventually found her through her husband’s Facebook profile page. Phew.

I’m sure there are more incidents that I now just think of as being “normal.” Reporters make for good stalkers, I mean, investigators.

A Lenten Failure

I’ve run a marathon without walking. How’s that for not failing? I have a job in the dying field of journalism graduating with the class of 2009, where our president directed words to us along the lines of being the closest to his heart because we were graduating in a horrible economic climate. How’s that for not giving up? — You don’t even want to know the number of cover letters I sent out.

When I set my mind to do something, I do it.

However, I cannot get myself to stop using Facebook. (And why do I always capitalize the “f”? Their logo is lowercase!)

I gave up Facebook for lent.

Less than a week into lent, I checked into my account to do some “housekeeping.” I needed to read a message from a friend who is working abroad to figure out what time we would be Skyping. I needed to check information on the Nike Women’s Marathon — apparently the company likes to keep 2011 info on Facebook and old 2010 race details on the website. I “needed” to accept a friend request so that the person did not think I was just sitting on the decision for 40 days. After spending less than 10 minutes using Facebook solely for the three mentioned tasks, I quickly logged off. No checking friends’ latest status updates. No looking at recently uploaded photos from various getaways.

But, as the days passed on, I was itching to go back. As sad as it is, people update others on their lives by posting on Facebook just as equally (if not more) as they do in real life. And yes, they are things that I would find out eventually, or my (close) friends will tell me in person either when I see them or over the phone. I still felt out of the loop.

They assume I should already know! They expect that if it is on Facebook, word will somehow get back to me, or that I will see what they post!

At least my cousin took the time to text me that she got into one of the local university’s here. But other than that, “No, sorry, I did not know you were planning to go to grad school, I haven’t been on Facebook.” “You got a cat? I hadn’t seen the photo, I haven’t been on Facebook.” “Happy early birthday! Oh wait, your birthday is today?! Sorry, I forgot, Happy Birthday!” (I haven’t been on Facebook to check the exact date, I am bad with remembering birthdays other than the month.)

It now just seems best to break my Lenten promise. Afterall, being a reporter, I need my “news” timely. Hopefully I won’t go to hell.

Lent for the non-Catholic Facebook addict

An e-mail I received in my inbox this morning:

So i just got an email about this and I thought about you and how awesome this would be.  And then i went to go post on your fbook but wasn’t sure if you’d even get it, since today is Ash Wednesday and i remembered that you don’t look at facebook during lent (even though you’re NOT catholic) so i thought it best that i just email you directly.

My friend Julia knows me so well. Yes, lent begins today, which means devout Catholics will be giving up some temptation (aka bad habit) in their lives for the next 40 days and 40 nights. For me, that means I will try not to go on Facebook as much. Facebook is my vice.

I’m not Catholic. My family isn’t Catholic. I did go to a Catholic Jesuit high school though. And ever since graduating high school, I have more-or-less every year given up Facebook during lent. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink (excessively.) I don’t eat sweets. Having less Facebook in my life just seems like the right thing to do. My freshman year of college I deactivated my Facebook account therefore making Facebook “non-existent” for me.  However, my roommate told me that by getting rid of it, I was banishing the temptation and to really “do lent,” I would need to have the temptation there and just not give in to it.

Well, folks, that is what I am doing now. I don’t know how long I will last though. I have forgotten how some of my friends use the site as a primary source of communication now. (Um, pick up the phone!) Also, without logging onto Facebook, I won’t be able to link to this wonderful blog or my news clips — Hello? Is anyone even reading this? I also feel out of touch not checking it because I won’t know what is going on in everyone’s lives. (Who from my childhood is pregnant now? Who from college recently got a job? How am I supposed to keep track of these things now?)

In college, being on Facebook less meant more time for homework and studying. Now, it means more time for me. So, with my newly gained free time away from the social networking site, I will apply to jobs, clean my room, and maybe read an entire book. Or, perhaps relearn how to knit — I did knit an entire sweater vest by myself in the fifth grade. I am not kidding.

I don’t need you, Facebook. But, that doesn’t mean I won’t be counting the days until Easter!