In the span of the 7 years since 2010 when I first opened my Facebook profile, I have not made a single extended post. On the other hand, like everyone else, I’ve seen my fair share of the self-inspiring, reflective blog-like statements. Personally, I think they’re actually more interesting than the quick selfies, indignant one-sentence status updates, or endless meme tags (which, as much as I find them amusing, it’s only for a split second). Maybe it’s because the big load of text looks more like a story that it catches my eye more easily. Though, I know that’s the majority opinion for people, but these kinds of long, introspective posts are becoming more and more ubiquitous.
Requirements of a Facebook Post:
Have an attention-grabbing first sentence: If you’re flipping through Facebook newsfeed, presumably on a phone, you need something that screams for attention under your thumb. Stop. Click on the blue, See More to hunt for something a little bit more contemplative. And usually it is.
Example #1: “Freshman year wasn’t what I was hoping for and it wasn’t what I expected.” …See More
You click, and there’s the rest of the story. If you want your friends to notice your monologue, you better have something to tie them down amongst all the memes and other not-so-special snowflakes littered in social media.
Know that it’s very, very public: This is a key difference between a Facebook post and the more formal writing settings I’ve worked in up till now. With essays or short stories, the audience always ends up being people who inevitably seek it for themselves to some extent: professors grading my papers, poetry and fiction enthusiasts who pick up literary journals where I’m published in, people who like reading blogs that I’ve contributed to. In essence, they’re interested based on the subject, and genre of the work I’m doing.
But now look at Facebook. Assuming I’m not a celebrity with a bookmarked public profile, my audience is simply anyone who has taken the grace of FB friending me. Some of these people are high school friends who haven’t seen me in years. Some are old middle school teachers. Some are people in my Tue-Thur ACC 301 class. My audience is characterized by my network, not so much by their interests.
Rather, they’re more characterized by mine, by which communities and spaces I’ve chosen to engage in. So I need to know that, in being open with my opinions of stereotypes of the people around me, it’s subject to the judgment of all those whom I’ve ever said a passing hello to on the Ann Arbor streets, back home in Troy, or have had the deepest heart-to-heart low-key therapy sessions in the car with.
Do I care about them?
Especially if it’s something personal about my life.
Which it is.
Especially if the opinions I voice are about the people I see every day. I need to tread carefully, for risk of offending them. Depending on how much I care, that is, again.
I had a friend who came out as bisexual on Facebook last year. At the time, one late evening, I was doing homework, had fallen asleep at my desk, then woke up to blindly scroll through newsfeed. Then I see the his post through half-blurry vision. “Obligatory Social Media Post About A Closet:…”
Example #2. Also with an interesting opening sentence. And subject to the opinions of his family, relatives, friends (old, new, and those flirting the gray areas between acquaintance, okay friend, and confidante), and any other random person he’d allowed his profile viewable to.
Knowing that, I have to know that in a Facebook post, I have to be cognizant of what people might think, (or what I don’t care what they think). It’s directly tied to my image among people at my level. Personable. Real. Direct.
Be candid: Again. Be personable. The people you address in a thoughtful Facebook post are people you may see on the streets in an hour or two. If you falsify yourself, there is always someone who knows that you lied. That it’s a façade. Granted that social media is already a melting pot of 75% fakeness anyways, with the prettiest things at the top of the page earning 50+ likes and the most boring scattered among the memes with 1-2 likes each.
The ugliest also get a lot of attention, but again, they come up in these kinds of posts often. That’s the kind of relatability that garners a lot of likes, loves, reacts, etc. too, depending on how you word it.
Example #3: “SINCE everyone has something to say or jokes to make from ill-informed people or reading past statuses without asking questions. Maybe because you think you know something about me or just want to live in ignorance…”
Calling out other people’s BS is always one kind of “ugly” that I can respect. Hats off to you, #3.
Have a conclusive, What now?: To finish off, you want to sound completed by the end of it. You need something that says to all the random readers of your life, yes, I got a motive for posting this to the social media realm. With me, perhaps I receive the satisfaction that by calling out to the people whom know me, the people who are immersed in the exact environments and stereotypes in cultures I speak of, I’d tell them honestly a truth, just mine. Not fact, but just an opinion. Or if I don’t have quite a definitive positive ending, I can complete it by admitting my incompleteness, my unsureness of the future or how that affects my days going forward. In that sense, I have another kind of conclusion.
“I don’t know what’ll happen after this…But I know that I’ll be searching for new things. And I will be okay.”
Proposal: For my experiment, I want to attempt writing a Facebook post of my experiences going through different communities while in college, in a rather objective way. Kind of like an extra short critique of the kinds of stereotypes I see in each space I’m familiar with (business, art), and where I see myself personally fitting in with it, and where I feel the distance. Conclusively, I want to make a statement on whether I feel, at the end of the day, if it is okay that I don’t fit in any place completely. Hopefully, other people can relate to that reality.