Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Life on Facebook

At its worst life on Facebook can feel like you are competing for "ratings" in a reality show that you have constructed to represent your life. At its best it can be the most accurate account of our existence.

Supporting the latter is an amazing video edited to "Paint it Black" chronicling a man's life listed as Alex Droner. Between logging on to Facebook for the very first time to the final day he "logs off" -- he cycles through almost every romanTECH rite of passage: the first relationship status change, the first time he was tagged an incriminating photo, his first break up and eventually uploaded photos from his wedding and family life.

Although this account is poignant and pretty amazing, is following someone's Facebook stream really an accurate portrayal of their life? My first inclination was no, with the obvious arguement behind it, we are more than the content we share through our social media channels. But after further examination and scrutinizing the streams of my network (including my own newsfeed) I changed my answer.

Here's why: it's not only relationship declarations and vacation photos that reveal the stories of our lives--sometimes you need to read between the status updates. Recently I observed the newsfeed of a friend I've known for years but hadn't talked to directly. She was sharing quotes on personal strength and the path to happiness, when I clicked on her photos, results from a phenomenal weight loss were revealed. Another example: I looked through photo albums of a guy friend and could see a girl I never met in and out of his pictures for the past 24 months. Starting on his arm at a wedding in 2009, dropping out of photos for a while, reappearing on a trip to Europe, dropping out again and than surfacing in an album from this New Years Eve. My read between the status assement? It's complicated, although people only use that button as a joke these days.


  1. There's a scene in the documentary "Truth or Dare" (yes I realize how pathetic it is that I am referenceing a movie about Madonna and her Blond Ambition tour - I had a f**k'd up childhood) where her doctor after examining her asks if she'd like to comment off camera. Warren Beatty (her bitch-boy at the time) chimes in with, "She doesn't want to live off camera."

    It almost seems as though people don't want to live off of Facebook anymore. That somehow unless you can post 200 plus pictures of your trip to Europe replete with overly obvious explanations (as though we've never seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa before), that it detracts from the experienece of it. I guess that pasta in Tuscany, or those tapas in Lisbon don't taste as good if you can't elicit some envy from everyone you know over how "worldly" you are for taking advantage of that discounted group tour that you found on Expedia. Don't get me wrong, I am all for sharing the major events in your life with the people that matter, but sometimes it's those things that belong just to us that gives them a special relevance. The guy who sat three cubicles away from me during that intership I had my senior year of college who sweat profusely through his button down oxford shirt doesn't need to be included in the most intimate aspects of my life. That what makes it MY LIFE.


  2. Ha I just heard a blast of Bon Jovi at the end of that..."it's my's now or never..." Don't worry I'm from NJ so have much respect!

    I compare Facebook to my hometown bar. I always call it home, but everytime I'm there I run into people and things I just don't want to deal with.

    I heard a shitty quote recently by some industry pundit, "if people don't share it, it didn't happen" -- but I feel like recently the oversharing of our lives has hit its tipping point. I'm thinking sharing will continue but it is going to be in more appropriate forums for your closer friends and family versus with the 800+ people in our Facebook networks. That being said I'll save oversharing my life for my blog.

    Thanks for your provocative comments always!