I bought a gift for someone the other day. It was a plaque which read "I love my computer. All my friends live inside it."
Well, it takes one to know one, I suppose.
For most of us it's true. Even with friends who we know well in "real life", we communicate these days with them by email; on Facebook; by text.
What happened to the long, long phone calls we used to have with our friends?
"Well, huh?" say those of you with a y chromosome, "I can't remember many of those. I used to pick up the phone to my mate, say "Beer o'clock," and ten minutes later we'd meet up down the pub. These days I just text "Beer," instead."
(And my apologies for being ridiculously sexist there, but my point is based on observation and a true story.)
So yes, these days, I do most of my communication through the internet. Oh, and guess what, it's how I'm communicating with you right now!
But I'm careful.
I love Facebook, completely love it. I've met writers from all over the world and readers too. I've received nothing but encouragement and support from the gorgeous people I've met.
But I've also seen the darker side and nearly got caught up in the (needless) drama of it all. I've had to sit back on many occasions and say to myself firmly the words "Not your monkeys. Not your circus!"
So my demons don't post on Facebook. Facebook only gets one side of me and I unashamedly work on making all my comments warm, positive, witty and wise (with the unexpected and unwanted consequence that I end up being something of an agony aunt to friends caught up in that circus drama!)
It doesn't mean I'm dishonest. There's a facility for sending personal messages within FB. These are seen only by the intended recipient. It's there I can be more open and serious.
But Facebook is like a party; a party where everyone's celebrating and having a good time. Occasionally it's used for a more serious purpose like raising awareness of a particular issue, and of course, all of us have friends who post angry political statements. There seems to be quite a few of those around at the moment for some reason...
It's not a place to hang out if watching people have fun makes you feel bad. If looking at your friend's photo of their daughter hugging (yet another) sporting trophy makes you feel empty and futile, if you think you will scream if yet another cat meme pops up in your home feed.
Be sensible. Choose your computer friends carefully, post wisely, retreat quietly when necessary. Share your demons only with those you trust.
A Moodscope member.