Don’t look so surprised. I know you’ve thought it, too. Sure, you can try to fool yourself. I joined to keep in touch with friends and family. I like being able to share pictures of how much our kids have grown. I lost touch with Nancy in college and we’ve reconnected! Isn’t that wonderful?
Yes. It’s great. If that’s what it’s used for. But there’s a whole new element that no one talks about. We expect the younger set to be catty. After all, they’re young. That’s what they do. And also not surprising is the fact that females between the ages of 18-24 make up the largest groups of users on Facebook. (http://www.istrategylabs.com/2009-facebook-demographics-and-statistics-report-276-growth-in-35-54-year-old-users/) But the group with the largest growth, up 276.4% from last year, is females ages 35-54.
And we haven’t changed. We’re still the same catty bunch from our high school years. Don’t tell me you didn’t look at Karen’s profile, notice that she was still single at age 45 and think, ‘Yep. I always knew she was gay.’ Or how Susie has really put on the weight – you’ve aged much better than she has! Or how “Cutest Couple” divorced within 5 yrs – you predicted that, too. And if you keep these thoughts to yourself, it’s fine. It’s normal.
What isn’t normal, at least from the perspective that we mature and get wiser in our old age, is continuing the catty trend publicly. In our neighborhood “friends” of mine post pictures of their Poker Party Bash (wasn’t invited), John’s 40th Surprise Party (wasn’t invited), Renee’s Birthday Dinner (wasn’t invited), Debbie’s Birthday Night on the Town Celebration (wasn’t invited). I serve on committees, play Bunco, play tennis and go to bookclub with these people. Our children play together at the pool. I thought we were “friends.”
A friend of mine who was invited to the Debbie Birthday Bash refused to be in the pictures they were taking. They asked, why? She said, “Because you’re going to post these on Facebook and someone who wasn’t invited is going to feel hurt. I don’t want to be a part of that.” A discussion stirred up feelings on inadequacy, insecurity, etc. They explained that they wanted people to know they lived a full social life. They wanted the guy that ignored them in high school or the clique of popular girls that always excluded them, people they were “friends” with now on Facebook, to know that they had beautiful friends, fancy cars, gorgeous homes and went fabulous places.
The following night the pictures went up. They all looked fabulous. They all looked like they were having the best time. And about an hour later, Debbie posted the pictures of the Renee’s Birthday Dinner – an event that occurred two months ago, an event my friend wasn’t invited to. I guess Debbie got the last word.