You’ve just come home from a party or event, and the first thing you do, even before peeling off your street clothes, gathering or collecting the accumulated miscellany of your long day, is feed your memory card / smartphone to your computer so you can show off / edit / select your precious pics to your Facebook friends.
You love a post about an ideology / life philosophy / lifehack so much that you replace your current Facebook profile pic with said post, letting the whole world know that such philosophy is now imprinted into your DNA.
You are “tagged” in a photo, meaning such photo gets posted in your Facebook account / page, but such photo is unflattering to you, meaning it doesn’t show off your good side, and you look like your eyes are half closed, your mouth is partially open or you look like you weren’t ready for the picture-taking, whatever. You unceremoniously “untag” yourself and banish such post, however well-meaning, from page, hmmmp.
Wow, I need my sunglasses for all those sparkling ivories and nodding heads. You too Mom?
Even if you’re only vaguely familiar with the above practices, like me you’ve probably been overtaken by events. The day when our social network avatars have become as important as our actual selves in manifesting our identity to the outside world is not coming, it has already arrived. Posting pictures of yourself and your social circle, recording the events of your life via your Facebook page, and receiving updates from everyone who matters to you has become an indispensable part of your life.
Jumping right in to my topic du jour, how close to reality is my Facebook page as an accurate representation of myself? More to the point, how far is how I want to be perceived as a person (as shown in my FB account) from how I am in the real world? I realize there is never gonna be a definitive answer to this, however I would probably be less than honest with myself if I didn’t try. I know that you, Precious Reader, may or may not appreciate what I’m trying to say since we may not even be Facebook friends, but I have a funny feeling that maybe just maybe you can relate.
doting father – lots of my FB posts are pictures of me and Mahal (my wife) with my three kids Panganay, Ganda and Bunso, giving me the appearance of a hands-on parent who’s a constant presence in their lives. The truth is, with their school, work and significant others, I hardly see them more than twice a month, but I’m cool with that. After all they are already young adults trying to get a foothold in the dog-eat-dog world of New Zealand migrants. However, when we do get together, Mahal and I try as much as possible to (1) get all three of them together, (2) indulge in a meal that reminds us best of home, and the easiest way to do that is to go Chinese, and (3) enjoy as much quality time as we can in the window of opportunity available. Result: I usually post pics of me and the kids in a haze of gastronomic content, all smiles and ready to share our most recent experiences in Windy Welly.
dutiful son – because I have a brother who’s also a professional photog, whenever the olds celebrate another milestone back home, he makes sure to tag me in the pics, and of course I gratefully comment on how the happy faces make me feel I’m right there with them. I do it every time I can, so my page is filled with pics of Dad, Mom, aunts, uncles cuzzies and everyone who makes the time to celebrate life, longevity and the chance to spend such with loved ones. FB friends tell me I’m so gung-ho with family, but I immediately tell them that I’m the lucky one, being able to carve out a life in the land of promise and seeing my relatives enjoy the fruits of their labor in the old country.
lucky hubby – everytime you see pics showcasing a Pinoy breakfast spread, a smart new shirt, an unexpected treat or a trip to town, it’s the consequence of a generous helping of thoughtfulness by wife Mahal who feeds me, clothes me, brings me to work when it’s too cold to bike and tucks me in when I’ve got an early shift ahead. This is the part of my FB profile that is truly accurate, and I can never show enough appreciation for my better half, what better way than to do it with my online avatar?
Facebook gamer – this is one aspect of my cyber self that I can’t avoid showing. As part of the deal using free addictive FB games, all the levels reached, points scored and milestones achieved get posted on my page, usually indicating the inordinate length of time I spend on Candy Crush Saga, Word Battle and Riddle Stones. I think it’s a fair exchange considering that I don’t need to visit any arcade and don’t waste any coins on mindless, compulsive activity that has become commonplace and socially acceptable in our world today.
Like it or not, we are now perceived by our postings on our favorite social networking sites, as they have become an essential part of modern existence. How accurately they reflect our actual selves is a matter of bias, profile management and ultimately our glorious vanity. Thanks for reading!