By KIRSTY RICE
There’s a meme. One of those boxes with an almost vintage looking picture that appears in your Facebook feed. I wish I could remember the exact words. And I have no idea where to find it. Where do old memes go to die?
It says something like this:
“Remember the old days? When you cooked a meal, took a photo, and then raced to have the film developed so you could take the photographs to your friends’ house and show them what you had for dinner last night? Me neither. So stop doing it.”
I’ll admit it. I physically lol-ed (I didn’t tell them though, I mean who lols out loud these days?) I “liked” it. I didn’t go as far as a PMSL or a ROFL, nor did I announce that it was amazeballs, but I liked it – *smugly* with *feelings* that I then put in *asterisks*.
It was the perfect explanation of how ludicrous we have become. Taking photos of our food to “share” without actually feeding anyone. Or “liking” the story of the disabled child without offering assistance. Or offering our “hopes and prayers” to the latest victims of crime – but not thinking to donate blood. I get it. We’re all vacuous imbeciles who click our guilt away.
Except I really want to see your food.
I really do. I love the Instagram shot of the crocquembouche, or the home made attempt at the Dolly Varden cake. I love the dessert that arrived at the table and made everyone gasp. And it goes further than that. If you want to post ten pictures of you and your kids at the park, I’m totally cool with that. The sports day, the first hockey uniform, the trip to the country, none of these events will offend me in any way. We’re friends, right? Doesn’t it make sense that I’d want to catch up?
Or is that the issue? Did you accidentally get a little bit too friendly? After chatting to Bob from Accounting’s wife at the Christmas party you somehow became “friends”. But you’re not. You’re not friends at all – and you don’t care so much about her crockenbouche – or her trips to the park. You don’t really want to be friends with her.
Are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to blame for this overload of personal information? Maybe. Or maybe we’ve been doing it for ages, just a little more quietly.
Which came first? The roast chicken or the Instagram? A girlfriend of mine went on a six month holiday to multiple destinations in 2003 – it was then, pre Facebook and Instagram that she began taking photos of her food. At the time I thought it was an ingenious way to record travel memories. I’d never thought to take a shot of the Soto Ayam in Indonesia or the Beef Rendang in Malaysia. I had plenty of photos of our old house but none of the yellow tent, a restaurant (it was a tent in the middle of a carpark) that G and I frequented for lunch. A place we still talk about because of its uniqueness and authenticity. A scoop of rice, a drizzle of curry sauce and a lot of stray cats – I still miss that place.
“I’m beginning to hate my friends on Facebook” a girlfriend declared. “It’s all bragging and oversharing”.
I immediately thought of past comments of little travellers making basketball teams, and the posts I’d written about my dodgy diverticulum. If there was a show of hands on who had overshared, I’d be holding up two hands, and in one of those hands they’d be a diagram of my foofy. I think it’s been a least three weeks since I’ve shared a story about my urethra?
“Am I on that list?” I asked.
“Don’t be stupid, I really like you. I care about you. It’s the people I don’t care about that drive me nuts.”
It was time for her to either delete, block or deny.
I understand that it’s annoying when someone feels the need to tell you that the coffee they bought this morning was too hot to carry to the car. You might want to consider the block. And when they update five minutes later that they think they might have a sandwich for lunch, or perhaps a bagel, it’s definitely time to “hide”. But if they stopped and took a photo of the barista’s handywork and the froth happened to be in the change shape of a penis – well, there’s a friend to keep. Someone who makes you smile.
You can only overshare if someone’s listening. Block, delete, deny. You get to choose.
Kirsty Rice is an Australian writer and Blogger currently living in Qatar. After calling 7 countries home over the past 11 years she’s embarrassed to admit she still can’t pack a suitcase properly. Visit Kirsty’s blog here.