It’s easy to see who values the internal mechanisms of one’s life. On social media, I write many introspective or narrative pieces. They glide past the superficial and lay bare parts of me. The people who know me best and appreciate me for who I am invariably read or participate in those discussions. Yes, I know that some of my posts are lengthy – but so are conversations and shared experiences. I don’t expect people to clamor to show up at my house each Friday evening; likewise, I don’t anticipate each friend deliberately using his or her limited time to come find my posts and inhale them, either.
If I were to construct a Venn diagram of introspective narratives versus superficial posts, there is almost no overlap for several of my social media friends. It’s not a question of time involvement, either, as demonstrated by participation on other equally engaging timelines or interests. I’m obviously not including those without social media or those who never participate in time-intensive engagement.
This is a sign that I’m being monitored by some friends instead of appreciated.
This isn’t a call for “look at me;” rather, it is a reminder that social media provides a multitude of windows into our friend’s lives. Like our lives, the totality of interaction and value leaves a wake behind it. An observant person can’t help but to draw inferences from those signs. It’s true that some inferences are wrong, mainly because we jump to conclusions without direct connections based on the evidence. But we have our personal instincts which usually serve to point us in the right direction.
A sociologist who loves these trends and studies them tells me that this a trend which affects the frequency of people’s posts, as well as the depth of what they share of their personal life. It’s like the son who is gay who calls his mom and she chooses to discuss the banal stories about work instead of the son’s intense desire to adopt a child in opposition to social forces. Or if someone personally writes about his or her dislike of social policy and only those motivated by the desire to tell him how wrong he is opt to comment. If people are arguing with you about social policy, it tends to indicate they don’t agree with a lot you are doing or saying about your personal life, either, as obvious a statement as that might be. It’s a tough sell to get people to see this nuance about sharing and interacting.
If friends comment on your superficial posts but mostly ignore what you have to say when you’re sharing parts of yourself, they aren’t really interested or invested in you as a person. It is more likely that are self-validating, which is a very human reaction. It’s just each of us must decide to what degree we are comfortable with this. Even with this point, I have to make an exception for those who have larger followings of those interested in them solely for a specific topic.
It would never occur to me to comment or interact on superficial or political posts if I consistently ignore the personal ones. I’m doing a poor job explaining exactly why this seems indecorous to me, though.
My experience tells me that if you aren’t unilaterally participating with the range of my posts, you aren’t really that interested in me or my life.
There are exceptions to the above, of course, and always, I haven’t expertly fleshed out my argument.