NUMERAL FRUSTRATION. [GMT-7 LOS ANGELES]
Going back through my Facebook timeline, I’ve noticed there are holes: swathes filled only by the colorless, drab blue permeating the background of every Facebook page. 2009 is heartbreakingly blank. The highlights of 2008 are a friend asking, “I didn’t know you were back on Facebook?” which is not a question, and “Life Events” telling me what I already know: I graduated college, I moved home, I started work. Why is this? Why such a superficial and untelling history? Those were the years I was off Facebook.
Sure, sure, there’s a chance I got more things done. I graduated school, got a job, wrote a play, wrote a feature, drove from DC to Albany and back numerous times, made Skype calls to my long-distance girlfriend, spent a good fourth of my life writing daily emails to her, another fourth painfully watching Bones episodes with her. No matter whether I was on Facebook or not, most of my time was occupied. I didn’t get more done. I simply did more things in private.
And here’s the problem with privacy: most of the time, you need someone to keep your life in check. Most people have friends for this, some people pay therapists. Some people use Facebook as this barometer. The problem with my life from late 2007-2010 is that I had no barometer. I had gone dark. I had lost friends, I had been telling no one what was happening, I had gotten off all social media besides LinkedIn. I understand why there are people out there not on Facebook because they don’t feel like they have time, or because they feel it takes up too much of their time, but I’d make a case for not risking it. When they look at their timeline, they won’t see huge blank spaces where their life should’ve been. If they stayed smart, they’ll see they had people who cared, places they went, conversations shared. Most place a lot of emphasis on not putting your whole life on the internet, but transparency can be an amazing tool. Looking at those lost years makes me realize that I shouldn’t have ignored it, and how important it is to be living in public.