Facebook has released its new version of profiles. They are called Timelines and they allow us to add practically any and all information about ourselves from the time we were born until this moment. It also allows us to change the date of past events which have already been posted to our profiles. I admit I’ve had moments where I’ve wished I’d had the foresight to say something snappy when a certain something strange (or similar) had happened, but I didn’t really expect to be able to adjust the posting date on a status update or a “check-in” that I’m adding right now, much less to “Change Date” on posts created months ago.
In addition to this (and some other new features which, if you are a Facebook user, you’ll discover soon enough), there’s a section called “Life Events” and within that, there are several new relationship options which are available to us now. Want to announce your break up? Go right ahead: Now you can. With options like “First Met” we can let whoever we want be privy to small details of our lives. We don’t have to talk to them or tell them the big story anymore. They’ve already seen it on Facebook. They know it all because we chose to share it there. Now, I’m aware that if we’d rather not share such details, it’s our choice. We can select the audience for this information and we can elect to not share it online at all. But this presents another quandary.
When I saw the “Travel & Experiences” tab, I was tempted to add this upcoming trip to it, but it doesn’t end til we’re well into January 2012 so I couldn’t do that. I then considered adding my past trips to places in Europe, Canada, US, India…and then it struck me. If we choose to share every such event or happening in our lives on a social network, then when we do go on big trips or experience life-changing events or go through relationship changes and don’t share it with that audience, is it like it never happened? It’s like that tree in the forest. If no one’s around to hear it fall, does it still make a sound? Basically, can we assume the unobserved world functions the same as the observed world?
Whatever we choose to do, whether it is updating the chosen ones so they would win hands down in a game of Trivial Pursuit where all questions relate to us or choosing to remain a mysterious enigma by only sharing the bare essentials or finding a sweet in-between space, whatever we’re most comfortable with, it is important to remember that we mustn’t let that define our lives and our stories. Furthermore, the image of ourselves that we project on Facebook isn’t the real us. It isn’t ever the real us. We’re on display there. It’s like a play where we have to keep the audience enthralled so they keep watching so we must make it as interesting for them as possible. I mean, we don’t usually post status updates about days when we just laze on the couch, reading, flicking through channels on the TV, surfing the net, stalking exes on Facebook, you know? But that’s for another post. In the meantime, the show goes on.