Your profile is not about you.
I about closed my Facebook account for good a few years ago, after choking down another News Feed story from a young woman I knew growing up. She seemed enthralled with portraying her own beauty and perfect life on Facebook, her only status updates being the healthy food she just ate and her procurement of organic tofu and the three hour spin class and the marathon she just ran and photos of such things, and lots of exclamation points. Clearly, she was perfection.
He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
— Winston Churchill
There were lots of photos. Of herself. I mean — there were a LOT. It’s that moment when you’re looking at someone’s Facebook page and see they’ve uploaded yet another photo they took of themselves in the mirror and you realize you’re really tired of seeing their bathroom.
Perhaps she just has a really good camera and likes to use it, I thought, trying to be magnanimous. Someone should tell her it works just fine and to give it a break.
The last straw was a photo album of engagement photos. It was one of those modern vanity sessions in which over 50 percent of the photos didn’t even feature the guy but were mostly black and white images of her in different dresses and hair styles, running through a field or looking pensively in the distance or leaning up against a trendy urban brick wall sucking her cheeks in and pouting for the camera. She was in love, that’s true, but that love had nothing to do with her fiancée. He was just there to pay the photographer, probably.
I was embarrassed for her just looking at the photo album in the News Feed. It felt as if she’d bought all the proofs and uploaded every single one instead of just picking one and saying “hey everyone, we’re engaged.” People weren’t saying “congratulations!” as much as they were saying “you look so pretty” and “you look beautiful” and “gosh, look at you” which seemed weird for an engagement announcement.
It wasn’t, of course, an engagement announcement. It was a person trying to build the allure of being the most interesting best fabulous person in the world.
My Facebook profile photo section consists mainly of my artwork, my family, LOL cats, friends, and stuff like A Visit To The Zoo (With Inappropriate Captions), or Things I’ve Picked Up In My Bare Hand. About the last thing I want are photos of me, and even more last last thing ever wanted would be an entire album of me sucking in my cheeks with my head at a three-quarter angle. Gross.
I unfriended her. I didn’t feel that unsubscribing was quite enough of a statement to my own inner “harrumph.” I’d had enough of her attempts to make herself the most Interesting Facebook Profile in the World, and really couldn’t stand to see how horribly she was failing at trying to go about it.
I believe in the Montgomery Scott philosophy in life and on Facebook: go for the undersell (and avoid Dyson Spheres, but that’s another story). If you can get the job done in an hour, tell the captain it will take you three. You’ll look like a miracle worker. In the Facebook scenario, don’t tell everyone how awesome you are by posting 35 vanity photos in order to beg for compliments. Because you look completely not awesome. Undersell, not oversell. 35 photos is way oversell.
Facebook asked me to tell about myself. I have enough of a god-awful mess on my ‘about’ page on my website for “proof for hire” purposes. I can’t imagine throwing such dredge onto my Facebook page. And so, channeling Scotty, I went with “I am uninteresting.” I really can’t say that I’m not. I also didn’t do a Google search of famous quotes and pick something obscure to prove how well-read and fascinating I am. Who really cares?
I do some stuff. My family and friends know. They do some stuff. I know. The world keeps spinning. That’s good enough. I don’t have to list 35 Nietzsche quotes to prove anything. No one likes a braggart, a blowhard, or a buffoon, in real life or on Facebook. You know how you end up with the Most Interesting Facebook Profile In The World?
Make it mostly about anyone but you.
Share fun things, care about others, connect, take time for others. It’s your profile — your “story” — to be sure, but no one reads a novel for a soliloquy. There are other characters. You need a thirst for putting others first.
Stay thirsty, my friends.