As if my life weren't phony enough, with Facebook status and Twitter, we now can get constant updates on the minutiae of one another's lives, provided, of course, that the twitterer is willing to expose the minutiae to potentially everyone in the world.
Obviously, this has some implications for what we are going to say in our status. Since subscribing to their feeds, I have learned that my friends are never bummed out (unless their baseball team loses), never frustrated, are cheerful at their jobs, always enjoy their children, and they eat out a lot.
In fact, my own mood has significantly picked up since I have begun broadcasting it. I have never reported any negative feelings or emotions. The worst I've put on my Facebook status is "tired". And while I do think it is probably in the interest of my friends and co-workers to know when I have PMS, according to my Facebook status, I never do.
I've heard that there are many people who are struggling to keep more than one online identity: one professional and one personal. All I can say to those people is: good luck. Everything online is googlable and once googled, indelible. Other than private e-mails, which are also owned by Google at this point, assume that whatever is online is "out there" and findable for anyone who wants. In other words, you have to be careful what books and albums you review, too.
My basic assumption in going online is that this is my personal brand, wherever I am, and whomever I "friend". My status updates reflect some aspect of reality, but you can be sure that if I am down in the dumps, you won't know it from my Facebook status message, my blog or comments, or posts in any group I belong to. You won't find out who I think is an idiot or when my kids give me a hard time.
I have read in those self-help books that if I keep a positive outlook, I will begin to feel happier, so maybe social networking is contributing to everyone being a better person. Personally, though, I just feel phonier, and I'm a marketing guy, so I was full of it to begin with. Oh wait. Maybe I should not have admitted that I read self-help books. That would be like saying something is wrong with me, or used to be before I read the books.
And yes, if you are my Facebook friend, be assured that I do get the RSS feed and take a look at your newsfeed regularly. Twitter, btw, was just too much for me, so please don't be offended if I don't follow your micro-blog. I love you all and want to know what you are actually doing and feeling, not just the phony stuff, so just call, okay?