I have this love/hate relationship with social media, as I’m sure we all do. I LOVE seeing friends from the past having babies, posting funny things about their kids or jobs or people who annoy them, and keeping up with the lives of people whom I love but can’t see all the time. As the now-retired meanest writing teacher in Tennessee, I love to see my former students graduating from college, being hired in their chosen professions, getting married, and having children of their own.
I hate…HATE…the negativity of social media. I once heard Facebook described as that ugly green slime river that flowed under New York City in Ghostbusters, and sometimes I agree. I stay away from all political commentary (no one is changing anyone else’s minds…), people’s melodramatic passive-aggressive fights (wow…how did I get ringside seats to your crazy train?), and poor grammar (just…no…see “meanest writing teacher in Tennessee” above).
Furthermore, I hate that Jeff rolls his eyes, silently judging (sometimes snarkily judging out loud) when he sees me staring at my phone to catch the latest update on friends…I mean, give a girl a break, husband. And then I look up and half an hour has passed. Oops.
And y’all…I’m 38 years old. Social media hasn’t always been a part of my life …I came late to the Facebook party because I feared that my students would want to be “friends” with me online.
Guess what? I totally feel sorry for kids who are growing up online and unable to make normal kid mistakes without them being splayed all over social media. I wrote this article on Scary Mommy describing my angst over our kids growing up in a social media world.
Here are 10 times I’m glad that social media wasn’t around. Did I say “glad”? I meant “OMG thank-my-lucky-stars-in-heaven.”
- That time I cut my bangs right before 4th grade school pictures. Remember the laser beams in the background of your pics? I had laser beams and half-inch long bangs. Gorgeous.
- The Halloween costume where the neighbors, my brother, and I were the Flintstones. We tried to trick-or-treat in a refrigerator box we had decorated like the Flintstones’ car. Eight skinned knees and a near-fistfight later, it might not have been such a great idea.
- The years 1990 and 1991. This was 7th and 8th grade for me, and it.was.awkward. I never had to have braces and I didn’t perm my hair (this was lucky), but preteen angst combined with my love of writing and a free platform in which to trot out all my parent-hating inner demons would have been disastrous. Thanks for still being in kindergarten at that point, Mark Zuckerberg.
- 1992: the first “boyfriend.” Although, who can really date in the 9th grade when your parents are driving you everywhere and your curfew is 9pm? It was very Romeo and Juliet.
- High School: First love with dramatic on-and-off again romance? Check. Mid-90’s flannel shirt grunge that was highly unattractive on me? Check. Stick-shift 1986 Honda Accord and driving way too fast without the distraction of a cell phone? Check. Party I threw when parents were out of town? Check. I grew up in a small town. Landline telephones were our social media.
- College: More of the same, but without parents and curfew, adding in a terrible fake ID and lots of fun sorority sisters. No one should have to do college with social media. I’m still embarrassed to see the party pictures that we purchased from Candid Campus (that was a business where a photographer tooled around our parties taking pictures and then we paid money for them to print them out for us. A lot of money. Like $5 each. Alas, I’m sure Candid Campus lost to the iPhone like everything else.
- Grad School. Grad school was a time to learn, to be so much smarter, worldly, and more awesome than those pitiful undergrads, and to rack up quite a lot of student loan debt as I found my true calling of teaching English, which would make me the richest person nowhere in America. My late-night procrastinatory (not a word but it should be) paper writing sessions would never be cute on Instagram.
- My mid-20s. Y’all, I lived in Nashville in my mid-20s, and it was awesome. From 2003-2006, I was living the dream, and none of it was caught on social media. This is both a good and bad thing. I had great (much smaller) clothes back then.
- Our Wedding: Our wedding was awesome and fun. We had great food, good music, decent weather for June in the South, and plenty of drinks to promote uninhibited dancing. Pinterest wasn’t around back in 2006 (thank goodness…because how would you ever decide from the gajillions of cute things people do for weddings these days). And neither was Twitter. Can you imagine the pressure of deciding on your wedding’s personal hashtag? Too much. #TurningTinsley (that’s all I could think of…)
- All those times I can’t remember. You know…
Any times you’re glad that social media was conspicuously absent? Let me know. Thanks for reading, y’all.