When I first joined Facebook, I was thrilled to be reconnecting with people I hadn’t heard from in years. Within days I was getting friend requests from people I had sleepovers with in elementary school and people who talked behind my back in high school. Within weeks I had an addiction worthy of a 12-step program. The more people I found and the more people who found me, the more time I
wasted invested in it. And that’s when I realized it was all a competition.
Social networking is great. But is it just another method of highlighting our hidden feelings of inadequacy and exacerbating our need to show off?
My college freshman roommate has over 300 Facebook friends! She always did have more friends than me. That girl who was in all my AP classes in high school has 2 doctorates and just published a book! She always was smarter than me. That girl I swam with in college is a professional triathlete! Wait a minute, I used to kick her butt. Shouldn’t I be the one doing triathlons now?
See what I mean?
Of course Facebook is a bit of a fantasy world. Is anyone really going to post in her status update that she’s bankrupt, her husband is cheating on her, and she’s addicted to painkillers? Not likely. We join Facebook not only to see how others have progressed in their lives, but also to paint ourselves in the best possible light to prove that we are happy, successful adults with happy, successful families.
Then there’s blogging. I’ve only been blogging for two months, but I’m beginning to sense an underlying competition. That blogger has over 300 followers! I’m not anywhere close to that level of readership. Look at all the flair on that blog! My blog looks plain and boring. That blogger gets 30 comments every day! I’m lucky if I get 5.
I’m competitive by nature. I can’t help it, I was an athlete. But I hate that I bring that competitive nature to arenas where it doesn’t belong. I try not to compare my children to other kids their age. But that child is reciting the alphabet, and he’s 2 months younger than Little C! Maybe I should enroll her in tutoring. But my neighbor can afford the uber-preschool with the mile-long waiting list! Maybe I should sell my liver. But that couple across the street has the perfect marriage! Maybe I should…Oh wait, aren’t they getting a divorce?
Competition is the ubiquitous elephant in the room. It’s squeezed in between the stacked blocks at playgroups. It’s lurking in the perfectly trimmed bushes in our neighbor’s manicured lawn. It’s mocking us in Facebook status updates. And yes, it’s quite possibly the subliminal messages hidden within our blog posts.
What do you think about all this competition?
Do you think blogging contains an element of competition?
What can we do to avoid it?