In speaking with a neighbor about fitness the other morning, it was noted to me that I regularly go to the gym, as evidenced by my checking in at the gym on Facebook (never mind the narcissistic tendency to check in every time that I work out, that is a subject for another day.) I smiled and said “yes”, and later reflected upon my early morning gym check-ins; I have a handful of friends that regularly “like” the fact that I check-in when I go the gym, and this neighbor has never been one of them. Not even once.
I found this to be rather curious. It takes just the tiniest exertion of effort to “like” something. Just a light tap on the screen of a smart phone. Just a quick mouse click on a PC. And yet this person has never been motivated to do so. She sees my activity, notes it mentally, and then scrolls on. I am struggling to understand why she revealed this to me in person.
This isn’t the first time that I have heard this from a friend. Other Facebook friends have referenced material on my page, without the accompanying acknowledgement of a response. “Hey, I saw you took your kid to the baseball game, that looked like fun!” Did it? I didn’t even know that you saw that post. I’m glad that you observed my activity. I’m sorry that you weren’t interested to the extent that you found it worthwhile to recognize it with the slight flexing of your right pointer finger.
This made me second-guess my assumptions about Facebook etiquette. I occasionally review what my friends post, and if I like what I read, I “like” it. If I don’t like it, I ignore it. Now I find that people do read content and fail to respond to it; and yet it makes enough of an impact that they will actually mention it to me in person. Psychologically, what is happening here?
I post such brilliant content, including recycled memes from sites I like, poignant political opinions, homer sports comments, adorable kid pics, and legendary fitness achievements, and yet there are people reviewing them without comment? The narcissist in me is pleased; lurkers are secretly tracking what I am doing, they are curious about me, and yet generally don’t want me to know. Intriguing. Intriguing, and somewhat creepy…