I won’t be a jerk and say you aren’t interesting—you have enough imaginary people telling you that—but I will say you should stop trying to be. It’s this problem you weren’t aware you had, and yes, it really is a problem. A defect, actually.
I should know.
I went through all this trouble of designing my own website and coming up with an memorably unmemorable moniker to go by [it used to be The Box Writer, but obviously since first writing this article that shit has changed]. I’m full of trying to be interesting but take it from me peeps, there is something to learn here from my egotistical stupidity.
I think the desire to ‘be interesting’ should be put in it’s place among the realm of personal psychology. I’m not going to pull any punches. This tendency is a side-affect from a much more serious illness, but before I get to that, let me first describe this side-effect in glowing detail. To start, I’m willing to bet that the nagging thought which ascribes itself to every Facebook post you write sounds something like this: “I sure hope people find this interesting.”
How about, “I wonder how many likes I will get”?
Or perhaps it’s a quiet thought—the kind that come with so much habit that it passes through your mushy brain without being chewed. You think you don’t consciously think about it, yet you find yourself checking Facebook whenever you open your phone, or whenever you flip open the laptop “to do research”, wondering, albeit stealthily among the passing commentary of self-directed rigmarole in your head, whether or not you have a little red flag on your notifications. When you do, you check them religiously and with anticipation. Another Farmville request? Bleh! Seeing this, such a vague dissatisfaction passes through your body that you mistake it for indigestion.
If you find that you have suffered any of this delirium I describe, there is no need for alarm; I have the cure, and I’m willing to give it away free of charge. The only catch is in order for you to take this advice, I’m going to need you to stop thinking about yourself for a minute and look at this picture:
Let’s all pause for a moment and consider the kind of wretched soul who would compose this image. Sometimes you have to remember that the internet doesn’t create itself; somebody, some human being, actually took the time to slap this text together over a yellow image, save it to their hard-drive, and post it to their wall. What seems to be the purpose of it? Why would it be of any use to the person who created this for you to like it? By liking it are you sharing their burden? Do they feel relieved that there really is somebody else out there who is badly missing someone too? Surely they’ve talked to another person or at least read a Nicholas Sparks novel before. They know that people miss people, this is intrinsic human knowledge—no, this little picture is for a different purpose: quite simply (if it isn’t clear enough already) it is for the accumulation of “likes”.
You see, “likes” mean that they exist, “likes” mean that people think they’re interesting, or at the very least, “likes” mean that you’re worth the time it took for an individual to move their mouse a quarter-inch down the page and use enough force to click, all the while utilizing that incredible dexterity of theirs to find a little blue thumb against the solemn pallor that is their screen. Isn’t that worth something?
“Likes” don’t really mean shit about what you’re worth, so why do you sit there in front of your laptop drafting and redrafting a status update about your trip to the veterinarian? Many Facebook people recognize the stress to be interesting or original and avoid it by sharing somebody else’s work; collecting famous quotes, posting Youtube videos, linking to an interesting article from TLP (seriously, people—go read everything on that website), or what else have you. Basically they post something tried and true, something that will get some “likes” to prove they matter, and then they will attempt to go on with their lives until the urge strikes them once more. At least the terminology in Facebook has it right—they call your profile page a “wall”. I couldn’t picture a more iconic image of our times then a young person alone in their room, sitting at their desk, hunched over, his eyes undulating, his mouth open, straining his neck, and talking to the walls.
This desire to be interesting is part of the framework of a diagnosis, and like the image I just described, it doesn’t look too good. The prognosis? Well, that depends on you. Do you have what it takes to drop the facade? Not everybody on Facebook is like who I’ve described, but search yourself—does any of this feel familiar? Are you plagued with our culture of independence and self-aggrandizement? If so…
Now’s the time to drop the act and choose to be free of it. It is a choice, remember, you are not compelled to keep acting this way. Remove your desire to be interesting by becoming interested in something else. Read some more books, go play chess, whatever, just do something. By doing this you shift your focus and even though some of your Facebook content might not change, at least you’ll be equipped for the psychological repercussions when nobody actually “likes” it, or hell, if nobody even reads it. Shift your attention from “me” to something else. It’s that simple. You’ve been trying to look outside through a mirror, and it’s messing with you.
See, Facebook is a tool, and tools should have their place in the tool-belt or under the sink—not under your skin.