Many people don’t understand Facebook’s charms. “It’s not ‘real,’” Aaron Sorkin, famously said, “It’s posing.” Not that Mr. Sorkin would necessarily know. While Sorkin wrote the movie about the founding of Facebook,The Social Network, he defiantly claims that he has never used Facebook.
We on Facebook do not consider our posts “real”. Most of us leave out the relentlessness that plagues our lives, the rapidity, and yes, perhaps the boredom. For most of us, it is a way to share good news: baby announcements, children’s achievements, the rekindling of friendships or love affairs, recovery of health, a new job, an athletic achievement.
Screenwriter Bob Kaufman (Love At First Bite, Freebie and The Bean) once told me, “Movies are not the way life is. Movies are the way life should be.” That’s the lens through which I view Facebook. The social network site is a long movie with many, many scenes or perhaps, a novel filled with nuggets held together with the glue that fuels all art: “a great lie that exposes the greater truth.”
Life is hard for most of us these days. Culture is in free fall. Change is happening so fast that we cannot take a breath to contextualize what we have lost in contrast to what we have gained. Most of us take some reassurance in Facebook and its happy posts. We enjoy the foodie pictures, cozy pictures of family on their best behavior. Yet behind the posing, we know the charm of what people are really trying to say. Inevitably behind the veil, we return to love, family, mercy, justice, and the beauty found in a singular instant which points to the eternal.
No, Facebook is not “real.” Facebook is “super real”.