You are not your farts

As is often the case, I read something, and it inspirers a thought stream in another direction.

This morning, I was linked on Facebook to the following article, in reference to a discussion they’d been having online about sharing your life experiences with depression or medication online.

It started me thinking about my process and how I like to share. It started me thinking that online cross posting, and sharing is the new way to tell stories.  Stories that are not ours. It’s a lazy form of communication, but it’s become vital to our happiness.

We love to share. We need to share. In fact, we feel now bad when we can’t share something cool. I find myself missing the LIKE and SHARE buttons on real life. I see an accident or a cool stunt being performed, and I am actually sad that none of my friends saw it. It was a one shot deal, and unless I tell somebody, it will be lost forever.

Stories are how we used to share. Now we just click.

When I look back in time, even three years, my Facebook feed was filed with posts about people and their lives.  In fact, the original Facebook status updates FORCED you to use the word IS.  Jeff Goebel IS… Dave IS… We had to answer with an action. A statement telling everyone what we were at that moment.

Now, in 2014 I look at my Facebook feed and almost nobody is leaving text. Instead of Jeff Goebel IS… I see mostly JEFF GOEBEL SHARED THIS POST or JEFF GOEBEL LIKES… We have transitioned from storytellers to delivery people and our world has become a world of personal referrals.  If Jeff Goebel likes it, it’s got to be good.

Here – look what made me smile. Maybe it’ll make you smile.

Can you imagine, as a child sitting around a camp fire, if we’d just said; “Here to tell Tonight’s ghost story, is acclaimed actor; Morgan Freeman.”  Sure, it would have been awesome, but we’d leave the camp without having gotten to know who we were. Other people’s stories reveal so little, compared to our own.

I’ve very choosy with my shares and likes. I understand that this is how many people will get to know me online; not from my personality so much as my tweets. Wheat I choose to share BECOMES my story, and it had better give the right impression… because I’m not going to be there when you read it. I’m no longer sharing our NOW together. The time between post and read can be lengthy. I have no control.

I’m sharing content; other people’s stories, much easier to pander to a specific demographic audience.

Just now, as I read the article about farting, I wanted to share it with two people. First, my instinct to share it with a female friend with whom I’ve had previous conversations about how funny farting can be, and second; my social worker councilor.

The impulse share was merely keyword based, and not genuine. The content of the article was less relevant and more driven by – I enjoyed it, and it has the word fart in it, so she’ll enjoy it, and I’ll get the smile credit. I have several keyword based share friends, flowing in both directions. If I see the word Subaru in something that made me smile, I share it with those circles. If I see an iPhone gag that made me laugh, I share it with those circles.

The second share instinct was the one that made me sit up and start writing. I wanted to share something cool with my therapist. The concept of therapy is new to me, having only had two visits, but it’s enough for me to have bonded and developed a profile of what kind of shares I think she may enjoy. In my head, this share would help her. A story she may use to help others. A re-share is a valuable reward. When they “like” or re-share it’s the silent approval. It’s not as rewarding as seeing and creating a smile to me, but I can imagine it in my head and gain almost the same satisfaction.

Without the possible rejection, an imagined smile is pretty much guaranteed.  I pass off my share, and assume the smile. It doesn’t even matter how they really react, in their NOW, far removed in the future.

That’s why it feels so good.

I shared, and in my mind, have helped create scores of smiles for generations to come. All because I read something, and was the one who recommended it to someone else.

It has been this way for ages. The joy of a new thought or discovery is always exciting to share, and the story tellers have the power.

Religion spreads so fast because we get to enlighten the ignorant and educates them with a story so wonderful it explains everything perfectly, as long as you don’t question it. Somebody else’s stories never have to stand up to question, because you are not responsible for anything beyond the re-telling. The fun part.

If I discover something you don’t know… I get to give the gift of the story, and receive the payoff of the excitement of new ideas, without any consequence.

That’s why I always like personal stories. People. I’d rather see your art, then the trinkets you’ve bought to resell. I’d rather hear your stories, than a friend of a friend. I get to ask questions, and you get the joy of reward, yourself. I’d rather tell my stories.

Sadly, most people are not yet great storytellers. I’m working on that

Jeff Goebel

April 7, 2014



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