Monday, March 8, 2021

#MicroblogMondays: Women & men and social media

Mel had a recent post about quitting social media (based on an article she'd read in the Guardian, featuring people who did just that) -- and she later messaged me to tell me I HAD to unpack what I'd said in my comment in a post of my own.  So here it is :)  -- you can read my original comment on Mel's post, but I've expanded on it a bit more here. 

I joined Facebook in 2009, Instagram after I got my first smartphone in 2016 and Twitter sometime after that.  I helped sign up dh for Facebook & Instagram at the same time -- he found Twitter on his own. I'm on a couple of other social apps (but not others) -- but those are the main ones I use.   

I have not quit any of my social media accounts -- although I have tried to become more judicious about how I use them. I very rarely unfriend people, but (as I mentioned here) I’ve been much more liberal with the “unfollow” & “snooze” buttons in recent months. ;)  I feel less and less obligated to like/react and/or comment on every post, or to get through all the new posts in my feed every day. 

The crux of what Mel found interesting was what I said about the different ways dh & I approach social media. He deactivates & reactivates (& then deactivates and reactivates again...) his Facebook and Twitter accounts at whim. He friends & unfriends people en masse, in swoops of activity.  He unfollowed everyone on Instagram (including his own cousins and aunts) with the exception of me, his brother, SIL, our two nephews & their wives. It takes him two minutes (if that) to scroll through his Instagram feed, most days.  He rarely, if ever, posts anything himself. 

He drives me nuts sometimes. ;)   

I would feel SO GUILTY cutting off cousins (mine &/or his -- even if I don’t see eye to eye with some of them…), because, family… He says he’s an outcast among most of them anyway, so he doesn’t care. 

In part, I suppose it's a function of our different personalities. He doesn't have the attachment to things or places or even to most people, outside his immediate family and a few of his cousins, that I do. 

But I also think it’s just another way that women worry incessantly about appearances and what other people think, and how we feel guilty about things men don’t give two seconds thought to. It's another classic example of how we’re expected to be/assume the role of the family caretakers and maintain the family connections -- while the men just go on their merry way (in part because they know we'll take care of things and keep them informed of anything important that's happening with the relatives or other people in our social circle). 

If you're married/partnered, do the two of you have different approaches to social media? 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.  


  1. I love this post! Yes to your question. My husband quite enjoys Fbk because it keeps him in touch with people he knows, though he never posts anything. The closest he comes to posting something is asking me to tag him so his friends can see! And he would be just like your husband - doesn't care about maintaining connections with people who ignore him. In some ways, I wish I could be a bit more like him.

    And I totally agree that we are the ones who keep family connections going. I remember some time ago my mother-in-law saying sadly that once she and her husband died, there'd be no-one to keep the family together. I pointed out that her daughters-in-law were the ones who would do that, because we already did! There's a funny (I think so anyway) story about a conversation my sister-in-law and I had in the 1980s about our husbands (when the four of us lived in the same city) and their parents. I commented that I had decided to stop prompting my husband to ring or visit his parents, and that it had been five weeks so far. She laughed, because she was doing the same, and her husband had left it for seven weeks! We both felt guilty and made them talk to their parents! Along with another sister-in-law, we have always been the ones who have kept in touch, coordinated family visits or Christmases, shared information. It's still the same now. Sigh.

  2. This is so interesting, and so true. This resonates: "But I also think it’s just another way that women worry incessantly about appearances and what other people think, and how we feel guilty about things men don’t give two seconds thought to."

    Bryce does not do social media. He still has his Facebook account, but he never posts and rarely checks it. It drove him nuts. He does depend on me for birthdays, keeping in touch with his family, posting pictures of us for hide mom to see. Actually, I facilitate a lift of his calls/connection with family. Hmmmph.

    I don't feel I could just walk away from Facebook because of that family connection. I think he was able to because he knew I'd keep it up on our behalf. So much food for thought there. Seems in line with you and DH, and others!

  3. My husband borrows my FB account for some things - light internet stalking of people he used to know and selling some stuff. He has some sort of Twitter-type account for stocks/daytraders, but I don't know how he uses it. He doesn't like to share information, so all of his stuff is as anonymous as possible. I only have a Facebook account - no Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or anything else.

  4. Very interesting! Yes, we have different styles. My husband isn't on Facebook at all, never has been. I joined in 2009 at the insistence of a former friend due to an upcoming high school reunion. I'm in the US, and quite honestly the 2016 election and the following 4 years had me unfriend and block a LOT of people. I bascially living an "always blue" state but went to high school in what I'm going to call a little pocket of redneck hell. When we did a mock election while I was in high school (approximately 1200 students) I was one of TWO votes for the democrat. So, it's unsurprising to say while a few grew more liberal I got really tired of being trashed on a regular basis for my hatred of Trump. I blocked and unfriended liberally. On Twitter- my husband can months without posting anything and mostly limits it to games, and an occasional celeb post, I interact with a few friends and a lot of political stuff. We literally do not have family as most are deceased and I cut my father's extended family off the DAY I turned 18 due to 18 years of trying to kill me. The moment it was my decision

  5. YES. I feel a sense of guilt because I do see it my responsibility (in some ways) to hold together friend groups and family. I will silence but I almost never unfriend or unfollow.

  6. My husband and I definitely have different social media styles. He was a late joiner of Facebook and even now only posts on there a few times a year (and then it's generally a random thought or link to a sports related article). He has had me unfriend many, many people for him because they annoyed him with their posts (not over politics, just general made-up drama and the like).

    I check Facebook a few times a day, post on there at least a few times a month, and am generally reluctant to unfriend people (though I use "snooze" and "unfollow" liberally). I would feel bad if I lost touch entirely with most of the folks on my friends list, and I truly believe my husband could probably care less.

  7. Fascinating thoughts here, from you and others.

    Like you, there is a big difference between DH and me in our use of social media. I use it a lot more. He's at virtually zero. No interest. If he wants to be in touch with someone, he texts them.

    I am pretty liberal about accepting friend requests from people with whom I have many friends in common. Trying on a friendship, I suppose (and in circles in which rejection is a big trigger). I occasionally will do a big unfriend of those whose friendship just doesn't "take." I always figure they'll never even notice, since we rarely/never interacted anyway.