Monday, April 7, 2014
Big Whoop - 'F' is for Facebook
Times change, generations grow older and so does their language. Like toys long forgotten some words are left to grow cobwebs in the dictionary of our minds. Thankfully there are not many baby boomers wandering around saying Right On, Groovy or Far Out. Alas, it seems lingo disappears with smooth skin and hair. I rarely say ‘Gag me with a spoon’ (Valley Girl), ‘Sit on it’ (Happy Days) or even ‘Cowabunga’ (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). However there’s one word that I think is deserving of resurrection from the lingo graveyard – Big Whoop. A mainstay of my childhood vocabulary and so much more fun than the arguably weaker and boring “so what” that is used today, Big Whoop is due for a second coming. I can remember riding my big wheel and saying “Big Whoop! I can spin out further than you” or responding “Big Whoop! My mom let’s me watch Fantasy Island” when a friend bragged they watched Love Boat. Big Whoop was the ultimate comeback. And I have the perfect platform for its re-introduction -- Facebook.
Ironically it was Facebook where I recently read a re-post of a list of the top 12 things that happy people do differently. Number three was the mantra “avoid over thinking and social comparison.” But on Facebook it’s all about comparing ourselves to others from how many friends we have to how many ‘likes’ to flaunting our latest achievements. It seems many of us go on Facebook to connect and suddenly feel compelled to share a tidbit of news or what more often seems like an affirmation of our sparkling lives. Sure it feels good when people ‘like’ our photos and musings, but it also inadvertently causes us to compare ourselves with every one we’ve ever met on a daily basis.
And that’s where I think Big Whoop would come in handy. Anytime you feel the need to respond to someone else’s status update whether it’s declaring they have the most loving husband and children in the world or how awesome their, insert career, friends, or overall life here, you could just post Big Whoop. Perhaps, you could follow your Big Whoop with a declaration of how wonderful your own family or friends are, but a simple solitary Big Whoop should suffice. Think of it as a nicer way of saying ‘shut up’ we all know your life is wonderful, but we need a little break.
I recently read an article in the Huffington Post noting a new phenomenon called Facebook Depression. The April issue of Pediatrics, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, coined this new term to describe how kids are becoming depressed by comparing the number of "friends" they have and their "status updates.” I would argue this Facebook depression thing is prevalent among adults as well, we just hide it better.
In fact, a good friend admitted how bummed she was when inundated by innocent Facebook postings over Spring Break 2011. Her so called friends and acquaintances were sharing photos and status updates from their marvelous vacation trips. It’s not that my friend’s family sat home all week and stared at each other. They hung out, watched movies and enjoyed local outings, but their staycation couldn’t compete with a trek to Stonehenge or the Cayman Islands. And according to her it was not a random post from a lucky few– it was lots of posts (you’d never know the economy was in dire straights). Perhaps my friend needs to stop friending so many jet setters, or maybe she needs a little Big Whoop in her vocabulary arsenal. It might have put the kibosh on the postings right from the start as in “Big Whoop! You climbed the Eiffel tower, our family built the Eiffel Tower (out of Legos, of course).” At least she may have felt somewhat vindicated.
Seriously it’s disturbing to realize Facebook has the power to make kids and adults feel bad about themselves and their lives. People need to recognize that most of us are going to only post what we know makes us look good to others. Rarely will you find people posting photos of themselves waking first thing in the morning with bags under their eyes. They might rant about something that happens to them, but it’s unlikely they are going to post the fight they had with their hubby about his ogling the waitress. Facebook is exactly that - one pretty face– and it’s hard to see what’s really beneath the façade. I think a little Big Whoop would help keep it all in perspective.