Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lessons for My Daughters About #BreakingtheInternet

Many situations in life are what we call “teachable moments.”  They may be times when someone did really well, but sometimes (usually) the best lessons are from when something has gone wrong.

In the past week, there was one celebrity who tried to steal the internet spotlight by baring her a$$ on a magazine cover and everything else on the inside pages (although online, cover and inside pages don’t really matter, so we got a glimpse of it all, but anyway...)  Then, another who quietly donned a white jumpsuit and cape, had her husband-to-be suit up in white, and rode two white bikes to their wedding – and the pictures took the internet by a tidal wave.  Teachable moments.

So what can we teach our daughters from these two examples of womanhood?

Overt, aggressive, look-at-me, love-me self-promotion doesn’t always work out so well.  People don’t like being forced to look at you and give you compliments.  Have you noticed whenever a person or even business entity attempts the “make a meme of me” campaign, it usually backfires? A haughty “break the internet” push actually comes off as a little too much self-absorption, and while the buzz may be out there, it’s not necessarily good. I haven’t heard anyone say “wow, I was so happy that while I was drinking my coffee this morning, sliding through Twitter, her a$$ popped up on my screen.” (Yeah, I know some thought that, but I’m talking about the rest of us.) Same when girls are strutting around in dresses tighter then their underwear and just as short or posting 100 selfies a day.  Lesson: stop begging for compliments and attention; it’s not a good look.

People like genuine-ness.  As much as we thrill in the drama of “reality” lives, in our hearts, we want to see for-real real, true love and friendship (or at least the image of it.)  So when photos of Solange’s wedding in white popped on the screen, there was a big collective “awwww, how lovely!”  Here was a celebrity who got married like a person with some sense who was focused on her own happiness, not “likes” and RT’s.  There were no secret, teasing peek photos at the wedding by the paparazzi hiding in bushes (the cute video of her and her son dancing looks like a friend took it on their phone) or month-long live E! coverage of the preparations.  I’m not naïve enough to think that there wasn’t a little bit of publicity planning involved in all of this, but the feeling was genuine and natural.  Sometimes we like things not being crazy over the top.  Lesson: We like that natural, real you better than the made-for-TV version.

In the real world, where the rest of us live, “breaking the internet” is not a real, tangible goal.  Sure, people like having a bunch of followers and friends, there’s a jolt of cyber-pride when you get some “likes” for a photo or status post. Heck, that’s what we bloggers live for – a share, a tweet, a comment. But all that amounts to very little in your quest to be a real, good, happy person.  Lesson: please, please don’t base your self-worth on electronic clicks, but instead on warm, live hugs and smiles.

And a few more quick ones:
Lesson: How you start is how you will continue.
Lesson: Pick your husband and life partner wisely. 
Lesson: Have more to offer the world than what’s physical.

And one more:
Don’t overstay your welcome.  If you somehow slipped into the party through the backdoor and folks tolerated you to stay – enjoy yourself, grab a drink, dance a little bit, don’t be a nuisance, and realize when it’s time for you to go.  Take your goodie bag, thank your host, and move on.

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