I’m the model for the word banal

ba·nal / bəˈnäl, bəˈnal / adjective; so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring. “Songs with banal, repeated words.”

I was having a tough night the other day, and in my despair, I did the worst possible thing:

I logged into Facebook.

What I saw was a lot of silly stuff: complaints, ranting about things with which people had no control, meaningless ads, silly memes, friendaversary videos, 37 photos of the same event, generic birthday greetings from people who haven’t communicated since the last birthday, and countless other things that offered little value to me.

But then I saw the worst possible thing on Facebook: My own postings.

Most were all, in a word, banal.

And I proceeded to delete most of it. In that moment, where I was admittedly in a deep funk, what I saw of my own postings sickened me.

Well, maybe sickened is too strong a word. But it made my skin crawl.

Especially to those who follow me on Facebook, you know I’ve had a long, complicated relationship with the platform. I just can’t figure out its purpose in my world.

Instagram is the photo album of my life, and I’ve strictly curated connections there that bring joy to my life. For me, it’s a simple platform, as compared to Facebook. LinkedIn is where I do my business and foundation networking. Twitter, well, that’s long been deleted as a cesspool of hate, division, and nonstop complaining/bitching/whining/trolling.

But Facebook, I don’t know.

If I am being very honest, I really only have an account there to co-maintain the Facebook page of our foundation. If not for that, it’s quite possible I would have long ago bailed on the platform. And not for any reason other that I feel useless there. And the banality from the other night confirmed it in my troubled mind.

But back to my banality. Let me offer you a simple apology. How boring. How useless. What a waste of your time.

As I am writing this, I have Mozart playing in the background (Jupiter symphony). Now that’s real. That’s art. That’s memorable and worth thinking about, talking about, and consuming.

Not the slop I post on Facebook.

Now, I suppose you are waiting for me to present what one SHOULD do instead. Well, again my apologies, but I have no idea. And that’s part of the problem, in that FB is different for everyone using it. It’s pretty hard to craft a simple strategy that will be of benefit all BILLION(S)+ users.

Maybe the real problem is that my life is banal. Or at least that’s how I see it. What published content did I leave on my Facebook page, you ask? Well, simple: material that my wife tagged me on, a bit of stuff about my Mother, and then our charitable/foundation work.

My wife, Mom, and serving others doesn’t seem banal to me. But, in all likelyhood, it might to others.

Who knows. But if I have to leave one bit of value here (and this is really a note to self), it’s this:

Yeah. I still have no idea.

My new mission in life is the work of our foundation, so I guess most of what I will Facebook about will be about our charitable work. Maybe, in the end, that will finally bring a sense of purpose to the platform.

I’ve long maintained that Facebook is different for everyone, and that everyone will use it differently. And perhaps the truest lesson to be discovered by this rant is to stop worrying about it. Cuz it’s likely that most people scrolling through their feed could give a hoot about what I post or don’t post.

How banal is that?


Scott November 26, 2019 Reply

As someone who’s known you (digitally) for several years, your ‘banal’ is NOT banal. I agree that “Facebook is what you make of it”. In your case, perhaps there was no strategy — you simply posted what seemed important in the moment. As your FB friend, I *like* knowing what’s going on with connections like you.

I actually base MY Facebook strategy on one simple premise: would I have a beer with you. And that’s how I see your posts — stuff you might tell me over a beer. “Hey, I’m workin’ on stuff at the Foundation”, “My dog is so crazy…”, and “I’m really concerned about my mom…”. I care, Todd, just because it matters to you. In other words, it’s not changing the world, but it’s sharing something you cared enough to tell a friend, so it matters.

Todd Schnick November 26, 2019 Reply

Scott, this note means a lot to me. Thank you. I’d have a beer with you anytime…

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