Behind the screen I am anything I want you to think I am.  I post pictures of me smiling, pictures of me posing.  Pictures of the beautiful dinner I’ve said I just cooked.  I post pictures of friends I say miss so much.  I post pictures of holidays and distant places I say I am going to.  I tell you when I am happy, why I am happy and what is going to make me happy next week.  Five pictures a day, waiting anxiously to see if people will like them.  Clutching my phone, waiting for the little red number to appear on the screen.

I count my friends, thousands and thousands of them.  Most of them are only brief encounters, sometimes not even a hello.  Just another number that makes me feel as though I am wanted, needed, popular.  I like what they say not because I agree with what they say, most times I don’t even read it. I like it so they notice me.  If I don’t like them I can be cruel too.  The attention doesn’t just have to be good.  Bad attention is better, it’s even more attention.

I tell everyone how sad I am when the latest celebrity dies.  A person I don’t know, a person I’ve only just heard of.  I have to show my grief for them though, join in with everyone else.  Private grief, private recognition of someone’s achievements no longer suffices.  I have to let everyone know.  It doesn’t matter that I never cared for that person before.  All that matters is belonging and being accepted.  Or maybe I will say I hated them, perhaps that will make more people listen.

I look through other people’s profiles and see what they have and they haven’t got.  See what they have been doing and what they haven’t done.  Achievements and stories that I wish they hadn’t, not because I begrudge them, just because I haven’t done it myself.  The happy, smiley photos.  Annoying me because so many people like them, like their happiness.  They like my happiness too, I just want them to like it more.  Always craving more recognition.

And when I put down the phone, or turn off the computer, none of these people matter to me.  They can’t see what I am doing now.  They don’t care what I am doing now.  Neither do I care what they are doing.  The recognition, the likes, the attention is all for nothing.  On there I am only what I want them to see, I am not the person that my family knows.  I am not that person that craves attention.  I wish I would take off the mask forever, but I will put it back on tomorrow and be the person they don’t know.

Feature image by Gryffindor (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons


5 thoughts on “Maskbook

  1. Pingback: NaPoWriMo – Day 27 – “Gifts Of Eternal Light” by David Ellis | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

  2. An interesting take on social networking, on how so many of us have become attention whores. So much hyperbole, so much intolerance in the name of tolerance, so much desperation to belong that belonging seems trite and contrariness seems far more attractive.

    I love coming to read your words, they spark something in me. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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