Social media has made public our private lives like never before. People share pictures of food, family, pets and trips, openly and often. We rant about politics, religion and who has done us wrong. We share our lives with our friends as it’s happening. Even live! But what are we sharing? Are we being transparent or are we over sharing the positive depiction of our lives?
When we go through our camera roll we select the best photos about the happiest moments in our lives to show to the world. If you scan most of your friends’ facebook walls or instagram threads you will see smiling faces and a litany of happy moments. We present our best side.
Now there are some who rant about negative experiences, maltreatment and the sad things they see in the world. Yet, the viewpoint of most of this negativity is how it impacts us. It’s the bad stuff that happens to us, not the bad stuff we do. We don’t share those dirty little secrets. That stuff stays behind closed doors.
Still others post things that are a gentle poke at transparency. There are funny photos of things that have gone wrong in their lives. Humblebragging where someone uses self-deprecating pictures or revelations with the underlying intention of getting positive feedback for something.
Our social media life is not reality. It’s a facade. Which I totally get. People don’t want to see the truth. For many, something sparked up when you read that. You think, “I do want to see the truth!” But you don’t. You may think you do but if people really wanted to see the truth, the social media world wouldn’t be a perfect portrayal of life. It's that way because that’s what people “like,” “comment on,” “share,” and “retweet.” We aren’t comfortable being realistic. I know I’m not. I have yet to post a photo of one of my children crying following defeat but I sure have posted all the ribbons, trophies and winning updates. I didn’t splash all over Facebook my road-rage incident in the CIBC parking lot last week. Although it was super humorous, it wasn’t my best moment. It was embarrassing. You won’t learn what happened there on social media because it shows me in a poor light. It’s not how I want people to see me because it’s not how I behave 99% of the time.
This post isn’t meant to slag people for how they use social media. Not in the slightest. What it’s meant to do is remind all the people who scroll through their feeds and threads, that it's not reality. If you are swiping through profiles thinking, “Everyone’s life is so great, except mine.” That’s not fully true. Life can be hard. Especially for some of us. Not all of us get to vacation, get new vehicles or live in nice homes. Many people grind and hustle all day to live with very little. What they show is the best part of their day or their lives. I cannot count the amount of times I have seen a couple separate to the shock of their social media followers and friends because of the loving and romantic photos they regularly shared. There are others with beautiful clothing, vacations and all the frills of life with a staggering amount of debt we have no idea about.
I love seeing my friends and family doing amazing things. Their happiness makes me happy. Continue to share that with the world and be grateful. Let’s also be realistic and understand life isn’t perfect. What we see on social media is the ideals of life. Don’t measure your reality against someone else’s selected representation of life. It’s not a fair comparison.