Social media. As much as I use it, I’ve never been a big fan of it. I had a MySpace back in the day but I held out on Facebook because I just didn’t see it as a necessity. As a big talker I always preferred a good old chat on the phone. Then all my friends went overseas and it was the only way to see their far flung adventures so I caved. Now, I’m as much a slave to it as anyone else.
I remember reading an article once where the writer switched off Facebook for one month. When she logged back in, she’d missed a stack of invitations including one to her own niece’s christening. Her sister just hadn’t considered that anyone would miss a Facebook invite.
The thing I hate most about social media is that people typically only post the good bits. Even with people you know well all you see is the fabulous part of their lives and when they post daily, it seems as though that’s all it is. Like pining after the lifestyles of the rich and famous, people start to believe that the lives of their friends must be fabulous and feel negative about their own lives.
For example, this is a picture from the beginning of the little dude’s birthday, and the end. It looks like you’d expect – presents, swimming, fun. It certainly doesn’t tell the tale of a boy who spent most of the day in trouble for doing things like chucking a MAJOR tantrum in a shopping centre, throwing his thongs onto the road, refusing to put his seat belt on and then, once he was finally in the car and the car was in motion, undid his seat belt and tried to climb into the front leaving Naomi with no option but to stop in a lane to re-harness him. It doesn’t show the tears and the exhaustion. It shows a happy family.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to show the positive side of things, but it has created a world where people seem to forget that sometimes, everyone’s lives are shitty. It could be for just 5 minutes of a day or it could be weeks. But no one’s life is wonderful all the time. And as much as we know that logically, some people find it hard to remember when people post their beautifully edited photos showcasing their beautifully edited life.
I am guilty as are most. Whether it’s done for attention or because of a proud moment or just because, I can’t help but feel that by posting so much we take away any personal element of communication. People don’t talk on the phone much any more and when you do chat it’s amazing how many times you say ‘I saw it on Facebook’. I listened once to one friend compliment another on how well she coped with her break up. A few positive posts and being able to hold it together when we caught up, and no one would be any the wiser as to how awful of a time it was. It can also make it harder to open up when you need to if people look to you as someone breezing through life.
I know that right now, no one would be envious of our lives given that our posts have revolved around hospitals, surgeries and cancer! But should anyone look at our photos and think we live wonderfully calm and adventurous lives, rest assured it’s as messy and hectic and hard as yours. I’d say I’d post photos to prove it but no one needs to see that!