Social media is an interesting beast.
On one hand, it offers us unparalleled opportunities to stay in touch with friends and family all over the world, on the other it has a substantial potential to fill us with a false sense of what life is really like.
Let's face it, The Facebook Twitter and Instagram versions of people's lives for the most part amounts to little more than a continuous highlight reel of the best moments we have. Not that that is really new news to anyone... but these "selective insights" do have a dark side.
Case in point: our middle son (aged 30), spent the weekend hanging out with our daughter (age 29) and they got to talking about a trip we took back to Denmark in 2011. Our daughter and her best friend — at the time barely adults in their late teens — went with my wife and myself back to my birth home, while aforesaid son stayed here because he was in college.
While we definitely all talked about our trip together as a family, the majority of the version of it he experienced came via the long series of pictures each of us posted to our Facebook profiles during the trip.
During their conversation this weekend, son and daughter got to talking about some of the underlying truths behind the trip to Denmark and he was surprised to learn, almost 10 years later, that the trip had often been one of unfortunate, awkward and pretty difficult moments.
"For all this time," he said, "I felt like I had missed out on the greatest vacation EVER. Now I don't feel so bad about having missed it..."
More recently, a dear friend of ours didn't even realize the Mrs. Denmarkguy's mother passed away, about 10 days ago.
In this case, we hadn't had a chance to talk on the phone or face-to-face (she lives a couple of towns over from us), and whereas she knew "something" was bothering my wife, her impression gathered from social media posts (we all "follow" each other) picked up on a general sadness, but not on the fact that there had actually been a death in the family.
Now I'm not here to editorialize on the "good," the "bad" and the "indifferent" of life, however it strikes me as a little bit of a cautionary tale. Like I said, it may not exactly be new news to anyone that social media presents a one-sided view of people's lives... but there are a lot of people in the world who internalize a false image of how things really are out there. What's more, they potentially fall into depressions and feeling bad about themselves because they can't see any way their lives look even half as good or interesting or exciting as other people's.
On reflection — after our son talk about this weekend — I realize that a major part of why I barely ever use Facebook, twitter, Instagram and the like, is precisely because they portray artificially inflated imagery of life that is far too shiny compared to reality.
Conversely, the reason I really like social blogging platforms like Hive is that they tend to tell longer stories and are more based around actual accounts of people's lives; that is, that the picture painted tends to be a little more well rounded.
I grant you, that may be just personal philosophy and preferences at play. I just don't like getting embroiled in the whole "whose life is more shiny" contest. Life for the most part, tends to be pretty gritty much of the time. And that's really OK. I think it would be pretty boring if it was just sunshine and parties all the time.
Well, that's it for now. I hope you're all having a great week, wherever you may be. Thanks for reading!
How about YOU? Does the "shiny-ness" of social media bother you? Or is it just part of the game? Do people take it too seriously? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!
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Created at 20200825 17:55 PDT