When I log into Facebook someone is a) Getting married, b) Having a baby, c) In Paris, d) Graduating with a PhD or all of the above. Anyone else just feeling bored and kind of mediocre about life?
With social technology, we have countless ways to project the best versions of ourselves. We curate a life worth posting about in filtered images, epic posts and hilarious tweets, leaving the rest on the cutting room floor. We assume nobody wants to hear about those mundane, uncomfortable, and even tragic parts of our days, but this tendency to present only our “good side” leaves us all feeling pretty bad.
It’s much easier to share the positive than to make yourself vulnerable and reveal something not so great. I get it. But, I do think we need to be more thoughtful about the way we present ourselves online. These days, many of us communicate with friends and family via text and social media, and when all they see are birthday celebrations, cupcake indulgences and nights on the town, they assume everything is fine and even that their own lives aren’t measuring up. Many of us are left feeling isolated in our less fortunate moments (breakups, layoffs, bad days with the kids) because there is this expectation that we should be feeling good all the time.
Even when we are speaking of our achievements, we’re usually only presenting half the story (skipping over the sleepless nights and near divorces that led us to that promotion); we perpetuate half-truths in order to make us feel better about ourselves. The greatest loss of all is that we miss out on those connections that come from the best kinds of suffering. The kind that makes us dig deep, question our beliefs, and reshape our lives.
The author Hugh MacLeod says it best,
“Anyone can be an idealist. Anyone can be a cynic. The hard part lies somewhere in the middle. That is being human.”
I’m not saying we need to air all our dirty laundry on the internet, but if social media is here to stay, we need to find a way to be more human online. If this is our new community, let’s be honest with each other and make it a place that not only “likes” us in our shining moments, but also supports us during those gray areas – that hard part in the middle.