Humans have always wanted to show off, haven’t we? And now we have various platforms, which allow us to do exactly that. How can we leave on a holiday without a Facebook check in at the airport with a ‘travelling to xyz’ status or without Instagramming the pictures of our brand new shiny suitcases?
Without an update on social media, no meal is thoroughly enjoyed, no vacation is successful, no movie is worth watching, no party is fun; nothing actually “happened” if you haven’t put it there for everyone to see.
It’s as if ‘It doesn’t exist unless it’s been Instagrammed’.
Are we forgetting to lead our lives because we’re so busy documenting them? It’s almost as if we want to go on that vacation, or to that fancy restaurant simply for the sake of a fancy collection of Instagram photos.
We all want to be #hashtag blessed. Are we really enjoying the moment? We’re so busy adding filters to photographs to make them more appealing, so busy collecting ‘Likes’ which gives a boost to our self-esteem. Busy planning a “perfect” day on Snapchat and Insta Story.
We’re making videos of our favourite scenes from our favourite movies; we’re looking at the Eiffel Tower through the camera lens of our phones and not through our naked eyes!
We don’t care about the ‘moment’ anymore; we are more concerned about how our lives are being portrayed to other people.
And all this seems pretty harmless, doesn’t it? Of course, we all want to put forward the positive, that’s natural. But the point is ‘real’ life isn’t perpetually positive.
There’s other stuff in life as well. Stuff that balances out the bright-and-shiny. Bright-and-shiny on one side; the crappy truth on the other. If we lose reality, we can lose connection, intimacy and worst, our own self- esteem.
We don’t post pictures of the ugly truth, do we?
When you’re trying so hard to get some sleep but the silent tears are rolling down because no matter how much you may wish for it, people don’t come back from heaven, they’ve left on a one-way ticket.
We don’t post pictures of all the things that go wrong on an exotic vacation, we don’t mention how that visually appealing dish which we instagrammed as #foodporn actually tasted so crap that we didn’t bother finishing it.
Pictures may speak a thousand words, but they don’t necessarily speak the truth.
Are we adding filters to the ‘real’ essence of life? Are we only living a version of the truth?
The shiniest, happiest, prettiest version. The version where one cute, fun photo follows another with nothing drab in between.
As we scroll through endless, perfect images of our friends’ lives, let alone celebrities, how can we not get bamboozled into believing them, falling for the images, and comparing them with our own ‘not so fancy’ lives?
And this is where social media lets us down, as humans. Yes, it’s a brilliant form of communication. It’s fast paced and it’s marvellous and it has revolutionized life. But it’s only a part of the picture.
Are we all trying to create a perfect, somewhat fictional virtual life for ourselves? Everyone’s got bright and shiny moments, and everyone’s got their crappy truths. But the truth is no one is perfect, no one can be perfect, and no one should even want to be.