Do you ever log onto Facebook and see someone’s post about something great that happened that day? Do you log onto Instagram and see photos from some new and exciting adventure? Do you see tweets on Twitter from all your friends who appear to be hanging out without you? Can I let you in a secret? It’s not real. Not really.
Yes, great things are happening in your friends’ lives, but that’s not all. Think about what you post on social media. You only share what you want people to see. You of course share the good times, the fun times, the spontaneous jam sessions, and midnight adventures. How often do you post the dark times, the lonely times, the times you feel left out? Exactly. Because when people are negative on social media, they look annoying and pessimistic, unless they find a way to do it in a funny way.
And I’m not saying any of this to point a finger. We all do it. I do it. Go through my feed and you’ll see photos from my adventures and posts about how great my friends are. I once had a friend from college say that I only take photos in scenic places. Which is only true because that’s what I share. I do my best to make my ordinary surroundings look extraordinary. I go out of my way to find something beautiful. I push myself. And I think for a while it became less about the adventure and more about the photo.
When I lived at the camp in Mammoth, 85% of my photos were taken in the same location, but if you didn’t live there, you’d never know it. I could walk less than 200 feet and get a completely different vantage point.
I took far too many ski lift photos to show how sporty I am. Except I rarely skied more than three hours at a time, and I usually went up for less time than that. But that’s only because I had the luxury to do so. I want my life to be an adventure, so I did my best to show that I really was adventuring.
In reality, I spent a majority of my time at work, and the rest of my free time drinking, sleeping, or wasting time with the boyf on Netflix. I’d probably ski once every week or two.
I gave the illusion that I travel a lot. I’d post photos of Costa Rica or Ireland like it was no big deal. But those trips were life changing, and I have no idea when I’ll be able to do another one.
A lot of times social media can bring depression. We feel alone or sad or lost, and people post about how their lives are so great. You’d never know that those same people have struggles too. If social media is getting you down, maybe you should unplug for a little while. I know I’m thinking about it.
Because social media isn’t all negative. It has a way of building community. I am able to keep in contact with my friends from literally all over the world.
So we have to take the good with the bad. Step back, look at what you have. And maybe, the next time you get annoyed at how great someone’s life appears, think about what you’re sharing. Because you’re probably comparing their positive with your negative, and that’s never a good idea.