I was asked to write an unsolicited rebuttal of something frequently witnessed on social media. These words and thoughts aren’t perfect, nor do I intend them to be.
Each time I see someone complaining about social media being too bright and shiny or unrealistic, I try to visit those people’s social media page(s).
As you can guess, when I visit the social media of the person mentioned above, it is difficult to find any posts which reveal the soul or character of the person – and almost all of the pictures are polished Kodak moments, with $10,000 smiles filled with perfect teeth. Most are devoid of crafted personal stories or substantive glimpses into their days as human beings. There’s never a picture of them enjoying a delicious bite of questionable food over a dimly-lit sink, wearing mismatched cat socks, or an admission of honest tomfoolery or klutziness. You’ll find an album of 178 wedding day photos, but none of the family on the day the judge finalizes the divorce. Nor will there be a copy of the mugshot of the husband for his second DWI. People rarely discuss their honest doubts or openly share the beliefs they hold which trouble them. Tears are always joyful and never from injustice, defeat is a happy lesson, and houses always pristinely decorated and sleek. (Even though we know you have a room, closet, garage or attic filled with some erratic craziness that you don’t like people seeing.)
I don’t know how to say this artfully or with aplomb, so I’ll just say it: most of these refrains are from people with double-car garages and more than one kind of coffee machine in their homes.
Life is messy, with moments of breath-taking beauty and also days of anguish.
….more house shoes than Versace and more plain spaghetti than vermicelli.
Somewhere between the extremes, though, is the balance of the two in which you live your life and upon which most of your memory rests.
Social media is based on the most democratic of ideas: each of us can share, interact, and express ourselves within the boundaries of the parameters we ourselves define.
Like so many other things, most of the flaws of social media are worsened by use, one comment, post, or picture at a time. We decide what kind of social media we want. I’m confused by complaints about social media when it is literally that person’s choice to reflect his or her preferences on their social media pages.
Social media isn’t a glossy magazine; it’s the flyer someone hands you on the sidewalk, one constantly adjusting to us. The difference is that all of us create its content.
If you don’t want to create or share, of course that is okay. Withhold your snark about the content other people choose to share or your opinion that it’s all shiny and unrealistic snapshots of other people.
If you seek a different way, light the way ahead and we will follow your lead.
I’m guessing that the posts complaining about the phoniness of social media will never abate, just as people will invariably watch “The Bachelor,” yet glibly tell you that they watched, and loved, the latest installment of “60 Minutes.”