While at a concert the other night I saw a balding, middle-aged man wearing a white t-shirt that simply read: “You look richer on Facebook.” My first instinct was to internally ridicule the man for wearing such a dumb shirt and elbow Lee who was sitting right next to me. Which I DID do… I know, I can be rather catty and shallow at times. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how true the statement on this guy’s shirt actually was.
We really do put our best digital foot forward when it comes to social media. ALL social media… This isn’t exclusive to Facebook. It extends to Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. etc. Why do we do this? Because we can. And thanks to the Orwellian world in which we now live, it has NEVER been easier. Most of us, I believe, use the platform of social media to carefully craft the image of ourselves that we wish to project to the outside world. Am I wrong?
The “Class Reunion” used to be the vehicle by which we attempted to show off our “best” selves for one night. We’d diet, buy a new figure-flattering outfit and color our hair. We’d fluff up our job titles and descriptions. Brush up on our awareness of current events or the latest juicy bits of gossip. And season our conversations with snippets from the family highlight reel. But now we need not limit our narcissistic indulgences to once every five or ten years.
Now we are out there 24/7, baby! And in tandem with the convenience of the “24/7 All Me, All the Time” channel comes the convenience of “hiding” behind glowing screens day and night. Sorting, cropping and color-correcting our photos until they show nothing but our best sides. Our darkest secrets now cloaked in our ability to choose whether or not to click that “Share” button. C’mon. Admit that you do it.
OK… I’ll go first with the confessions… As far as “negative” things go, I might post that I am getting a migraine or slammed with a sinus infection but that is all fairly innocuous “above the neck” stuff, if you will. Not to mention, there is some cyber sympathy that comes with that sort of suffering minus the need for embarrassment. But no one, I repeat NO ONE puts the crappy, nitty-gritty stuff of life that really goes on out there for the world to see.
For instance, we don’t mention the fight we had with our spouse or kids the day before. You know the one that ended with the slamming of doors and muttering of expletives? There is nary a word about the gas station burrito we gobbled in haste that later kept us up all night, chained to the bathroom fixtures, experiencing the sorts of digestive horrors nightmares are made of. We’re mums on the “mysterious rash” some new medication is giving us. And there isn’t a peep about what you suspect the weirdo next door may or may NOT be doing with a chainsaw in his garage at 3 a.m.
I mean, sure, there are always going to be a few of “those” people who are willing to hang ALL of their dirty laundry out there… Lamenting the choices they’ve made in life… Or the number of times they’ve been rejected, how much they hate their friends or social life, feel lonely or have suffered financial ruin. I, for one, stand in curious awe of these individuals. One can only assume that these perverse pixel people are sadists, masochists or hypochondriacs in search of some commiseration, pity or affirmation.
However, it is their right and freedom to do so. Personally, I would rather hide my shame. I prefer (as I suspect most people are likewise doing) to disguise the less-than-stellar-stuff-of-life in the fanciful façade of a funny picture or clever observation… My life… According to me… made up of millions of pixels… arranged precisely the way that I want YOU to see them.
14 thoughts on “You Look Richer / Prettier / Happier / More Interesting on Facebook”
You are soooo much more than your pixels!!! 🙂
You are such a good friend 🙂 Thanks Paige, as always. Sorry it took awhile to get back to this but I have been a HUGE blog slacker!!
For me, I don’t really trust the security or lack of, on the internet. Some details of peoples lives could be used for evil, if in the wrong hands.
Absolutely Joe! I don’t trust it either… if I’m going to put it out there I am basically saying I am OK with anyone seeing it.
I spend a lot of time curating my ‘friend’ lists so that only those who know me best and I am comfortable sharing everything with exist on them. I am not linked to ANY of my family members via social media (there is a reason I live 2000+ miles from them…) and I think twice about giving out my info to anyone so we can “link up, man!” So, yes I let it all hang out and don’t mind doing so since my list of connections doesn’t even reach the triple digits. A lot of them are of the same mindset, so we end up having some really interesting and personally involved conversations.
Do I worry about security? Off and on, yes. But the value of the authenticity of my digital life far outweighs the fact that something I might have said at one point in my life could reflect badly on me at some future point.
Plus, I live my life in such a way these days that I strive to only say things that I could stand behind in person, in front of the most critical audience. It’s super freeing to live that way and know that I can stand behind anything I might have put out there at any point in my life.
That really is smart. I often think about doing the same thing but then I am glad to have an “attachment” to a lot of people who I once knew in my past. Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective though. I appreciate it!
I have this itch…….. kidding!
You’ve got to check this out on why IG users are less happy than FB users:
Thank you SO MUCH for sharing! I have got to check this out! I tried looking at as soon as you posted it but the site was blocked for me. This subject fascinates me!
Sad but true!!
“The burrito that keeps you chained to the bathroom fixtures”
You like that part, eh? It happens man. It happens. 🙂