I have a LOT of thoughts on this little video but I don’t know how to verbalize them without sounding like a jerk because this is going to be one heck of an unpopular opinion. God help me, I’m going to try, though…
The thrust of this video is that everyone fakes their lives on social media because if you admit the truth about how much your life sucks (their thesis statement, not mine) people will stop following you.
First of all, that last part is BS because anyone on a site like Facebook knows that it’s the train-wrecks and the people whose lives seem to be non-stop drama that are posts you look forward to The Most. Not just because it’s like live reality TV but also because you get invested and worry about that person and also, yes, because that guy whose status shows his life is a mess makes you feel that much better about yours. And, yes, this is awful but you know that’s the truth.
Unless a person was genuinely spewing hate or sharing really awful things, we don’t block people who are sharing their warts, we either offer to help or read their posts with concern because we get sucked into their story, grab a bowl of popcorn and watch the drama unfold or laugh at them. Can you imagine anyone saying, “Golly this is just getting interesting! I better shut it off.” ? It’s not a thing.
Secondly, I rarely think before I post on social media unless it’s something business related or a big announcement, especially not when posting to my private Facebook account that only goes to friends and family. (If they don’t know I’m a freak by now, what rock have they been under? I mean, really.) I also rarely think before speaking in real life so I guess that’s just my way. I certainly don’t craft fake posts to try to falsify some kind of life and, frankly, I have a hard time believing many others do.* It seems more likely that people need to believe that’s what others do so that they don’t feel inadequate about their own lives in comparison, the same way everyone calls Photoshop on a really good painting, or has to qualify the accomplishments of others with petty tear downs about how anyone (read as: they) could have done that. Unless the average person is much more deranged than I assume, I think this has to fall under “stuff we tell ourselves is more widespread than it really is to make ourselves feel better.” Because, outside of celebrities who are genuinely completely fake online, the idea that people are setting up elaborate fake photoshoots for likes on Instagram and Facebook or whatever would mean that we are living in some kind of Dystopia where everyone has lost their goddamn mind. I’m sorry, no matter how prevalent it seems to you at the moment, it’s still just a few people and not the majority or society would have shut down by now.
*=I know for a fact some people do this, I’ve witnessed it and been mind boggled. BUT they were teens, not grown mature adults.
Sometimes people are enjoying themselves. Sometimes they share that enjoyment on Facebook and you’re jealous. Sometimes they share completely inanity and you’re like, what is your deal? But the idea that everyone in the world has created a completely pretend life for themselves on social media is just wishful thinking. Instead of concocting involved conspiracy theories for how they are faking every detail of their lives on social media, why not take a step back and think about what it is about someone’s post that makes you so damn jealous in the first place. Chances are, you can fix that and start doing the kinds of things you want to do with a heck of a lot less effort than it takes to convince yourself everyone else is miserable and staging every sharable.
I always tell my writing group, when they get intimidated by how far along others are in their novels, to tell themselves that the others are cheating and that’s why they are ahead so that they don’t get discouraged. But I always reiterate that, while it can be a helpful trick to tell yourself that you’re the only one doing it right to boost your confidence, don’t ever fall into the trap of actually believing it. Because knowing that others have already achieved what you want is helpful because it both shows you that it can be done and motivates you to get there yourself. Don’t cheat yourself out of bettering your life because it’s easier to just believe everyone else’s life sucks and they are lying about the good parts.