Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Social Media-- Is it real or is it Memorex?

Social Media— 
we all use it. We talk to our friends from High School, college, work and the old neighborhood. We read their posts on what they are doing during their day; the fun adventures they are experiencing during their vacations. We see pictures of their kids whom we have never met or the ones we last saw when they were toddlers and we act as if they are the closest friends in the world and gush over those sweet little faces. I mean, don’t you feel that they are sitting next to you chatting over hot cocoa and buttered Rye bread because that’s all you have in the house?

Do we ever acknowledge the disillusion of Social Media? We look at our friends witty posts and we decide we could never be that funny. We see the beautiful couples with their super clean kids and we think that we are the ones that have the messed up families. What we don’t understand is that everyone has a messed up family we just choose to gloss over the unhappy to make everything seem peachy keen. 

If we were living realistically shouldn’t we see posts such as:

Monday Morning: Today sucks, the dog crapped all over the brand new rug. Child #5 just puked all over the dog and my gagging reflux is kicking in. I hate being a mom!!! 

Tuesday Afternoon:  I am broke, how in the world am I going to pay the bills?  My house is underwater, the paint is chipping and my dead beat husband is sleeping on the couch fulfilling his potential. Why I am still married to him?

Saturday Evening: Here I sit eating a gallon of Mexican Chocolate ice cream by myself. When am I ever going to find the person of my dreams? Could it be because I am in my pajamas all day long and hate the way I look? Who in the world is going to want this?  (Then a real picture of themselves.)

Would we ever really see these type of posts?  Well, maybe if it was written tongue-in-cheek. But never the whole honest-to-goodness truth.  What does this do to our self-esteem?

I know that I spend too much time on Social Media and I get depressed thinking that I am not half the person that I want to be or how my friends are. This is the negative part of Social Media. We compare ourselves to each other, we feel that we could be so much happier living in the big city (or the small city like Gilmore Girl’s Sand Hollow,) or having a certain career.
We look at others and are quick to judge them just by a picture. We make wild accusations when they write a post that is truthful; we never typing what we are thinking, we just “think” them out loud in your own house. 

Seriously, I overheard a conversation at the college library one day about someone who has gained weight and how much their lives must stink because of it. Okay… talk about shallow.
There are other times though where I am so thankful for social medial. When I find a long lost friend, or talk to family whom I might not have a phone number for. I know that doesn’t mean we are “best” friends, but it is nice to reconnect. 

Social media can be uplifting and therapeutic— One day after we moved from Santa Clara, I was super sad. I was missing Devin and my friends in Utah and as such gave a little cryptic woe-is-me type post. Low and behold, not only did a good Utah friend catch my mood, so did one of my newly acquired friends. I cannot tell you how much the new friend showing up at my door with a plate full of cookies meant for me and we talked for hours. (She knows who she is…)

Social Media can be educational— we find groups that have the same driving ambition as we do. They encourage, support and give great ideas on how you can be a better writer, artist, sister, friend, wife, child or parent. One of the best pages on Facebook that I have found is a page called Humans of New York.  Brandon, a photographer, goes throughout New York and talks to the average Joe Schmoe, and connects with them just enough to ask them one pertinent question, such as: what would you tell a large group of people? Amazingly enough, those (as most tag them, not me… I’m a New Yorker by birth,) tough, unfriendly New Yorkers will talk to him. It’s usually a few sentences but what they give is deep and touching.

Do we act different when we are online than when we are sitting at the dinner table with our family?  You bet we do!  It is kind of like having your own family and then going to your parent’s house and sinking back to your childhood self.  Why do we do this? I feel it is because we have a certain respect of our parents that makes up not want to disappoint them by talking back in case you hurt their feelings.  When we are at our dinner tables we are our natural self (one would hope,) on Social Media as I said before we fear letting people see our weaknesses because we want our old HS friends to know we are not the same awkward, geeky, brace-faced person or that our super cool, hot looks have diminished and we are a faded version of the red rose we used to be.

Let’s be honest, how many of your friends have a “thinner” versions of their real-self as their profile pic?  We want to be seen as our best-self. I know I have done that before.  Haven’t you?
I guess overall Social Media can be considered whatever you make it. 

How do you feel about Social Media? Which is your favorite platform?