The Social Media Lie

You know how a week or so ago, Essena O’Neil, that girl who’s an Instagram Star decided that she was going to talk about Social Media causing people to lead fake hollow lives?

Right. It was pretty moving. And as someone who’s not you know, great at social media (Sooo lazzzyyyy…), the whole thing made me think of my mother. She recently had her high school reunion, and remarked, once again how everyone talked about how fun her life looked, and how great it was that we as a family did all these wonderful things together.

Now, I’m not saying that it doesn’t totally rock that my family goes to bars, Yankee and Giant Games, Broadway shows, weddings and The Jersey Shore together. It’s awesome that we do these things, that we get along, and that we have the time of our lives when they happen.

“I wonder if they realize that most nights are just us sitting home and watching TV?” My mom asked. “I mean, I only post the pictures of the fun stuff.”

This was what struck me as most interesting part of the declaration from O’Neil that her instagram didn’t reflect her real life. Were there people who thought that it did? Did she think it did?

I know that I’m in an interesting age group, when it comes to my relationship with social media. I’m young enough that social media, Facebook in particular, is an integral part of my interpersonal relationships and social life. But I’m also old enough to remember not having these things. I’m old enough to remember not having the internet in my house. But there’s a generation of kids who don’t understand that yeah, you only post the fun things. The boring stuff just is.

This leads to two things. First, boring feeds that are just what everyone ate for lunch and what music they’re listening to. And second of all an outsize sense that everything about you needs to be worthy of your feed.

It doesn’t. You don’t. There’s nothing wrong with posting pictures and stories about awesome stuff in your life. There’s nothing wrong with not doing that. There’s also nothing wrong with sitting on the couch in your jammies with your mom and a glass of wine and yelling about how Jamal Lyon is being an idiot. (It’s almost always Jamal, I think because we love him most and we expect better of him then the other two.)

This is why if I had a rallying cry it would be, “I am more than one thing.” It took me so long to come around to this, to accept that it’s OK to be multifaceted, and that I wasn’t being disingenuous. You don’t always have to be on, and not every part of you needs to be shared with the world.

To paraphrase Lin-Manuel Miranda (the MASTER of being more than one thing) “the world has no right to your heart.” Share if you wish. Don’t if you don’t.

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