Fake, inauthentic, pretentious, not real life, misleading, deceiving, perspective shifter, maligner of our integrities and all the various names that social media has been called, hold little significance for me. You see I never used social media to replace reality for me.
Social media is a huge place with an even bigger visibility for us and others. We interact, post, receive and give opinion on the daily. We expose, hide and justify our reasons for being here. We are constantly debating whether the time spent here could be used more productively. We are always making sure that we document our life away from social media on social media just so people can believe that we do something beyond our existence and involvement here.
When I entered the diverse world of social media I had a slew of misgivings about it. I was told by people that it can affect my confidence in myself negatively and some even told me that I might become delusional.
My experiences have been different. Much different.
When I started I did post pretty pictures and sexy getaways with my then very-available husband. We were traveling more than we could afford and had little respect for things like budget, kids, social life or a retirement plan. All we wanted to do really was explore the world and make our presence known.
Soon it got old. Not for me. For others. For others it got old. People who didn’t identify with my traveling soon got bored and unfollowed me. To them whether I was in Italy or Spain didn’t matter.
I switched to some prophetic philosophical musings as a way to diversify myself. But let’s be honest! For a 24 year old to know all about everything that everyone is going through is impossible. My musings were, in one word, stupid. More people unfollowed.
Then I became a mother and like most mom bloggers the floodgates of wisdom opened. From her first crawl to her first word to the first time the thought of her going to college came to me, all were documented in detail. It was just another mom account with more pictures of a baby no one cared about.
I was in residency and soon social media took a backseat. I didn’t have the time or the energy to be productive in many places at one time. I gave up social media with the hope of returning to it.
I frivolously used Facebook, locked my Instagram and mainly texted with people who cared for me.
When I came back a few years later it was a different world. Every idiotic thing that I had done years ago was being done by way too many people. There were more food bloggers with uninspiring recipes. More mom bloggers with repetitive images of the same child over and over. There were even more travel bloggers with the same nauseatingly perfect life that I once portrayed on my social media .
It really made me see my own crassness and average-minded attempts at making a wave through social media. Why would people follow a mundane account with an even more mundane life? But it also fixed my internal displeasure of mundaneness while being a part of it. Implicit biases make us have weird judgements.
People follow mundaneness. It’s a diversion and a distraction. People follow accounts that have pretty pictures of falsely happy people. It’s all okay. It isn’t inauthentic. It is social media. Just as you quell an argument with your husband before entering someone’s home, you don’t put up a picture with your mother-in-law breathing down your neck over burnt food. It’s just not typical human behavior.
So before expecting social media to be a hundred percent truthful and authentic and fair and raw and honest and all that crap, let’s ask ourselves! Why do we think social media is fake? It’s really not fake. It’s just socially appropriate.