Keeping It Real on Social Media

When it comes to what we post and what we say about ourselves on social media, have you ever thought about how truthful people are? If you have, let's explore that thought together, because everything is better with a friend. And ketchup.

Over the holidays I spent a night with one of my oldest and dearest friends and we spent a lot of time talking about the "friends" we have in common on Facebook and who's doing what. We quickly agreed that no one, ourselves included, posts the bad stuff that happens to them unless it's funny and/or self-deprecating, like Pinterest fails or "we spent five hours in emergency because my kid put Lego in her butt. She's fine now. Ha ha ha." It's all "we went here, we did this and isn't life wonderful???" With emoticons.

My friend is a teacher with a very busy classroom filled with high-needs students. She's also a single mom who, understandably, has zero time for bullshit. Like everyone, we've both had our shit to deal with including divorce, infertility, challenging child behaviours, job losses, death, sick parents and more. My friend does not begrudge the happiness or success of others, nor do I, but she has made a conscious decision to limit her time and activity on social media because it's not always a place of honesty.

And I totally get why she's doing it. People rarely post the raw, brutally honest, real time thoughts and events that make up our days. Social media does not provide a true picture of what's going on in someone's life, and maybe it's not supposed to. Maybe it is just a highlight reel or selective snapshot of our lives, meant to put our best face forward to the online community, allowing us to save our true feelings for those who know us and know our human faces, not just our avatars. But that doesn't make for a very authentic experience online. Social media has become not just a way to connect and share news and ideas, but a way to craft our image in a way that suits us the best.

So what if our posts were more honest? What if even our bios and our profile pictures reflected who we are most days, not just on our best day? Would this make social media a better or worse place?

I try to keep it pretty real online but the majority of the content I post involves me trying to be funny or showing off my kids and pets (especially when they're being assholes, that's my favourite). I definitely fall into that "only posts humorous and self-deprecating content when it's over and everyone can laugh about it" category. So what am I trying to say about myself? What do I want people to think about me, and why does it matter? In fact, if my profiles and bios were more honest they might read something like:

Exhausted mother of two working multiple jobs and trying not to fall asleep during endless "performances" she is forced to sit through in her basement. Drinks too much coffee and WAY too much wine. Needs to lose 10 pounds.

Or

Netflix binge-watcher who shaves her legs once a month and lets her kids watch television for as long as they want provided they are quiet.

Or

Mother, wife, teacher, maid, psychiatrist, coach, cook, bartender, explorer, laundress, slave, drill sargeant, dog walker, entrepreneur, writer, belly-scratcher and basket case. Sloths and cats are my spirit animals.

As for my my profile picture, this one of me trying to be sexy, not knowing my sunnies are crooked and there is spaghetti sauce ON MY ARMPIT is, I think, an accurate reflection.

realsocialmedia1

Or the one where my dog is lying in the shower, because that pretty much sums up the weirdness I deal with every day.

socialmedia

Or the no make-up, punishing natural light selfie I took to give my husband advance notice that I'd had my hair done.
realsocialmedia
Hmmm... Actually I kinda like that last one. Slap on a Rise filter and it just might work.

 

 

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Picture of Jen Millard

Author: Jen Millard

Jen Millard is a writer who's not afraid to say what everyone else is thinking about parenting and relationships. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram via @wineandsmarties and at wineandsmarties.com.

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