By allowing us to “connect” and share our lives, it has stripped away our ability to communicate and be real.
I am just like everyone else, when it comes to starting my day — scrolling through my phone. This may come across as though I am being hypocritical, but I have a certain loathing for Facebook and Instagram. Yes, I am on both. And yes, I scroll through them both daily.
Lately I have been noticing, however, that everything I see makes me have feelings that I am uncomfortable with. It’s not jealousy, and it’s not bitterness. It is a kind of feeling of contempt. A contempt for the artificial happiness that many of my “friends” post, in order to give all of us a peek into their lives.
On one hand, it’s refreshing seeing everyone enjoying their summer vacations; out boating, camping, exploring and the like. But, come on! No one is ALWAYS that happy! I am glad to see all of the smiles as children are hanging with their parents and soaking up the sunshine, but we all know that it’s not ALL games and hiking and splashing in the pool.
Both Facebook and Instagram are full of fake posts and fake news.
I assume the same of Twitter as well, but I am never on there. It gives me too much anxiety.
Pics of filtered smiles and selfies and poses are really starting to make me cringe. Honestly, I KNOW what my close friends look like on a daily basis, yet they insist on posting these flawless porcelain-skinned, perfect pictures of themselves and their significant others. And to make it look even MORE fake, they don ridiculous dog ears or flowers in their hair that come from Instagram’s filters. It may be fun for one or two silly impromptu photos, but not EVERY single one of them.
Everything comes across as so superficial.
“Oh, look at me and how perfect this filter has made me look. I got 1000 likes and 32 comments about how HOT I am.”
Bitch, that’s not even you! I saw you last night, passed out on the floor after too many glasses of wine, while you bitched about how badly your filtered “Bae” treats you! You had drool in your hair and black bags under your eyes! The pic that she posted from the previous evening, however, is altered to perfection by the power of social media’s plastic surgery and the ability to take 10 pounds off her face. AND as a bonus, she has a ring of flowers and some funky fake sunglasses on her perfect image. She has scribbled a red heart drawing next to her chest with her guy’s name inside it. How sweet!
You certainly cannot tell that she was in fact crying in her glass of Merlot and considering dumping her loser boyfriend’s ass. I wonder why their relationship is not what she thought it was…..
And honestly, summertime is NOT all laughing and splashing with your kids. (I mean, if it is, COOL) but it’s not. It’s your kids whining because they are bored, and you telling them for the 100th time to please clean their rooms. It’s them sleeping until noon while you get up in the morning and go to work, hoping you won’t come home to a houseful of kids ripping into your groceries and making a big mess. Maybe those photos should be posted on Facebook, just so we can see what summer is REALLY like at your house.
I understand that everyone wants to be “liked” on social media. They want to invoke laughter or envy, or whatever other kind of attention they gain, but it would be super nice to see what reality is once in awhile.
It feeds on itself as well. It becomes a contagious and slightly weird competition. You want to be happy like them, if not happier. So, you start posting all of your pics, doing your own activities and hope that you are perceived as a world traveler, with a permanent smile, as well as perfect hair and sparkling white teeth. It is a twisted “cyber world” that we have all created to make each other envious or even to click on the stupid “thumbs up” or “heart” emoji.
The competition becomes even more inhumanely weird when people race to be the “first” to post a death of a celebrity with the obligatory RIP and sad yellow face with the little blue tear. Or when a tragedy strikes and everyone has this innate need to click on the appropriate emoji. Typically this triggers a difference of opinions in the posts and inevitably causes heated arguments that aren’t even real! The emojis do all the feeling for you, as you scroll, momentarily irritated by the wrong emoji that someone dared to put on your post. (How rude!) But, then you see a cute bear or cat video and you’re back to “emoji-ing” your happiness and hearts again. We all know that human beings do not go back and forth between emotions like we click on emojis. It’s just not human.
Why do these emojis mean so much to so many people? They are little, tiny, digitally-created images that have taken over our real feelings. We don’t tell someone we are angry anymore. We text them the red-faced circle dude with the explicit word across its mouth, or if we aren’t THAT angry, just the plain red dude.
We cannot physically tell someone that what they said is funny anymore. We send them the “laughing/crying emoji” or a LOL to express our laughter. Tiny pictures of hearts or yellow-faced kissing faces have replaced saying “I love you.” These little pictures have turned us all into robotic non-verbal children who require images to express our feelings. We have given our “wows” and our emotions to a small, yellow, nameless dot.
Then we wonder why our children have trouble with language skills and true communication!
We see how happy everyone is all the time, or what wonderful lives they have in their photos. We don’t talk about what really happened for them for the other 23 hours of their day. All we see is a tiny snapshot of when they were at their happiest moment. There is no reality. Big Brother and other Reality shows on TV have more “real” moments than our next door neighbor’s post on Facebook.
So, what is the answer? For myself, I am taking a break from it all. I just need my own dose of quiet privacy where other people’s fake happiness doesn’t exist. I am working on going out with friends for lunch and coffee more often, so I can communicate with words, and not stupid little yellow faces with expressions. I am going to plan dinner parties and card game nights this fall and I will only have one rule: No selfies or photos shared on Social Media. We can play board games that require thought and social interaction and *gasp* communication with our faces — our REAL faces.
I am going to go for long walks without my phone and sit by the river without taking a selfie of how cute I look. I will take a camera instead of my phone to capture my own moments that I will not share, but will frame in my office at home — for myself. I am going to turn it all off and enjoy the wrinkles on my best friend’s face when she smiles. I want to laugh until we cry real tears, as we talk about how her child is the devil and how glad she is that school starts soon. She can see my grey hairs and stretch marks and not judge me for them as I run around in my sweatpants and baggy shirt and not my “cute messy bun and lipstick” that is trending on Insta. I want to become a person and not just a “friend” or “follower” again.
I want to live in THIS world and not the perfect, fake, online world that has been created for us all. My friends will not only be my Facebook friends, but real people who have real issues and real laughter and are not afraid to voice and express them over a cup of tea. What a perfectly imperfect image!
The way I see it, you have but a few moments in your life where you feel truly content, happy, relaxed and loved. Most of those moments are when you are surrounded by people you truly care about. Life is much too short to waste taking selfies of these moments and filtering what is already perfect.
When you have true and complete contentment in your life, embrace it and indulge in it. These times are meant for you to enjoy and soak in. I feel like posting and sharing your true contentment and relaxation takes away its true purpose. Those few hours or minutes are yours to enjoy. Having 1000 friends and followers “like” those special times is like graffiti on a rare piece of art.
You don’t create peace and laughter in your world for your followers and friends. You create it for yourself. You can’t filter the true you or the reality of true life and relationships. We have one life and one shot at how we live it. Hiding behind emojis, filters and gifs does not make you a better person, nor does it make you have a better life.
I crave a world of true conversation, comparing wrinkles and weight gain with my close friends over wine, and honest-to-goodness laughter and love. Honest smiles, true feelings and connections with people you enjoy, cannot be replaced by an App or any other form of Social Media. We are all human, even without filters.