Once upon a time, if we wanted to know how a friend is doing, we would open our phone books, look alphabetically for their surname, and call them. Or if we have more time in our hands (and money in our wallets) we would set up a get-together. Catch up on what is going on in our lives, say what we truly feel about worldly issues and trifle things, and show our emotions in a personal level (not just through emojis and emoticons). We would share a meal, give a goodbye hug and bid everyone goodbye and a better life. Nothing beats hearing each other’s voices, seeing genuine smiles, and the touch factor.
But welcome to the age of social media. Where your life is summed up with foodporn, road trips, bucket lists, check-ins, and yolo moments. Social media is the CV of your life. And we all know what CVs should look like, only the best.
How many photos do you take before you actually post it online? How many photos do you take while on a trip and end up posting less than ten because not everything looks great? How many angles of a cup of coffee do you check before clicking that camera button, prior to sharing it on social media in a filtered photo? Nothing is natural anymore. More and more photos or selfies are being edited for it to look better. After all, it’s all about looking good.
You are experiencing moderate traffic. You had a small argument with some co-workers. But this is what you post online: Life is crap. #TRAFFICSUCKS #WORKSUCKS Really? You know what sucks? Getting killed in a war that you don’t have anything to do with at all.
So you go online and see that since it’s summer, almost all of your social media contacts are either hitting the beach or the pool. But you don’t have the same luxury. So what do you do? Google a random beach photo and edit it to make it your own beach view. And ta-daaa. You can check-in on any beach and people will think you’re on a vacation.
The bottom line is, everybody lies. Everyone can pretend to be someone else behind the computer, behind their phones. I even did it before. I didn’t have a stable job, I was doing freelance work and was staying in the mountainside. I did this for five months. When people asked me how I was, I answered something else. I said that I’m enjoying having my own hours, I can travel freely, wake up whenever I want and sleep whenever I want. Everyone was envious of this. Everyone saw my travel photos, everyone saw that I was able to afford this lifestyle. But you know what the truth was?
Yes, it can be great for a while. In fact, I was able to feed myself and sustain my lifestyle. But doing it for more than a month was not really working out for me. I got bored. I became depressed. I craved the interaction with other people. I craved the normalcy, the routine of having a 9 to 5. There were days and weeks where I had no active jobs, no stable source of income -my social media was quiet. I had an unkempt house and unpaid bills. My fridge was always empty, I ate cheap so I can spend on other things. But did I want other people to know this?
I didn’t want my 896 “friends” and some 200 followers to see that I’m not having the time of my life or that I’m in debt. I wanted them to see that I’ve tasted cuisine from all seven continents, that I’ve been to more than 50 countries, that I’ve bungee jumped and partied the night away.
Don’t believe everything that you see on social media. If you really want to know how a friend is doing, give them a call or better yet see them and catch up. And if you don’t have their personal numbers, don’t even bother. It only goes to show that you can live without knowing their make believe lives online. Take it from me and from at least five other friends that I truly know, we lie on social media.
About Genina: Dreaming of a world where females can be presidents without prejudices and wives are not bought over the internet or are younger than 18, I’ve lived and worked in 5 countries across the globe in search of what I can call home. Facebook @gennna.hernando Twitter @Caffeinatedgen