If you know me well in person, you’ll know I freely admit that I have a very fortunate life. I get to pick and choose the clients I work with and how often I work with them – and so I really enjoy my work. That’s all true.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I tweet about the IT industry at all times of day and night, get to enjoy playing with a lot of cool geeky gadgets, and haven’t won a game of Words with Friends in months. Some of that’s definitely true.
If we’re close enough to be friends on Facebook, you’ll know that I’m always have a roaring good time with my vast circle of close friends, who, incidentally, are fabulous. I travel the world, visiting fantastic places, eating good food, and hob-nobbing with some of the most intelligent, beautiful and amazing people. There’s some truth in there, and I’ll leave you to decide which.
The Facebook You and the real You
I caught up with some very old friends of mine recently, and we got talking about Facebook. My one friend said to me “Sometimes, I look at your Facebook and all the cool stuff you’re doing, and I laugh!”. “Why?” I asked. “Well… Because it’s you!”.
What I understood my friend meant is that having known me for so long, she found it funny that to read my Facebook profile would suggest I have the greatest life ever, which to somebody who doesn’t know me, might seem true.
Comparing their lives to yours
Don’t get me wrong. I *do* have a good life. But it’s not all a bed of roses.
The danger here, of course, is that as we’re all connected on social media to people we actually don’t know that well at all, it’s easy to look at their social media and think that they have the most amazing lives. And then compare it to our own. And become insecure that they’re achieving more/faster/easier than us.
After all, very few of us post too much to Social Media about the challenges we have, the heartache or frustration we experience, or the hard work we’ve put in to achieving anything. We only post the good bits. The bits we are proud of. In effect, we post our life’s “highlight reel”.
Behind the Scenes
The Pastor Steven Furtick posted a very astute update to Twitter last year. He said “One reason we struggle with insecurity is that we’re comparing our behind the scenes to every else’s highlight reel”.
Comparing your own all encompassing view of your own life with the highlight reel of some else’s life can create insecurities. It can also create resentment. It shouldn’t, but it’s human nature.
It’s a lot like visiting a party. You scrub up. You wear your nicest clothes that make you look the best. During small talk with others you share the cool things that are happening in your life. You accentuate all the good bits about you – and understandably so. It’s the stuff you’re proud of and want to share.
But reality may be different. Few amongst us want to highlight the stuff they’ve failed at, or the mistakes they’ve made, or the disappointments they’ve experienced.
Social Media is like this. Facebook especially.
So the next time you are a little low, and become irritated by another super-cool picture or super positive update from a “friend” on Facebook, just remember that you’re seeing their highlight reel, but there is absolutely, positively (no two-ways-around it) also stuff happening behind the scenes to that person too.
Comparing your life to theirs isn’t an accurate comparison at all, and doing so will create unrealistic expectations that you’ll never achieve.