Why Social Networking is a Life’s Highlight Reel, Not the Whole Story

Why Social Networking is a Life’s Highlight Reel, Not the Whole Story

Why Social Networking is a Life’s Highlight Reel, Not the Whole StoryWhat impression do you get of others from their social networking profiles? Is it simply their life’s highlight reel?

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I tweet about the IT industry at all times of day and night. I enjoy playing with a lot of cool geeky gadgets, and haven’t won a game of Words with Friends in months. Some of that is 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, visit fantastic places, eat good food, and hob-nobb with some of the most intelligent, beautiful and amazing people. There’s some truth in there too, and I’ll leave you to decide which.

Typically, most of us only post the cool and exciting to our social networking accounts. It’s understandable. Why would we post the boring or the mundane? That’s not what we want to be noticed for.


Social Networking is a Life’s Highlight Reel

I’m just like most people on social networking sites. If I travel somewhere cool – I’ll share it. If I’m enjoying a good time with great friends — I’ll share it. That recent Friday night when I sat at home feeling utterly miserable and attractively stuffing my face with pizza? Not shared so much.

Yet despite this, we find ourselves comparing our lives to the highlight reels we see on social networking profiles. It’s an unfair comparison.

I caught up with some very old friends of mine recently, and we got talking about Facebook. One shared with me: “Sometimes, I look at your Facebook profile and all the cool stuff you’re doing, and I laugh!”. “Why?” I asked. “Well… because it’s you!”.

What she meant was, having known me for so long, she found it funny reading my Facebook profile – my highlight reel. Why? Becuase it didn’t reflect my true life with all its lumps and bumps, ups and downs.

Social Networking is a life's highlight reelDivider

Comparing Lives Through Social Networking

life's highlight reelThe danger here of course, is that as the majority of us are all connected on social networking sites to people we actually don’t know that well at all.

Look at your connections. Are there work colleagues, business contacts and acquaintances there?  It’s easy to look at their social networking updates and think that everyone but you is experiencing the most amazing lives!

Why am I not sky diving every weekend? Does everybody drive fast cars for fun? Am I the only one who isn’t travelling the world?

I think comparing who we are and what we do to others is unhealthy at the best of times. Social networking sites make it dangerously easy to make that comparison more readily.

After all, very few of us post too much to social networking about the challenges we have, the heartache or frustration we experience, or the hard work we’ve put in to achieving anything. We typically only post the good bits. The bits we are proud of. In effect, we post our life’s “highlight reel”.


Struggle with Insecurity

Steven Furtick TweetThe 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 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.

We struggle with insecurity when we compare our behind the scenes to every else’s highlight reel, says Richard Tubb, quoting @StevenFurtick. Click to Tweet

It’s a lot like going to 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 we’ve failed at, or the mistakes we’ve made, or the disappointments we’ve experienced.

It’s worth remembering that.

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So the next time you are a little low, and become irritated by another super-cool picture or super positive update from a Facebook friend, just remember that you’re seeing their highlight reel. There is absolutely, positively (no two ways around it) also stuff happening behind the scenes to that person. And they likely mirror the struggles everyone else has or will experience.

Comparing your life to the highlights you see of others’ lives on social networking sites is an inaccurate comparison. Always remember that social networking is a life’s highlight reel, not the whole story.

Always remember that social networking is a life's highlight reel, not the whole story, says Richard Tubb. Click to Tweet

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photo credit: s_falkow via photo pin cc


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