Our social media lives

The long weekend of 4th of July I decided to stay home, relax and catch up on all the shows I’ve missed. Of course, I didn’t plan to check my social media accounts, but who makes time for that? Social media will unconsciously grab your cell phone, put it on your hand and make you start scrolling.

As I was scrolling, I was genuinely glad to see many good news on Facebook after all the violent acts we have been having around the world. One of my friends announced he is having his second baby, one of them had his first baby, an ex-coworker bought his first home, multiple friends were on the other side of the world on a vacation loving life, one of my girlfriends was enjoying her second Margarita of the day and I didn’t see an update on this one but chances are one of my friends got engaged.

Life seemed pretty good to my fellow friends. Meanwhile, I had finished a 6 mile run, I was laying on the floor of my living room, sweaty, smelly, my hair in a bun and was trying to convince myself to not go eat pizza and make it to yoga class instead. This was at 8:30AM by the way. But if you care to know, yes, I went to yoga. And yes, I had pizza. But it was at 7PM when I ate it. So it’s okay right?

I have always said to myself that I have the life I always dreamed of. I really do. I have an amazing husband. I have a beautiful family back in Miami. I have the best dog in the world. I have a tiny apartment that as much as I would prefer a bigger place, it helps us save money to buy a house soon. I am quite healthy (I don’t eat pizza everyday) and I have friendships that I have maintained for years as well as new ones I have made in this new city of Houston.

But after seeing my Facebook feed, I couldn’t help but to think, “Wow my life is great, but theirs is like extraordinary…”. And then I quickly realized that by having that thought, I had made two mistakes. One, I compared my success and happiness to others, when one should focus on their very own. And two (the most important of all), I assumed their lives are extraordinary because of what they have decided to publish out to the world.

And I can find myself being guilty of that too. For example, take into account this photo I published on Instagram a couple of months ago:

We look great (and you can’t even see the rest of my outfit)! We look happy and we are on vacation! However, a few things happened before that photo. We were disappointed by the morning bagels we had, we argued because it was hot and you know… people get moody when it’s hot right? And we had an ongoing argument on where we were going to go to at night. But hey, you gotta smile for that photo because you want to use that #statueofliberty hashtag and you also want to use your $7 seflie stick.

We ended up agreeing on where to go that night and I love my husband to death. But I didn’t post about our ongoing argument on where to go to, or how hot it was during the day or how I ate a crappy bagel. I decided to post the moment that we were both happy at an iconic place because that is what people like to see.

So at times I find myself stuck in what should be posted on our personal social media accounts and what should not. If I only publish my good times and achievements, it can promote positivism and happy thoughts but would people get jealous or think I’m just showing off? Or should I show the bad moments too but then have people see me as a complainer? What is the right thing to do here?

Here’s what I think. We often forget that social media is what connects you to people, not a diary or bulletin board. In my case, I connect with my friends and family that are far from me. So I share my vacations, photos (the ones I look good in), achievements and happy announcements because that is how we keep in touch. I share funny clips and articles to make them laugh, I share cheesy positive quotes in the hopes they have a good day, and yes sometimes I share sad news to let them know about that too. And if a car cuts in front of me without using a turning signal, I may update my status letting everyone know that turning signals still exist in case they have forgotten too. Bottom line is, share who you are, share what you are doing and share what you think people care to see and know. Share what you feel is right and don’t share anything if you don’t feeli like it either. But remember, that everyone is having the same argument of where to go to eat tonight with their significant other, everyone has those PMSing moments (guys gets them too) and you know we all have those bad photos we don’t post! So don’t compare your life to others via social media and enjoy yours today for what it is. Appreciate your life for what it is when you are offline.


Flashes of clarity

  • Arianna, this is a fantastic post and it resonates deeply with me. One quote that has really helped capture what you’ve articulated is “when you compare what you know to be true about yourself with what you do not know to be true about someone else, you lose.

    Your first line about the cell phone finding its way into your hand… that made me laugh. Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate it.

    • Ari

      Thanks Dave! I’m glad it made you laugh.
      I LOVED that quote! Thank you so much for sharing it.

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