Social Media and Misconceptions

During a phone conversation yesterday, a friend of mine commented that she had been under the mistaken impression that my life was going very well, that my relationships with some people that had been strained in the past had been renewed and were flourishing, and that everything was AOK. Previously, another friend had commented that due to Facebook posts, that she sees her life as pure shit and even though she intellectually understands that people don’t usually post the photos from when their kids come into the house past curfew after wrecking the car and stealing the last $10 from their wallets, it does sort of make her compare her life to those picture perfect smiling faces at the beach, awards received at school, and happy moments that are typically shared.

I get that. No one has a perfect life where everyone makes good grades and the kids are always well-behaved. Nobody has perfect teenagers or perfect marriages. I am one of those who is brutally honest about the situations in her life. However, I try my best to keep those embarrassing-to-the-husband-and-kids situations off of social media. If I know that posting a picture of one of my kids clowning around at home on Facebook will humiliate him, I won’t do it. If photo from our earlier days is something that my husband wants to keep private and between us, then I won’t share that on social media. This is merely out of respect for the privacy of loved ones and not a malicious attempt to mislead the masses.

How many times have we seen posts where people are so upset that they “air dirty laundry” in a status update? It’s sometimes embarrassing to the reader, especially if the reader is friends with both the writer and the person with whom he or she has issues. It was a pre-social media rule that we don’t make public private issues. The same certainly should hold true now that the messages would be broadcast even further than via old fashioned verbal gossip.

As to the misconception that our family is perfectly happy, it isn’t. We have struggles just as everyone else. On the other hand, we ARE happy. We are together again for the first time in a very long time. Do we struggle? You betcha. A family the size of ours, issues regarding money, space, volume, turns on the computer, etc are always a struggle. What family doesn’t have that?

I can honestly say that social media has helped me to reconnect with a large number of relatives and friends. It is a way for me to quickly share how beautiful my family is, how much my kids have grown, and really cool ideas that we would like to try (and have.) Trying to share the good in my life has been a way for me to work on making me happy. Sharing that good in my life has been my way to celebrate that happiness with others. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have screaming, crying, arguing, days that just suck all the way around (like last Tuesday when I backed the car into the carport without paying attention and knocked the whole damn side mirror off, housing and all.)
Those days happen probably a lot more than I’d like. But the key is to focus on the good and learn from the bad rather than dwelling on it.

So I apologize if anyone on my friends list on social media were misled. I do have crappy days just like everyone else. I just choose not to share that crap with you. We’re not perfect. We just look that way on Facebook. 😉

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