There is a trend happening on Facebook right now and it is a very unhealthy one. I can guarantee it is in your newsfeed everyday; I can guarantee you will know someone who is living like this. And I can guarantee they are in fact, not as happy as they seem to be.
It is the growing number of people who use social media to validate their experiences and happiness. So many people post updates of everything they do, everything they eat, every glass of wine they share and every outing they have. Initially we see this as someone who is clearly very happy who loves to share, but if we think about it, there is a bigger problem.
To these people, those happy moments aren’t really happy moments unless other people know about them. They need other people to know they are having a great time to actually have a great time. It is because we have stopped valuing special moments and instead started valuing comments and likes.
I saw it over the weekend with a dear friend. We were at lunch at a beautiful restaurant over looking the Brisbane river with some of our other school friends. We sat around laughing and reminiscing over our early years before leaving for a walk along the river. About five minutes into our walk Maree stopped us with a loud, “Oh no! We forgot to take a photo for Facebook!”
The rest of us continued on saying we’ve got plenty of photos of the five of us and we’ll make sure we take another next time but Maree wasn’t satisfied. She became visibly frustrated and after someone asked her what was wrong she replied, “Now nobody knows we went to that fabulous restaurant!”
She wasn’t disappointed that we’d missed out on taking a photo of a happy day that we all enjoyed, she was disappointed that she couldn’t prove to her social world that she was there. Her experience wasn’t validated so she wasn’t truly happy.
It concerns me that so many people value likes, comments and shares more than happy memories and real conversations. The illusion of an enviable life means nothing at the end of the day and at our age I thought we would understand that.
In a way it breaks my heart that people care so much about these trivial things. While it is fantastic to share and have a way to keep people up to date and involved in our lives, it shouldn’t matter to our hearts.
Today I want every single Facebook user to hold back from a status update or a photo share. Unless you sharing that piece of information can benefit someone else other than yourself or your self esteem, don’t. If you enjoyed something today, don’t post about it and instead enjoy that moment and that memory yourself.
I want us to all step away from the status update today and live in the moment – the real moment, not the one on Facebook.
Do you feel that people over share things for the wrong reasons on Facebook? Have you ever caught yourself living in the social world instead of the real one? Share your thoughts in the comments below…