They have more friends than me… they have better stuff than me… they’re having more fun than me… they look better than me… We’ve all thought it. In fact, we are more vulnerable than ever to the attack of the green-eyed monster thanks to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; all arenas for people to project a better looking, more interesting and more popular version of themselves. However, our culture today is so saturated by social media that these pretences have become our reality, with every enjoyable moment of our life giving rise to the thought of ‘this would make a great Instagram picture’ or ‘I should tweet this!’
Whilst it’s easy to sink into a social-media related depression while wishing our own life could be as amazing as our high school nemesis’ seems to be, here’s three things you should remember about social media:
Facebook Friends aren’t real friends.
Having 535 friends on Facebook doesn’t mean you have 535 friends in real life. In fact, in real life you could have only 5. Some people will friend anyone they’ve ever exchanged a single word with and I for one can attest to the fact that I don’t necessarily like everyone on my Facebook friend list! The number of friends/followers we have on social media has nothing to do with how many friends we actually have or how popular we are and I think that’s something that we often forget.
Not every one of those nights out was a good one.
Everyone has that friend on Facebook or Instagram that seems to go out every weekend and every one is ‘the best night ever’. Well that’s statistically unlikely. Anyone who has ever been on a night out knows that they aren’t all amazing. At some point you will have caught your heel in a crack in the pavement and ended up flat on your face, or you will have spewed in the street or had a bust up with you BFF. But you aren’t likely to post any of that on Facebook, are you?
Social media profiles are just highlight reels.
So your best friend just posted an Instagram picture of the beautifully displayed and incredibly healthy salad she made for lunch and you look down at your own beans on toast in dismay. Well last night when you were at that fancy restaurant taking pictures of your fabulous meal, she was probably eating a huge, greasy takeaway – only that isn’t considered ‘Instagram-worthy’, so as far as the world of social media is concerned, it didn’t happen. When we are jealously perusing the wonderful lives of our on-screen friends it is easy to forget that we are simply viewing their highlight reel and not seeing their actual life, so of course when we compare it to our own reality we feel horribly inferior. We all use social media to create a version of ourselves and our lives that from the outside looks great, so it pays sometimes just to put it into perspective and remember that it isn’t real. Look at your own profile and imagine viewing it as an outsider. Does it look to you like your actual life, or just your ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation?