Any quick scroll on Facebook can give you the impression you have the most interesting, impressive, exciting friends all across the world. There are those who are travelling around the world, going on adventures; those who have the best jobs that don’t make them the least bit suicidal; and those with the best husbands and best wives and the cutest kids you can imagine.
Other people’s exciting lives can easily make you feel inadequate and depressed about your own dull existence, because you’re not overseas, your job sucks, if you even happen to have a significant other they’re probably cheating on you, and your kid hates you.
While you leading a pretty mediocre life is most likely true, these amazing lives pasted all over your Facebook feed are most likely not. Just check out this piercing Youtube clip from HigtonBrothers.
It got me to thinking about what attracts Likes and what doesn’t. When people get engaged or announce they are pregnant, there are usually hundreds of likes, when someone gets a new job, the post will get likes. When someone has lost weight and a before and after photo is published, it will get likes. If someone does a marathon, gets married, bakes a fricken cake; it will be liked.
It seems like achievement will get you likes on Facebook. But your life every single day is not full of achievement, and how we pick and choose what we post online gives our friends a false depiction of what our real lives are like.
Not everyone wants Facebook used at a diary. As much as people say they hate the humblebrag, people hate the ‘looking for attention’ post more. “Today sucks” will not get as many concerned comments as “Scott and I are engaged” Likes.
And depending on your age bracket, there are common posts that will get you to start thinking you’ve been doing something wrong.
In your teens and early twenties, Facebook is filled with photos of parties, festivals and drunk people looking like idiots. In your late twenties, it is filled with “look how cute my average looking child is”, 127 likes for getting engaged, sonogram photos and pictures of jars with herbs in white kitchens with an Instagram filter. Don’t forget maps of 7km runs and Crossfit wankers and shots of paleo dinners.
What it doesn’t include is the four nights you stayed at home watching illegally downloaded television shows, going to The Warehouse with your mother to buy undies and towels, your KFC bucket and a description about that time your kid had a complete fit on the side of the road and you thought about leaving it there.
Ultimately, Facebook is a platform where we can edit out the beige that is the majority of our lives, and show off only the charming aspects of our lives we want people to see. It allows us to present a fictionalised version of our lives that we wish were real, but aren’t.