Yesterday a friend said she'd be taking a break from social media. I get that, as I’ve done it before myself. But she closed her account for a reason I didn’t expect: “Everyone is so happy and beautiful and perfect, with the perfect marriage and the perfect life," she said. "They have the dream job and the perfect body and, frankly, it’s depressing.”
I’ve occasionally left a session of mindless scrolling with a sense of not measuring up, and it got me thinking…
At the risk of offending many well-intended, if not slightly self-interested, picture-perfect selfie-posing socialites and infinite optimists, there is something I have to say. Are you ready? Facebook is NOT REAL.
I know. Shocking. But it’s my opinion, and I stand by it. Unfriend me if you want. This article is a call to action, a plea that we breathe some real life into social media, a gentle beckoning to share the hardships, humilities, and bad hair days that plague us ALL from time to time. Let’s do the world a favour and halt the onslaught of glamourized selfies.
If only once in a while, let’s get real on Facebook. Here’s how:
1. If you prop your full-length mirror at an angle to capture your most flattering side or practice your smile countless time before snapping that “spontaneous” shot, it’s time to Get Real. Take a selfie within five seconds of rolling out of bed. Don’t adjust, don’t tweak, don’t think, just snap and post.
2. If you routinely post pics of your marital bliss, Get Real. Have your kid take a picture of you in the midst of a heated argument with your spouse. The hotter, the better. Audio files are optional.
3. If your account is littered with images of you and your fabulous friends toasting celebratory mojitos at exclusive-ish parties, then Get Real. Include the end product of that certain soiree, when the high heels went from sexy to life-threatening as you stumbled down an imagined catwalk.
4. If you’re a yogi and you love, love, love, posing in trees and on bridges and beside streams, Get Real! Capture the look on your face when you step barefoot in goose poop on your way to the “perfect” pose.
5. If your profile beams impenetrable peace of mind, eternal optimism, and meditative bliss, dig deep and Get Real. Challenge your inner photographer to capture a unique expression of road rage en route to a retreat.
These are the still images of a real life, the slips and blips and clumsy moments that define who you are, and who we are collectively as human beings. To pretend that they don’t exist does a disservice to humanity.
Photoshop, photo editing, cropping and angling, blemish removing, and cellulite softening are tricks of a trade (now available to anyone with a phone!) that is designed to sell you the illusion of perfection.
Don’t buy it. But more importantly, don’t sell it.
It is the sacred and the profane, the beauty and the beast, the light and the shadow that make the world an interesting and fantastic and downright imperfect place to be.