A recent video posted on Youtube makes fun of the difference between what we post on Facebook and what our lives are really like. The sad truth is we forgo real life for social media
I used to go to sleepaway camp every summer growing up. My mom would send me there with two disposable cameras so I could snap pictures of all the fun things I was doing during the two week camp. We canoed in the lake, hiked, played sports, games, did arts and crafts, dressed up, swam and all the other things kids do when hanging out in a cabin with their friends and 18-year-old counselors. Every year the camp would end and I would have used up less than half of the cameras, so we always spent the last day taking pictures and wasting the film so we would have something to show our parents of all the fun we were having.
When I returned home, got my pictures developed, and showed them to my mom, she would tell me that she knew I was having fun precisely because I didn’t capture it all on film.
“The more fun people are having, the fewer pictures they take,” she said.
Today, however, when disposable cameras are no longer the way we capture our lives and smartphones and Facebook give us infinite opportunities to show the world what we are doing, I still remember what my mom told me and wonder if that inverse relationship between how much fun people are having and how many pictures they take is still true.
Earlier this month three brothers from Norway, Shaun Higton, Andrew Adam Higton and Steven Higton, posted a film on Youtube titled “What’s on your mind?” that makes fun of how we use Facebook to prove to others how happy we are.
“Facebook can be depressing because everyone else’s lives are better than yours… But are they really?”
We all have those friends who post pictures and status updates online multiple times a day, usually with several exclamation points, and appear to be living the dream from attending the best parties to viewing the most beautiful scenery.
Just like the question of “when a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it still make a sound?” today, if we are having fun and don’t post it on Facebook, was it still a good time? I don’t know, unless a bunch of my friends agree and like it. It’s the same reason we post selfies, do we look good when we make that duck face or show off whatever we look like at the moment?
Last week Facebook went down for about twenty minutes and instead of taking a break from social media, the world flocked to Twitter and more than 70,000 people tweeted the words “Facebook” and “down” according to analytics site Topsy.
For just twenty minutes, the 1.2 billion people on Facebook couldn’t seek validation on the world’s most popular social network, and while we all joked that life seemed to stop existing, people had to interact face to face, or how we survived a morning without updates on what our friends’ dogs’ ate for breakfast, we all breathed a sigh of relief when the website went back up.
Facebook users are now roaming the streets in tears, showing photos of themselves in people’s faces & screaming ‘DO YOU LIKE THIS? DO YOU?
— 9GAG (@9GAG) June 19, 2014
Studies have shown that Facebook causes depression, and the more people use it, the more likely they are to become depressed, precisely because people use the site to see others’ allegedly great lives instead of living out their own.
Insecurity is – and has been pre-Facebook – a huge problem for people all over the world. Girls, especially, constantly question themselves and their bodies and the obsession with social media has only made it worse. Now, not only do people worry about whether they are skinny or pretty like the celebrities society idolizes, they also have to compare themselves to all their friends’ fake online lives.
Spending all this time on social media is forcing people to forgo real life experiences for online validation. I wonder what happens at summer camps these day. Do kids still have all the fun we had back then? Or do they spend their days looking for the right shot to show everyone just how much fun camp is?
Photo credit: Friends taking a selfie in a club