Social Media is making a lot of us sad. That's a trend I've had an intuitive sense about for some time, but a study released in August put data behind it. I couldn't help but think of Brené Brown's excellent work on shame and vulnerability as I read various summaries and ultimately the original work. People hide those things we fear will separate us from others and that drives us to share the very best parts of our lives via social media. Others see these idealized versions of life and their own shame is amplified as they compare themselves to a life that doesn't exist.
From this springs a culture of envy, bitterness, sadness, loneliness, and cynicism. Even genuine posts regarding significant life events can be viewed with cynical detachment, as illustrated by this comic from The Oatmeal. Cynicism and deconstruction can be useful, but I'd rather think about steps we can take to make people less sad by our attempts to share our life experience.
This week I'm going to use a hashtag a lot in my social posts: #myamazinglife. None of these posts are going to be glamorous. I'm going to share the sorts of things we usually hide from people. This is not a cry for help–I'm quite happy with my life and who I am. Instead, this is an intentional counter to the posturing we all do naturally. This is an experiment to see what happens when our social media projections more accurately represent our full life experience.
My first post will be about my old, run-down car. One of the back doors won't open because I've locked my keys in my car so often the lock is broken. Do you get the idea? I'd love for you to join me. Here's how:
- Write a post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social platforms about something that is embarrassing, mundane, routine, or uninteresting about your life.
- Add #myamazinglife to the post.
I can't wait to hear about your amazing life.