I have a blog, I have a YouTube channel, I have Facebook accounts for both personal use and my page, I have a Twitter account, I have an Instagram account; I have accounts on every mainstream social media network that you can think of.
I love how social media has made our lives so much easier today. We can easily get in touch with one another and we can easily catch up with the lives of our loved ones. It was things like looking at my nieces’ growth through my sister’s timeline, showing my friends and family how my life is like from so far away, and finding out about my elementary schoolmate’s marriage through Facebook that made me like social media.
With me being so active online, you might think that I love the internet and all of these social media sites. But I actually do not. I have this love-hate relationship with social media where I was even considering to delete my accounts. It was just too much to handle when it comes to a point where things you post online have become attributes that determines how others might think of you.
Having me as your friend on Facebook or reading my blog, you might think that you know me very well. It is very easy to conclude that A) I have a big smile; B) I am somewhat active in my university life; C) I have a lot of friends.
Yes, those facts are partially true about me, but you cannot conclude that I am leading a ‘happy’ or ‘great’ life just by looking at these details. There are so many not-so-glamorous things that are going on in my life and I have decided to not expose them too. For example, over the summer, I fell down from my bicycle and hurt my knee. Last week, I broke a glass and cut my finger – terribly. And today, I fell down while running to catch the bus and reopen the wound from my bike accident.
Just like some other negative things that were/are going on in my life, I chose not to post about them online because I didn’t want my family to worry, my friends to get grossed out from the bloody pictures, or simply, I didn’t want sympathy from others. The problem with having too many people on your friends list ranging from friends that you are close with to friends that you are like meh – not super close with, you somehow just have to be selective when it comes to things that you post.
You don’t really want very personal stuff to be out there for everyone.
You have to keep in mind that people are selective when it comes to things they want to be online, and it is naturally right to do so. These days, employers creep on you through search engines before they hire you. You don’t want them to look at that “hey I’m drunk look what I’m doing” pictures or that picture of your bloody-cut wrist when you were in high school. What you post online can affect your future.
That being said, things that are being posted online is not 100% true about a person. You cannot simply draw conclusion about a person just by skimming through his or her profile. Things that are posted online might be clues of who they really are and what they are going through, but they might not be too. Real life interaction still matters the most because that is how you really get to know a person, at least much more accurately from seeing Facebook or Twitter posts.
I am really glad that my mother gets this whole point really well. There was once when my aunt was talking about how my life seems to be so good judging from my posts on Facebook, and my mum just told her “Meh, you didn’t know the stressful part behind those posts.” It is true. I am generally a happy, outgoing and active person, but I have negative emotions and downfall in life too. There are times when I get really tired of how people look at me and expect so much more from me due to my social media presence.
I am not complaining about how you should think that my life is sad. I am just writing this to remind you: To think wisely before you make assumptions based on a person’s social network profile. It might change how you act towards a person or how the person thinks about themselves. It actually matters.