The Digital Age is Only a Filter

So I’m talking to a colleague of mine recently about dating. She’s someone in a long-term relationship asking me the single person what my experience has been. She’s interested to know what it’s like for us single gals and wants to compare my experiences to those of her girlfriends. She gives me advice, recommendations, and laughs at some of my stories as I share about recent dates I’ve so courageously experienced. Man, the conversation truly de-energized me. Just to even speak of some of the things I experienced was almost painful. Her advice was rather helpful, I must say.

One of the things that came up in conversation was that some of her friends tried online dating. I am a culprit of the online dating apps which have yet to be successful, and I have recently taken a break from it. I made a comment about how men (and I’m sure women do this as well)  post these overly adventurous pictures of themselves. Things like snowboarding, skydiving, playing the guitar, rock climbing, traveling, playing the piano, playing sports, out at sports events, bungee jumping, you get the drift. It honestly made us laugh. We laughed because through the online world; we are putting filters on our lives to show people who we truly are NOT. The disappointing part of all of this is that when you meet these people who have these types of profiles, you realize they are not really at all as exciting as their profile pictures make them be. Quite personally, I love men who value health and being active, however, if they were obsessed as some of their profile photos make them seem, I wouldn’t date them anyways. The challenge with online dating is that we are so quick to judge and we THINK there are so many options. Or do we? We have an endless perceived choice which is different than having the real choices we want. Real dateable options are few and far between.

It made me think more about the social media world and the reality we believe we are living. The discussion has been going on for a LONG time, and it can take very different angles. My take is that we are becoming obsessed with social media, creeping social media, portraying that our lives are far more exciting than they are, and we are addicted to our phones. SERIOUSLY – put your phones away when you are out with people it is SO rude. Unless there is an emergency or you need to check up on your sick child then fine, keep your phone handy.

I see it, you see it, we all see it ALL THE TIME. We post the best parts of our lives to FEEL better about ourselves. I had a friend ages ago give me advice about what to post and what not to post on social media from her perspective of an external world. She would say things like, “I would never post that outfit on Instagram, take it down, Sonia.” OK, sure ma’am you’re the boss. Many of us have ulterior motives as to why we post individual photos or videos on social media. Some of us want our exes to know we are having WAY more fun without them. Some of us use it to attract more clients. Some of us post ourselves “out” at special events for others to feel bad that they are not there with us. On the receiving end, we get constant snapchat updates from people we know having fun at places we did not receive an invite for in the first place. I see it all the time with my clients. It can be considered a form of bullying except it’s online instead of in-person. Some of us post certain things to invoke a particular emotion in another human being like jealousy or envy. I sometimes reflect back to the way things were for me before the internet became a big deal when I was a kid. That was a much simpler time; however, kids were mean to your face or behind your back. A different set of problems came from that era, and I can ONLY imagine what it’s like to be a kid nowadays.

However, on the flip side social media can be used for good. We can now share our stories and inspire others to make positive changes in their lives. We can use social media to find and build our tribes and be a part of a larger community which is what the world needs. We can help people through our stories and show people that they are not alone. Social media is a tool we can use to make a living by sharing these stories, promoting ourselves, and letting the world get to know us. We can use it to have discussions and debates and learn from one another in a respectful way.  Trust me; there are a TON of benefits of social media if we are using it in the right way.

I want to leave you with this. Don’t worry about what your friends are posting online or even what your exes post. Don’t compare yourself to others because their social media profiles seem exciting and interesting. It is not real. 98% of us use social media as a way for others to perceive us in a certain way and this is very easy to do. Focus on yourself, believe in yourself, and honestly turn off your phones at the dinner table. You’ll feel better about it.

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