#GetReal – A Social Media Rant

It struck me recently how perfectly inaccurate our portrayal of life is as we display it on social media.  Take your pick they’re all the same – Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.  Every outlet displays only the most remarkable, attention-worthy moments of each of our lives – myself, included.  Even if you’re one of those who is currently posting about a not-so-great day, my guess is that you too, are watching for likes and comments like lottery numbers just like the “Extraordinary Lifer’s”.  Take a second and #getreal with me on this one – I don’t care who you are, you find a certain satisfaction in the number, and quality, of responses you get from a post.  I do.

Everybody acknowledged that?  We’ll wait for you to join us in reality before we continue…

As I was scrolling through the job promotion announcements, spring break travel posts, recent engagements, giggling baby pictures, proud workout gym rats, and the even prouder food-preppers, I realized just how ideally we portray life to be.  Because here’s the thing – it’s amazing that we can share these moments with each other with the swipe of a few thumb strokes.  I love the fact that I can let every one of my 1500 ‘friends’ know that I got to travel the world for my job.  And believe me – I posted pictures from Every. Single. Trip.

But there’s an aftermath to that.  You can read about it by Googling  the relationship between suicide rates and social media.  (For my science bros out there, some of the studies are inconclusive and, as you can imagine, it would be incredibly hard to control the variables well enough to truly determine a single cause, but there’s enough to know the two are directly related.)

And you guessed it.  There’s been a substantial increase in suicide rates post-social media birth.  Have you ever noticed your own mood change while reading your newsfeed?

So listen let’s just get down to the point because if you’re like me, your patience for reading is about to end.  Social media’s not going anywhere.  It will likely grow in exponentially in usage over the next decade, so let’s accept it and include it in a solution.

Let’s #getreal.

Post your not-so-glorious moments of the day.  Post them to Twitter, on Facebook, and Snapchat.  Post waiting in line, because you know what?  People wait in line to check out at the grocery store most days.  For the love of all that’s beautiful in the world, somebody post a picture of a crying baby because you know what?  Babies cry.  (They also poop, but skip that pic.)  Someone please post an update of a time when your guy didn’t bring you flowers or when your girl didn’t cook you dinner forever marking her as the ‘best woman in the world’, because for at least some of the time, she’s not going to be the best woman in the world.  Somebody post the fact that you had an argument – because sometimes guys, sometimes people argue.  And maybe someone out there could benefit from knowing that your relationship isn’t perfect all the time either.  You know what I would love?  I would love it if someone would post a picture of walking into a normal job because most of the time, THAT’S WHAT WE’RE ALL DOING.  It’s normal.  But normal isn’t post-worthy.  Your boss taking your team out to a fancy dinner is, but let’s #getreal, how often does that really happen?

I have a stay-at-home mom friend who helped inspire this idea because she is one of the only parents I’ve ever seen post a blog saying “today, I wanted to crawl into a tent and cry”.  She also sent out a Christmas card this year of her four crying, messy babies in front of a disaster of a kitchen.  That’s real.

Listen, there is truly no more important job on the planet than being a parent and I respect and honor that appointment in life– and I really mean that.  But how many times have you posted a sparkling picture of your baby/tike/teen/or college graduate smiling, clean and beautiful?  And out of every day, how many minutes is that an accurate portrayal of your life?  #getreal.  Somebody share a story of a time when your teen is driving you crazy– because guys, teens have attitude and hormones, life with them is sometimes hell and it’s ok to call it that.

Make social media a place of support and encouragement for real life so when you’re scrolling through your feed you remember that NO ONE’s life is perfect.

Be encouraged all you sinners, all you hot messes and scallywags.  Be reminded that you are not alone all you stay-at-home warriors, all you recovering and non-recovered alcoholics, all you financially burdened, all you who have lost a loved-one and cried in stall at work when you heard that song you used to dance to together.  Be enlightened that no one travels to beautiful, tropical places every day of the year.  Please.  #getreal.  Remember that they have to go back to work at the end of the week too.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the positive happy posts too-  I love it when I see someone is doing really well and I want to celebrate your victories!  Victories are awesome and wonderful and everyone needs good days and good years and good seasons.  I think the reality is though, that most of the time life is not perfect and sometimes it’s really nice to be reminded that other people have normal days too.

So #getreal with me.  Share a story, a picture, a scripture, a quote, a teachable moment, a hot mess dialogue, or encouraging word.  Join me in encouraging the real life warriors who may not be in Bora Bora today enjoying a MaiThai, beachside, while a tanned god of a man massages his/her glistening back.  #getreal.

I’ll be there smiling at you when you come out of your annual physical… just kidding.

N. Ford