Some of you may be familiar with that sinking feeling of dejection when, having logged into Facebook one slothful afternoon, you are greeted with an onslaught of self-promoting statuses and snaps of blithe-looking, tanned and scantily-clad groups of people on a beach in Croatia (which happens to be at that festival you REALLY wanted to go to but couldn’t ‘cause you couldn’t get the time off or your friends were being lame).
“Their life is way more fun than mine; they’re sooo tanned, and I’m so pale I look like a raw Richmond sausage. Why am I so woefully inadequate?” you muse, as you select an appropriately-sized spoon with which to gauge out your eyes.
Well, let me allay your insecurities with a few harsh truths. Those perspective shots on the salt flats took no less than three hours, meaning the photographer barely took in their surroundings they traveled so far to see; those people only just met and they probably didn’t really want to spend all afternoon together looking at urban graffiti; and without the Instagram filter, that tan is just a lurid shade of Rimmel ‘I live in Chernobyl’ orange.
Now, I love a bit of Instagram. Who doesn’t? It makes places look prettier, it makes people look nicer and it gives everything that pseudo-arty look belying the fact that the photographer may have all the artistic capabilities of an ape.*
But in a world dominated by social media, virtual reality and avatars, it’s essential to keep sight of what’s actually real.
I’m a strong advocate of a social detox from time to time, so if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen for a bit and return to #nofilter normality, lest you lose sight of the woods for the glossy, Amaro trees.
They say that a bad workman blames his tools and Facebook-ers all use it differently. For me, it’s a place where I get news, my social digest and daily lols all in one place. For others though, it can be a torture device and the search bar is most definitely not their friend.
So next time social gets you down; stop, take a reality check and think about the way you’re using it. Consider refining your interests. Be stricter about who/what you follow. Remember that you live in an age where you can be more informed than ever before. There are literally no boundaries to your networks, their reach and make-up. Social media can be a toolbox of ever-current, integrated, stimulating information. Or it can be the harshest, most distorted mirror on your wall. The choice really is yours.
*Apologies to any really talented ape artists