Talon Marks

Social Media vs Reality

Lindsay Helberg

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At some point during our academic lives most of us have been in a classroom where our teachers have asked us on the first day to take out a piece of paper and tell them a little bit about our lives, who we are and how we got to where we are today.

Although our teachers are usually complete strangers, we humor them because we obviously don’t want to make a bad impression on the first day. In addition, how hard can it be to tell someone a little bit about our lives and who we are, right?

There is a kind of trust there, even though we just met this person 10 minutes prior, because we know our teachers won’t share the personal information we tell them with our classmates or anyone else we know for that matter.

We can be free to tell the truth about certain aspects of our lives and unless our teachers ask, we probably won’t feel the need to embellish about our summer vacations to make them sound like we went to the Maldives and stayed in a suite on the water, unless we actually did, then by all means write about that and only that.

The problem isn’t that we told our teachers the truth but that I can guarantee you our so-called “friends” on social media view us in a completely different way. So the question becomes, why are we comfortable enough to tell a complete stranger the truth about ourselves but not our social media friends?

With shows such as the “Real Housewives of (fill in the blank),” or Keeping up with the Kardashians” playing constantly on one channel or the other, the way we perceive “reality” has changed.

Who we really are is essentially lost in trying to “keep up” with everyone else. Our lives may look like we are “living the dream” but in reality we are going through a rough time. Instead of just laying low by not posting, we spend countless hours creating a completely different persona online, to create an illusion that things are “amazing.”

As we get older, our friends start to get engaged and starting families. The engagements always have to be caught on camera, it seems like, and they all have to be blasted across our newsfeeds with captions like “I said yes to my best friend.”

The more unique the proposal, the more pictures there are to see. The bigger the diamond the more close up pictures of it in everything that person does from the second they say “yes,” until the wedding pictures start to circulate, honeymoon and of course baby pictures.

Very rarely do we see the whole truth because most of the time it is hidden behind Instagram filters and “#YOLO” status updates in front of anything even remotely interesting.

Social media is in a way like the movie “The Truman Show,” where everyone is playing a part, which is the version of yourself you want everyone to see.

In the movie, a man grows up on a TV set, being watched by the whole world. Everyone but Truman knows his reality is scripted and fake. No one is who he or she says they are and everyone is playing a part on the show.

Similar to the movie, we are all watching the lives of people, some we barely know, and making an assumption about who they are or who they would like us to think they are.

If we aren’t doing the latest and greatest things online, if we aren’t in the perfect relationship and not in the job we thought we would have at this point in our lives, then we feel like we are actually failing compared to our friends.

So the question then becomes, are we actually failing or are we exactly where everyone else is in life, but no one wants to admit it publically.

By no means am I saying to jump online every time some thing horrible happens in life just to make ourselves more relatable and “real.”

I am curious what would happen if we all took our smoke screens down for a second and were real and genuine about ourselves.

I think people, especially young adults, would have less pressure, less anxiety and depression issues knowing that it is okay to be yourself and find your own way in the world. Most of us wont have it all figured out by the time we are 30 and that is ok, even if it seems like everyone else does.

The problem lies within each of us and as the younger generations grow up only knowing a life with social media, it’s problematic and causes sometimes devastating affects for impressionable children.

Our personal idea of success and happiness should not have a direct correlation between what you see on someone else’s social media page and what you have on yours.

The dreams we have in life and the paths we take to get there is unique and different for everyone. It may look glamorous to have a life just like the Kardashians, but I think it would be nice if we could experience life in a way that makes us feel happy, regardless of how it might appear on social media.

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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.
Social Media vs Reality