We’ve Been Betrayed by Social Media

I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I’m convinced: we have been betrayed by social media.

People post about their “wonderful” spouses with whom they are so divinely in love. They post about their BFFs and their magnificent parties and their incredible kiddos and their great workplaces.

What they don’t post about, none of us, is their awful husbands or their back-stabbing friends or the party where they were so bored they just wanted to go home or their frustrating, arguing, disrespectful kids or the job they hate.

None of it.

Which means we are being led to believe that everyone is happy all the time and if we’re not, we are alone and something is wrong with us.

We choose to share those choice moments that make us the envy of everyone who follows us. And I know people who have felt insecure and worried and anxious only after they spend time on Facebook or catching up on tweets.

Gone are the days of deep relationships! Disappeared are the deep conversations and soul-to-soul connections. It’s all a facade. We see what people want us to see, and we are ever far from being real and human.

It’s troubling, to be sure. Walk down any street and you’ll find a variety of individuals, nose pointed to the ground, hands gripping their smartphones, totally engrossed in a world that does not exist.

They’re catching up on the illusion of a life, of many lives, and completely forgetting about the very real one they are in at this moment.

What can we do about it? Unplug for a day or a weekend or a week. Go on vacation and be on vacation.

At work, focus on work and reserve posting-checks for those select few times of the day when you divert your attention from the world-at-hand and dive headfirst into the make-believe world.

Invite a friend to coffee or tea or lunch or for a bottle of wine one dark winter night, look them in the eye, listen to their voice. Share a piece of you that no one knows about. Trust someone with your secrets.

It’s a far cry from the world we inhabit today.

I miss the times of abandon from my childhood summers, when we played outside until night fell, running through the neighborhood for ghosts in the graveyard or Marco Polo. I miss being at camp, when there was no technology, and we waited every day for mail delivery to see who had hand-written us a letter.

I miss the times of being on vacation as a family and simply looking out the car window to see the beautiful rolling hills of Appalachia on your way to, or home from, the grandparents’ house.

I miss the quiet.

Today, many people are scrambling around shopping because it’s Black Friday and many people are eating leftover turkey and stuffing for lunch because Thanksgiving lingers in the fridge, and many people are heading home from or to somewhere they went for an island in time to visit on the holiday.

We are in our last full day in Washington, D.C., and early this cold morning, the kids played at a park, running around the playscapes and tagging each other “IT!” while their heaving breath clouded in front of their warm mouths. I held coffee between my gloved hands and watched them have the absolute most fun.

After I finish writing, I’ll sign off from my own technology and head down the block to the new Indian store that opened up, to sample from the chai bar and inhale the fragrance of the spices, to take me back to a world away, to last winter, to moments of reflection and discovery and sheer happiness unlike the kind I know when immersed in this world.

I love to get away because it reminds me what is good and what is real. If only we could keep it at hand all the time.

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