Over the past day, this blog post has been on my mind. It’s by Simone McCallum, one of the social media etc people that I follow on twitter. Simone talks about what people portray on the internet, how sometimes people’s live come across as utterly fabulous and extravagant and how far this is from the reality in which she’s situated.
It really got me thinking because I get her point. Twitter and Facebook are often hubs for people to suck on each others wonderfulness, show off the good things in their lives and complain about really fickle things. But I’m not sure that it’s a bad thing, or even threatening. Let’s look at my own Internet persona.
My Internet interactions are not totally spontaneous. I have personal guidelines to what I say where. Twitter is where I feel I can rant about whatever, find a topic I’m interested in and also people who will want to talk about it. It’s where I spout on about politics and all the other things my friends dislike me mentioning. It works because the people I interact with, we’re not bound by having to keep each other happy, we also don’t know each other well enough to hold grudges. I like that. Facebook is more for keeping in touch with people, organizing things and sharing the links that I think (hope desperately) that people will like. It’s also a way of keeping my friends informed about what I’m up to, which is useful conversation wise. My blog is where I record things and a tool to keep me writing, I try to keep it somewhat moderated, tasteful, clean mouthed and positive.
Over all of these social media platforms I run one common line. Try to remain positive. Because of this I may be guilty of being one of the Rainbows and Unicorns Internet users, but I’ll share with you a little why.
I get grumpy very easily. Uni involves a lot of time spent on buses, and I hate buses. My job involves me spending a lot of time on my own at my desk doing incredibly mundane stuff. In this time I tend to get quite deep into my own head, which makes me sour. Once I get grumpy I will sulk and it’s not fun. The bus trips home are generally the worst because after a day of being alone, I’m shoved into contact with a whole lot of other grumpy, smelly, tired and hungry commuters. I could project this onto the Internet and quite often I do on twitter, but I try not to. Instead I try to portray a sunny outlook because it encourages my overall attitude to be sunnier. That’s what ‘Things that are GOOD Fridays’ is all about. Dragging the positives out of what can be a mundane existence. Hell, if I can making cooking dinner exciting, I’ll try to.
So when I look at other people’s online interactions, I don’t assume that just because they’re having a great holiday or bought some great shoes, that their life is all sunshine and lemon drops. Who knows, those things could be the highlight in a year of unforgiving hard work or they could do the whole sell one thing in good condition, buy another one and so have nice things, but only one or two at a time. On the Internet everything is relative, and you never really know the full story.
At the end of the day what other people do on the Internet generally doesn’t have any bearing on any other persons life. If it does then that is a choice. That’s the beauty of the Internet. It is modelled on our personal choices and preferences, it’s fluid and the opportunities are endless. My internet, may look and feel entirely different from yours. For that reason, I personally don’t think that what other people are getting up to should be threatening or even a true representation of life, because it’s only what they choose to portray. I’m sure that if fabulous holidays are getting you down, you could just as easily find someone posting about poverty, or struggling to make rent, struggling with depression or in the midst of a breakup or maybe just living a really mundane life. (but hey, even that could look interesting through a lens.)