The Deception of Virtual Life by J.H.

Social media has become an integral part of modern society. In fact, nearly 90% of online adults (ages 18-29) use some sort of social networking site. This statistic is especially incredible when you think about the fact that just ten years ago it was merely 9%. Now although this influx in social media has many communal advantages, there are still plenty of problems surrounding it; namely, the dishonest representations of our lives online, versus our lives in real life. Am I the only one that thinks that social media makes the world seem more fake?

It’s important to understand that social media, (and pretty much anything online), is hand selected data that doesn’t accurately represent what our lives are like. This is because we get to pick what we post and share with others. For example, I personally choose to post only the most fascinating things that happen to me, when in reality a large majority of my week is actually uneventful. Often times, this selection we have causes our lives to seem skewed in a better direction. People look smarter, more attractive (hello Photoshop), more accomplished, more interesting, and significantly happier than we are. I’ll be the first to admit that this can be pretty depressing, but it’s important to remember that this simply isn’t the truth.

Although advertised as a communication tool, social media is nothing more than a self promotion tool; especially in competitive cultures. We want people to think highly of us and therefore, we are always searching for the most amount of likes/shares/re-tweets/followers/etc. Because of this, we generally don’t share the lows. We share the highs.

However, just because we don’t share the lows doesn’t mean we don’t experience them. Low points happen just as much as highs, if not more- and that’s OK! I’ve found that I tend to learn from these low points. Plus, if your life was truly perfect then it would be boring. Part of the beauty in life is the mess and the humdrum. These moments make us further appreciate the experiences worth sharing. Overall, I think it’s important now more than ever to stop comparing our lives to others’. Online, people might seem like they’re better off, but the truth is you’ll never know the whole story.

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