Social Media Will Never Be a True Reflection of Life & Why That’s Ok

Let’s be honest for moment. We have all at some point compared ourselves to someone else online. We have all wondered how their lives look so perfect on Instagram. How they seem to have their s**t together and we are all falling apart at the seams. I read so many parenting blogs so it was easy for a while to assume that this starts when you become a mum (or dad). But that isn’t true. If you look at the social media and mental health of our teenagers the comparisons start as soon as we start using the platforms.

It becomes very easy to blame social media…

It becomes very easy to blame social media for our feelings of inferiority, of in adequacy. Some of my favourite blogs and Instagram feeds are those that are aesthetically pleasing. I myself have wondered on my darker days why my life can’t look like one great big perfect feed. Well it can’t. Thats life! But if I were to be honest with myself my insecurities are not caused by social media they caused by myself. My own incessant belittling of myself. The constant self doubt and ‘Mum guilt’.

Is one beautiful photo of a gorgeous bunch of flowers bought by a loving husband going to make me feel worse? How about a perfectly captured blue eyed bouncing baby? Perhaps at my more emotionally vulnerable days they may. If the girls are climbing the walls, I have a headache and have soothed the eightieth tantrum that day, a seemingly endless day. Yes, perhaps it will make me feel bad. Like a failure. Unloved. But that says a lot more about me than it does the person who posted the picture don’t you think?

Social media will never be a true reflection of life but that is ok. Showing the brighterside of life is fine. We should be able to embrace it.

We forget the history of photography…

We forget the history of photography. As with all technology, it was invented. And when cameras were invented photographs were very expensive items. As were the cameras themselves. Most families couldn’t afford to have a family portrait taken let alone have thousands and thousands of the things digitally saved on a smart phone.

During the early stages of photography many family portraits were taken after a death in the family.  The family of the deceased would have a photo of themselves taken as a whole family for the first and last time. The dead body would be propped up and secured however the photographer saw fit and the family would gather around. The really sad thing about these photos is that due to the amount of time the photo took to develop the subjects would have to remain very still so as not to blur the picture. Can you guess who was the only person in the picture not blurred? The deceased. Due to natural movement in the living they were often blurry no matter how hard they tried.

Now do you think those families hid those sort of family pictures away in a dusty attic? No. They proudly displayed the to everyone that visited. Do you think they cared that their loved one wasn’t living in the picture? Probably not. They were probably more occupied with the grief itself and just happy that they had some form of visual reminder. What good would have come from worrying about what other people thought? What good would have come on concentrating on the negative aspects of the photo?

(Obviously this isn’t all photography was used for in the Victorian times but I am trying to make a point here.)

Social media will never be a true reflection of life but that is ok. Showing the brighterside of life is fine. We should be able to embrace it.

Showing the ‘best bits’ isn’t new…

Showing the ‘best bits’ isn’t new. People have been doing it for generations. How many pictures in your family albums show tantrums? Are there pictures that show a mum in tears, at her wits end? How many show a teenager on the brink of suicide from bullying? I would wager a guess of ‘not many’!

The difference now is we live in a digital age. The age of Social Media. It is new and exciting but it also means our family albums are more accessible to the world. Not just Great Aunt Josephine who has popped round for a cup of tea.  What we choose to share is scrutinised and judged. Don’t for a second think just because you have judged someones life as perfect that makes it ok. Just because you have assumed someones cream house and blue eyed baby (one of eight most likely) are all perfect. Mummy looks immaculate and the kids seem just divine. Do you actually know? Is everything perfect? Have you asked? Do you know the person behind the Social Media. Assuming is judging. Just because you aren’t criticising doesn’t make it ok.

The simple fact is that these beautiful social media feeds and captions may highlight the nicer side of life but don’t forget that is one very quick look into someones world. It is also a quick look that they have chosen to share. I would say they have chose to share it with you, the outside world. But you have you ever considered there may be a deeper reason for sharing that beautiful image? Perhaps they have had a dreadful day and yet through it all they somehow got this one perfect picture. This one perfect picture is a window into a world where maybe things aren’t completely falling apart. Maybe the kids aren’t 100% feral. Who wouldn’t want to remember that one moment. Who wouldn’t want to numb the pain of the rest of it? Even just for a moment.

Social media will never be a true reflection of life but that is ok. Showing the brighterside of life is fine. We should be able to embrace it.

We all have bad days…

We all have bad days. The ones, as parents, where we search #mykidsareassholes. The days we Google “Is it normal to cry so much as a mum?” or “I think I hate my child.” We have all been there and the amazing thing about the internet and Social Media is when you search for those things a whole stream of people going through the same thing will come up. You will find a network of people willing to share the worst bits. To help you laugh about it.

There are people out there making a huge success of showing the crap life throws at you. Some do it with pictures of screaming kids, some do it with beautiful photos but a very descriptive caption. Each are very effective at helping us feel normal. We must not forget it has been their choice to share the rubbish side of parenting but that is no more a valid choice than clinging onto the best bits.

Photos are just an instant capture…

Photos are just an instant capture of an infinitely small amount of time in a much bigger lifetime. (There is probably a really profound quote on the internet somewhere but I haven’t bothered to look). Is it ever possible for a photograph to be truly reflective? Is it possible even for a Vlog to be truly reflective? Both are hugely editable. And both are open to interpretation by the viewer. We don’t all see art in the same way. We enjoy different genres of films. Our life experiences will directly effect how we interpret the world around us. How a perfect Instagram picture makes us feel is another reflection of that.

A few weeks ago there was a terror attack in London. During this attack a couple were run over. The husband died and the wife has been in hospital recovering. A couple of weeks after the attack she took her first steps. The Internet was full of photos of her. One photo stood out to the Trolls. She was beaming in it. A huge smile. Many felt the need to pass comment “Why is Melissa Cochran smiling so much? Didn’t she just lose a husband?” Really I don’t like giving Trolls the time of day but I will happily use them to make my point. This was in instant snapshot. If you read the article and the captions that went with the pictures it makes sense for her to smile in this. Plus the woman has just managed to f***ing walk again! Leave her alone. No one knows how she is feeling but her. We don’t know that that smile didn’t make her feel so guilty she broke down in tears straight after. We just don’t know.

Stop comparing and stop judging…

Stop comparing and stop judging others from what you see online. You can not be like someone else. Learn to love who you are. Don’t ever assume. If you like pretty and want to remember the positives then do that. If you like to share the grit and feel like you are helping others feel normal then do that. Your social media is your social media. We have a responsibility to use to properly. Not for the benefit of others but for our own mental health. If something upsets you, move on and work out why it upset you. Stop considering other peoples feeds as your goals and aims. Instead, perhaps start concentrating on building yours into a family album you want to remember. However that looks.

Social media will never be a true reflection of life but that is ok. Showing the brighterside of life is fine. We should be able to embrace it.

Pink Pear Bear
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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Cuddle Fairy
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39 Comments

  1. April 24, 2017 / 11:37 am

    Ah this is so true. Showing the good bits definitely isn’t new, we just do it in a different way. #bigpinklink

    • Winnettes
      May 3, 2017 / 3:03 pm

      Yes exactly. Sadly this comes with us being able to compare a bit more but I feel we need to be how we want to be.

  2. April 24, 2017 / 2:05 pm

    The minefield of social media pretty much summed up here! Blimey, no wonder so many people fall foul, it’s quite a balance we have to strike between how we use social media and how it makes us feel! #BigPinkLink

    • Winnettes
      May 3, 2017 / 3:04 pm

      I think we should just be mindful of what we are sharing and not expect others to be any different. Sometimes all we need is a little more self reflection to really see where our worries come from x

  3. April 26, 2017 / 9:55 am

    Life is not perfect but social media does it enable us to present our little bit of perfection or our idea of it anyway and as you say what is wrong with that? Within reason anyway. Great post. #bigpinklink

    • Winnettes
      May 3, 2017 / 3:05 pm

      Absolutely. I think major bragging posts or look at me posts are often unnecessary but I think we should try and celebrate others when they deserve it but also remember there is always more to every story. A perfect house is often accompanied by a lonely housewife.

  4. April 28, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    So true! We all post photos which show a good moment. There’s not many photos of tantrums going on. But yet we are probably all still guilty of comparing ourselves too. #BigPinkLink x

    • Winnettes
      May 3, 2017 / 3:10 pm

      I think we just need to remember it is silly to compare when we haven’t shown the bad either. There is no reason to believe that the perfect picture isn’t surrounded by the same mayhem our perfect picture is. X

  5. May 2, 2017 / 10:23 am

    So true. Glossy snippets of life… you should see my photos that didn’t make the cut… and then there are the photos I didn’t take! #dreamteam

    • Winnettes
      May 3, 2017 / 3:11 pm

      I am exactly the same! It isn’t that I don’t want to remember the bad, and I have taken pictures of tantrums, usually because they have been caused by a funny scenario. I just don’t want to look at the bad times again and again.

  6. May 3, 2017 / 4:59 pm

    What a fantastic look into the history of photography and a great reminder to enjoy building photograph albums the way we want. #KCACOLS

    • Winnettes
      May 8, 2017 / 1:58 pm

      Thank you, yes they are for us really and I think that is what we need to remember.

  7. May 3, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    It is such a shame that people are so judgemental, our social media is a place for us to keep whatever photos we want to share and those that have a problem can easily unfollow (but usually don’t) #kcacols

    • Winnettes
      May 8, 2017 / 2:00 pm

      This is the trouble isn’t it, people don’t unfollow when they should. Or perhaps they should do a little self reflection and work out what is really bothering them x

  8. Lisa Easom
    May 4, 2017 / 7:14 am

    Very true, food for thought indeed xx #kcacols

  9. May 4, 2017 / 4:45 pm

    I loved this: “Assuming is judging”, as well as the whole journey you’ve taken us through to make your point. The more ‘dramatic’ moments are the ones you can’t take the camera out, right? The tantrums, the child falling, the crying… it would be mental if we had to Instagram those too INSTEAD of living life and caring for our little ones. You’re right – it’s the world we live in now. And we need to learn how to live in it without feeling judged or insecure. And most importantly, teach our children! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope to see you again next time!

    • Winnettes
      May 5, 2017 / 12:47 pm

      I’m glad you liked it. I wasn’t sure if I had got my point across properly but reading your response I obviously have X

  10. May 5, 2017 / 8:58 pm

    A fab post – such good advice. You are so right – photography has always been about capturing moments… and usually the better ones. We all ‘get it’. #BlogCrush

    • Winnettes
      May 8, 2017 / 2:02 pm

      Yes exactly, I think we need to remember this now as our world is changing x

  11. May 7, 2017 / 5:13 pm

    I love looking at people social media and I know that like myself, they share and portray what they feel comfortable doing. I’ve long gone past the stage where I feel like other people have better lives than I do or a coping better. Instead, I like to think of them shoving the rubbish to one side to create that beautiful shot or editing out the bad bits to make things look better just as I do sometimes. #kcacols

    • Winnettes
      May 8, 2017 / 2:04 pm

      That is the best way to see it. It is how I do now too. I used to get upset or a little down about my perception of something but then I realised I didn’t have anything to really base that on. Now like you I know it is just a photo. I hope my children can grow up understanding that too.

  12. May 8, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    I LOVE this post! As someone who has suffered with depression in the past, one of my coping mechanisms now, to prevent me ever going back to that dreadful place, is to look to the positives. I don’t do it to make other people feel guilty. I do it because it keeps me on track and helps me to be grateful for what I have.

    But equally, I think there is definitely a place for those who want to share the more nitty-gritty side of life. I think some people find it helpful to be free to be totally open about the things they’re struggling with.

    As you say, your social media is YOURS and you need to use it in a way that works for you. Fab post! And someone else obviously thought so too because they added it to the #blogcrush linky!

    P.S. I didn’t know that people had family photos with dead people. I thought that was really interesting! #blogcrush

    • Winnettes
      May 8, 2017 / 8:01 pm

      I’m really please you could relate to this. I love that some people can feel the harder side of life but that just isn’t me and I don’t do it to make others feel bad. I was very chuffed someone added it to Blog Crush.
      I learnt about the photos of the dead a long time ago and I always found it so interesting X

  13. May 8, 2017 / 10:29 pm

    Life is far from perfect and Social
    Media is the complete opposite. Why do we always want the perfect picture. I love seeing picture of moments in all their glory. The mum bun, no makeup, a messy child, a messy house and not forgetting all the crap behind you, when taking a selfie! #KCACOLS

    • Winnettes
      May 9, 2017 / 2:10 pm

      Absolutely, but this is the point. We are so lucky to live in a world of the internet in many ways because it helps us find what we actually want to see. And with social media we can join in with whichever angle we want too. Or, as I say we can treat it as a modern photo album. What we post is and should always be 100% up to us. I think no one should feel bad for posting beautifully constructed pictures in the same way no one should feel bad for posting a ‘warts and all’ picture. The important thing is we don’t forget what really matters and that is the real life moments either side of picking up that camera. A photo should serve as a reminder of a memory, not the memory itself.

  14. May 10, 2017 / 12:29 am

    Such a brilliant post, I loved it.
    also did not know that about the deceased people in family photographs- fascinating!
    #KCACOLS

    • Winnettes
      May 10, 2017 / 9:20 am

      It is really interesting isn’t it?! Who would have thought photography could have such a dark history.

  15. May 11, 2017 / 8:16 am

    Don’t compare and don’t judge – such wise words and certainly a few more people should take heed of this. No one really knows what is going on in someone’s life and that is certainly up to the person to choose what they would like to share. Very much when you choose what you share with a friend. We don’t share every single aspect of our lives with our closest so why should we on social media. In all fairness, I’m a little over the oversharing, to be honest, but that might just be me! And you’re so right – pre digital we always showed family our holiday snaps! It’s what we do! It’s not new. fab post! #CoolMumClub

    • Winnettes
      May 15, 2017 / 8:59 am

      No it is not new at all, we just share on a larger platform now. I think unless you are in someones head you can never know the whole story. It can be so hard not to assume and compare but if more people stopped doing it I think everyones mental health would be greatly improved. X

  16. May 11, 2017 / 10:07 am

    Totally agree. I tend not to put up the photos that are blurred or when someone has knocked the camera but they are probably more real life. The often monotonous daily routine is often ignored but much more real. #coolmumclub

    • Winnettes
      May 15, 2017 / 9:04 am

      It is true. The joy of the digital age is that you can delete the blurry photos without paying to have them developed. I delete all the blurry ones, more real or not.

  17. May 11, 2017 / 11:06 am

    I love this. It’s true that social media is not an accurate reflection of life – just the things that others choose to share with us. I tend to post the positive side of life because social media is my happy place – it’s not about boasting or trying to make my life seem more wonderful than it is, just focusing on the things that make me happy and that I’m thankful for. I agree with you that if someone else’s post makes you angry or unhappy, then it is a reflection of something inside yourself that needs addressing. No-one else is responsible for making you happy – only you can do that. If I’m ever in danger of comparing my life to what I see on social media, I always remind myself that I am comparing my reality to someone else’s highlights reel – and that is not a fair comparison. #coolmumclub

    • Winnettes
      May 15, 2017 / 9:07 am

      It is my happy place too. I glad you could relate. ‘Highlights Reel’ is exactly what social media is X

  18. May 11, 2017 / 11:13 am

    Love this post and what a great reality check for us all….thanks for slapping a bit of sense back into our heads darling and for linking up with #coolmumclub xoxo

    • Winnettes
      May 15, 2017 / 9:07 am

      I’m glad you liked it x

  19. May 12, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    Perfectly honest! I mainly use my social media for posting sarcastic or funny bits of my day with a toddler experiencing terrible twos and a baby that harasses said toddler all day long! I’m not into pretending to be perfect because we really are far from it! #KCACOLS

    • Winnettes
      May 15, 2017 / 9:14 am

      And I love the funny sarcastic posts! I often go looking for them for a pick me up. I think their is room for everyone and a sense of humour is vital to get through the darker days of parenting. As long as people can understand there is more than just that picture in everyones lives I think we would all be a little happier. No one can ever be perfect. But we can all laugh and have fun x

  20. May 17, 2017 / 10:24 am

    I was never bothered about social media before I started blogging and I’d actually say it’s my least favourite thing about it.. yes it’s good to chat and connect with readers/other bloggers, but the pressure to constantly be on it and either posting a beautiful image every day or writing a witty caption with a load of emoji’s is just too much for me some days.. I tell myself it’s all fake anyway, which it is, but it’s still a necessary evil for bloggers. I think I need a blogging social media break!! #coolmumclub

    • Winnettes
      May 22, 2017 / 10:49 am

      I’m a great believer in removing things that make you unhappy or that you don’t enjoy (if possible of course!) I think it is ridiculous how dependant the blogging world is on it all. I think it is all fake which is ok for some but harmful for others.

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