Don’t be fooled by social media exaggerations

As I was walking past a fancy restaurant in town yesterday, I saw a well-dressed young woman standing outside, taking a selfie.

Curious cat that I am, I slowed down and pretended to be on the phone just so I could see if she would enter. She didn’t. She was a fellow passerby.

But her hundreds, possibly thousands of Facebook friends and Instagram followers won’t know the truth when she posts “having a great Saturday” and pins her location.

She will successfully allude to being able to afford to go to fancy places and some will admire her for it while others will be envious. Some others who know her to be a person of limited means will start to tell people that she definitely found a blesser.

This is social media; a place where people go to create exaggerated and sometimes completely non-existent versions of themselves.

Feeling fat and ugly? Don’t worry. You can definitely find a post from someone with a solution. She has taken a photo at a twisted angle and sucked her stomach in, creating the illusion that she has a wasp waist.

She has filtered her photo and so her skin looks amazing even in her “au naturale” state. She swears by forty-day juicing. You try it but by day four you are hungry and therefore mad at the world because hunger is a breeding ground for nasty feelings.

Speaking of feelings, if your love life is, to borrow a line from the song “I’ll be there for you” by The Rembrandts, is DOA-dead on arrival, social media posts will make you feel even lonelier.

People will post photos of their fairytale weddings, their perfect little families, their angelic spouses and they will tag you and you feel pressured to be in a relationship.

What they don’t tell you is that they knocked up someone’s daughter and they were left with one choice and one choice only; to do the honourable thing and marry her. They won’t tell you that the perfect little family is only little because they neglected to include the man’s child from an extramarital affair.

That woman who posts every week about her “angelic” husband won’t tell you that she is doing it to subtly let the side chic know that her husband isn’t leaving her anytime soon.

We live in a competitive world. Social media has made competition even fiercer and has created addiction to approval. You won’t get admiration by admitting that sometimes things get hard and you can only afford a chapatti and sugarless tea for dinner. So people keep that part to themselves. They post only to show off, to nurse their ego.

Sometimes it’s done in the guise of creating awareness. Someone meets a hungry child and takes her to lunch, the whole world must know.

This is not to say that people don’t have anything good going for them. It’s to say that what they show on social media are just snippets of a complex life filled with loss, gain, failure, success, and everything in between.