Lately–social media sites from facebook to instagram don’t feel very social. Instead, these sites are a forum for people to brag about what they have–their material possessions, their social standing or their wealth. When I scroll through facebook or instagram I feel like I am dealing with my 5-year-old who is constantly trying to get my attention by jumping around and saying: “Pay attention to me!” “Look at me!” or “Look what I can do!”
Social media is tiring. I am guilty of posting photos and updates that are really nothing more than humble bragging. But a light has gone off in my brain and I am ready to change.
Why do we ‘share’ everything: pictures of vacation–pictures of children–pictures of food? Why has facebook taken over the notion of ‘sharing?’ I remember sharing in high school– literally sharing– I shared my lunch with a friend who forgot hers. I couldn’t take a photo and post how great of a person I was for sharing. I just did it.
How is sharing our daily lives on social media actually sharing? Guess what? It isn’t. It is really humble bragging: look at my house; look at my car; look, my kids are popular; look, my kid is an athlete. look, at me, I got a raise in my job. This humble bragging is not social nor sharing. Sharing as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “to have or use something with others; to divide into parts and each take or use a part; to let someone else have or use a part of (something that belongs to you). So is sharing a photo or a status really sharing? Nope.
Facebook has tricked us into thinking our lives are anything other than ordinary. There are 7.4 billion people in the world as of 2016–so guess what–we are all pretty ordinary. 7.4 billion–I can’t even wrap my head around that number. But facebook and instagram have made it seem like we live in our own special little world and life revolves around us. Facebook has turned us into a narcissistic and selfish people. Maybe facebook and instagram knew that selfishness and egoism is our essential selves. Under the guise of ‘sharing’ we are really being egotistical.
So my challenge to you and myself is this: why not share something tangible instead of sharing an ego stroke on social media? Why not actually share a good book with a friend or read a book to a child? Or maybe share the time you spend on social media to a worthy cause–a volunteer organization or focused time with your own family. If you saw the people in your media feed–would you actually talk to them? Would you share your day or would you ignore and look the other way? Let us take back the notion of sharing and make it altruistic again.