Living a Facebook Life

It’s an interesting culture we live in. With the rapid rise of social media, many of us now spend more time documenting our lives than we do living them.
Don’t get me wrong- I love seeing what people are up to, as well as posting great life moments for others to enjoy. However the downside is when I experience “like envy” wondering why some people get 100 thumbs ups for the kind of latte they enjoy.

Counting “likes” just might be this culture’s addiction of choice.

Social media has propelled us back to high school as we quietly stalk the cheerleaders and quarterbacks- now wed with their 2.5 children and white picket fences- displaying an image of a life we all don’t have.

Perfect Fam
But the reality is no one has that life. Pictures just make it look that way.

A friend of mine started posting her dismay about the frustrating things her three year old son was doing and immediately got a series of comments saying “Are you ok?” “I’ll pray for you” “We’ll be relieved to see the perfect images once again.”
(Ok that last one was edited in).

But here’s the question- do we really want the truth on Facebook? And maybe more importantly, do we always give it?

I certainly don’t race to my page to post the temper tantrum my child just had. Or the one I had.
But catch me in front of a sunset, or dressed up with my husband, or watching my son kick the winning soccer goal, and my iPhone is out, ready to snap.
Perpetuating the “cheerleader myth” for all to enjoy.

The late great Mike Yaconelli always used to say “Don’t compare what you know about yourself to what you don’t know about someone else.” That was ten years ago. Facebook hadn’t even been invented when he gave that prophetic social media advice.

But still, 100 likes for a latte?
The really disturbing thing is since I have a book coming out, I was told I needed to add a fan page and twitter account to my social media repertoire. More “likes” and “followers” to recruit. And on top of that, this message greets me every day:

LikeMe
Try asking your friends to like your fan page and come across in a casual, non desperate way. (By the way, feel free to “like” Laurie Short if I haven’t already asked you.)

Even the language of social media propels us to our teenage years. Did you “like” my picture? How many friends do you have? I’ll follow you if you’ll follow me. Will you become my fan? Did you favorite my tweet? How many re-tweets did you get?
It’s exhausting.

Who has time to live what they are face booking, tweeting, blogging, posting or fan paging about?
And therein lies the problem.

If social media continues at this pace, we will need to work at actually living meaningful lives rather than making them appear that way.

Because at the end of our lives, the “likes” we got will not be remembered. The lives we touched will.