Musings: #LifeUnfiltered

8:38 AM

The highlight reel!
That's what we post on social media. Not all the time nor every single user, but for the most part we share the good and happy moments of our lives. We stay away from the sad topics, but we will tread lightly near the ones that will madden us. However, I believe social media can be summed up in one small sentence that I saw on Twitter (which I re-purposed for my own IG):
My opinion on this topic is nothing new to the blog. Previously, I wrote this post showing what I Instagram'd versus what was actually happening when I took the pic, which I all 'perceived reality'. I'm pretty sure I've also written other posts or snippets with the same sentiment, but after reading Split Image I felt compelled to write about this topic again. This post will not attempt to touch on the topic of Mental Health, which is a very serious topic that I would never attempt to delve into. I don't have any experience with this subject nor do I have any education regarding this topic.

My heart aches for the Holleran family, as they try to make sense of what happened. I'd highly suggest taking the time to read this article. It resonated with me, although I haven't gone through anything she had experienced. I admire EspnW who have ignited the discussion of Mental Health across all ages, which lead to the creation of #LifeUnflitered. Taking the time to show what really happens behind our iPhone camera. It's not all pretty beach scenes, gorgeous mocha's, happy smiles, and poetic quotes. Life's hard, we have our ups and downs, but showing the downs tends to be taboo. 

Kate Fagan, the author of the article, made some very eloquent points that I just could not even fathom verbalizing. Here are some excerpts I pulled, which resonated with me, well beyond after reading the article:

"Everyone presents an edited version of life on social media. People share moments that reflect an ideal life, an ideal self. Hundreds of years ago, we sent letters by horseback, containing only what we wanted the recipient to read. Fifty years ago, we spoke via the telephone, sharing only the details that constructed the self we wanted reflected.

With Instagram, one thing has changed: the amount we consume of one anther's edited lives. Young women growing up on Instagram are spending a significant chunk of each day absorbing others' filtered images while they walk through their own realities, unfiltered. In a recent survey conducted by the Girl Scouts, nearly 74 percent of girls agreed that other girls tried to make themselves look "cooler than they are" on social networking sites."
 
"Checking Instagram is like opening a magazine to see a fashion advertisement.
Except an ad is branded as what it is: a staged image on glossy paper.

Instagram is passed off as real life.

Yes, people filter their photos to make them prettier. People are also often encouraged to put filters on their sadness, to brighten their reality so as not to "drag down" those around them. The myth still exists that happiness is a choice, which perpetuates the notion of depression as weakness.

Life must be Instagrammed -- in more ways than one."

"EVERY YEAR, MORE than 40,000 Americans die by suicide. Among young adults, ages 10 to 24, suicide is the second-leading cause of death, with more than 4,500 young people taking their lives each year. The suicide rate among NCAA athletes is lower than the general population (0.93 per 100,000, versus 10.9). Between 2004 and 2012, 35 student-athletes took their own lives."

I'm having a hard time putting into words my thoughts regarding living a #LifeUnfiltered. I'm so quick to snap a pic, add a filter and caption, then 'share' with my followers. Yes, some are staged and premeditated, yet some are just random. Facebook let's me be more wordy with my thoughts, Twitter forces me to be quirky with 140 characters, and Instagram lets me feel faux artistic with my iPhone camera, photo editing apps, and clever (re: maybe not-so-clever) captions. However, all three things have something in common - the ability to show our 'curated lives'. The good, the loving, the happy moments. The raw, honest, and unfiltered ones don't always get posted. Which is the blessing and the curse of social media. We each get to choose what we want to share.

Which is why this lesson from Madison (and probably plenty more of her generation) is so important. It is so important that we don't lose sight of the fact that our actual lives are not filtered, we feel, live, and breath every emotion of our lives. Behind each user name is a person, a person with real feelings, emotions, and a heart. We need not compare ourselves to what we see on each others social media. We are all fighting our own battles, daily, whatever they may be - so remember that when you are looking through filtered images or posts.

Remember to ask your friends and family the hard questions, especially if you think that something might not be alright. I write this more as a reminder to myself, than as advice to you. I also write these thoughts, because I need to remember to not compare my life to those I see as I scroll through my feeds.
 
This blog lends itself to being more of a 'truth outlet' for me, although even here I don't put everything out there -- for personal reasons and fear of judgement. One of my recent posts I skimmed the topic of my 'musings,' but it did not scratch the whole story. It did not come close to the whole truth, but someone reading it may not understand that. In respect to my life and those in it, I leave out parts of the story(s) - but still, as a writer, I try to give the reader the best insight as to what I am thinking...without jeopardizing my personal relationships.

As Fagan put it, we now have instant accessibility to scroll through each others edited lives. It might behoove us as a population to take every post, comment, picture, or tweet with a grain of salt. But more importantly, remember that life is unfiltered, we aren't seeing the whole story!

Are you curating a life so differently from the one you are actually living?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------National Suicide Prevention Hotline 
Are you in crisis? Please take the first step in getting help by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The call is free, and you will be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area.

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2 comments

  1. Thank you for this. I haven't read the article yet, but I definitely agree with all that you say about comparison and remembering not to believe all that we see. I'm also a huge advocate of speaking out about mental health. It effects everyone, even if not directly. Going to read article now!

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    Replies
    1. Yup! I couldn't agree more, which is why I wanted to write about it. Just because it doesn't affect us directly, someone near us might be and we don't know about it. Hope you got something out of the article. xoxo, ganeeban

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