Thursday, November 5, 2015

~ the good, the bad, and the grey areas ~

In a world of YouTube comments and online dating, a lack of transparency is almost a given.  Photoshop can fix blemishes, affairs can be hidden, and 55 year old men in Indiana can pose as 23 year old women in online chat rooms.  So how can someone maintain a balance between sharing their personal experiences and keeping their doors shut and bolted?  How can one manage a personal crisis in the Digital Age?

 Illustration from Mode-Maker Metal Business Furniture catalog, circa 1960.:

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.  Smalltalk is expected, but oversharing is met with disapproval and links to articles about people whose houses were burgled and citizens who lost their retirement funds from sharing too much personal information online.  Weddings, babies, homemade pizza for dinner?  Fine.  Divorce, mental health, financial instability?  Discuss those struggles and you've started down the slippery slope to becoming "that person."

We're all guilty of of selective posting.  We share the good and hide the bad - it's natural human behavior.  But what do you do when life has dealt you a particularly difficult hand and you're struggling to conjure up the optimism you're usually bubbling over with?  What do you do when getting out of bed was your only accomplishment for the day?  What do you do when sides have been taken and weapons have been drawn?  How do you survive?  Cat videos and political satire seem inappropriate, daily accounts of your depression seem even more inappropriate, and digital silence is not ideal.  

Life has its ups and downs, so why doesn't social media?  The good things are celebrated, but the bad things are ignored.  But does it really have to be this way?  Can't we have a healthy variety?

I like to think that it doesn't have to be this way and we can have a healthy variety of high points and low points.  Social slickness is not only untrue but unrealistic.  Low points in one's life should not have to equal silence on social media in order to meet society's strict standards for constant perfection.  Don't the majority of problems in relationships, both digital and in person, stem from a lack of communication?  We cannot be free to be truthful about our happiness if we cannot also be free to be truthful about our sorrow.

So I'm done holding myself back.  I'm done with the voices in the back of my head that tell me "people don't want to hear about that."  Do we post what we post because we think other people want to hear it or because we want to say it?



  1. This was extremely well written. I think you need to do whatever is best for you.