Like essentially everyone on the planet I spend more time than I would like to admit on social media, scrolling through your posts and your photos and your comments. It is more than a little bit addictive, and I’m not sure it’s always great for our mental health.
You see, what we do is scroll through each others lives. But it isn’t real life. Have a think about the images that you’re posting and the stories your telling. You’ve probably seen me talk about the training I’m doing, sharing “lovely” pictures of Lizzie and me, and the occasional picture of lovely food. But you’ve never me post pictures of baked beans on toast. You don’t see the photos if the six nights a week that I sit on the sofa watching Gilmore Girls (seriously digging this right now). I call this Baked Beans on Toast Syndrome.
We curate our social media channels to show the best of our lives. And that means that when you’re lying in bed at night scrolling through Facebook I’m only seeing the best of your life. So I sit there feeling inadequate. Sometimes I feel jealous of the people you meet, the sights you see, the food you eat. Apparently this is called “Negative Social Comparison”.
Even Facebook admits that it isn’t good for you to just endlessly scroll. Instead, it suggests that you spend more time on it – and I think I agree. Rather than just scrolling, we could use the immense power of social media to truly connect with friends. Speak with old contacts. Have deeper conversations. Spend more time looking at photos and commenting and tagging and engaging rather than just looking. Use it to meet people IRL (apparently this is internet for “In Real Life”).
Next time you do scroll through social media… Remember that you are only seeing the best of life, and that everyone else is as confused about the meaning of life as you are.
Finally, think about how you portray yourself. Of course we’re all going to post the bits of our life we enjoy most. But why not occasionally talk about how you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you’re having a bad day. And why not top it all off with a picture of beans on toast!