To Selfie or Not To Selfie

Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s that I was raised in a different generation by a different generation. Maybe it’s my personality. Maybe it’s the effect of technology and social media. I’m not exactly sure. But I don’t like it.

I don’t like the fact that on certain days, I let social media tell me what’s truth. I have considered giving it up a million times over. On my not so good days, it makes me feel bad. Honestly. The highlight reels of everyone else’s lives, when your own life is so full of yuck, leaves you feeling less than. Never good enough. It’s a fact. Studies have shown it. ( And we wonder why there is so much more angst in the teen years? Really?)

But the fact is, a lot of very good and powerful things come out of social media. It can be a very influential and powerful tool when used wisely. For any writer today, it’s a necessary evil.

The thing that gets me the most are the selfies. How the younger generation (am I really that old?) has no qualms of posting pics of themselves. I see this in my own kids. Part of it is my own fault. I mean I’ve posted pics of them as they’ve grown up. For them FB and Instagram are like the photo albums I grew up with.

And this younger generation? They are so photogenic. It’s ridiculous. I mean, do they ever take a bad picture? I take selfies once in a blue moon and pretty much delete them or never ever post them. I take a terrible selfie. I don’t want the world to see them.

This may also come from growing up in an atmosphere where posting pics of yourselves was considered vain. Now I’m not saying everyone who posts selfies is vain or self-absorbed. Not.At.All. (But the whole social media thing does bring those people out of the woodwork and you know who they are because they popped into your mind as soon as you read that.)

I was born, along with my twin sister at the end of large family. My parents were entering midlife. They grew up during the later years of the Depression and WWII. Pictures were rare to begin with. The whole digital world is a wonder to them. So there is that divide for some of us. Generations.

Besides being raised in a different time, I think some of it’s also the awkward situation of being caught between two generations. Like so many of us born in the 70’s we’ve been caught between two very different times and people. In my lifetime, I remember a time without cable TV, we had a party-line phone line and computers were just appearing upon the scene. Then here we are today. Streaming video, smart phones and computers running just about everything. I feel lost some days because I’m trying to fit into a world I was not raised in or prepared for. It’s not just me right?

On top of feeling like I don’t fit, my generation have had to wait our turn while the many, many boomers lead. Meanwhile the generation behind us is nipping at our heels because they are being schooled to get up and take over and change things. Right.Now. Some days it feels like an impossible situation for us hippie babies. I feel like I don’t fit anywhere and social media, and particularly, selfies, enhance that feeling. Does anyone else feel that way?

I know some of it’s my personality too. I think I grew up with the mantra in my head : Please don’t look at me. So a selfie equals an oxymoron for me.

But here’s the thing I thought about today. Just because I don’t have a million selfies posted does not make me less than. Or if you do have a million selfies posted, it doesn’t make you more than. It doesn’t mean a thing either way. Selfie or not.

It’s just a picture of a moment of fun, of joy or whatever. It’s just one moment over a lifetime. It does not tell the whole story or even THE story. It’s tells the story of a minute. These can be awesome minute stories. Truly. They should be celebrated. If you post them. Great. If you don’t, it doesn’t make it less than real.

The lie social media is telling us is that if it’s not posted it didn’t happen. It’s not real.

The second lie is that if it was posted, it is truth. Confusing isn’t it?

The thing to remember is social media is just a tool. For some it is a way to store memories. Like those old photo albums and scrapbooks. Others use it as a platform. For some of us, it’s a way to stay in touch with loved ones far away. None of it is bad per se. Unless you live thinking it is truth. It’s not. Like I said, it’s a tool.

Real life is lived away from the camera for most of us. All the selfies, the status updates are just a few moments of a person’s life. There are so many more moments lived in obscurity, even for those prolific posters. Moments and minute stories we don’t ever see. They are real. Some are awesome. Some are most definitely not. But they make up our lives and our stories. They are the moments that mould us into who we are and most happen out of the limelight. Off the highlight reel.

The truth of ourselves is written over the course of a life time of moments, some already in the books (or posted online!)  and others still waiting in the future. That is the truth of who we really are. Some of it we will post. Much of it, we will not. We’ll be too busy living, to bother with a selfie.

 

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