Carefully curated lives

Full disclosure – I wish the title of this blog post was mine, but it isn’t. It belongs to a friend of mine who is way smarter than I am, on every topic, social media included. Let’s just call her “S” for “smart”.

“S” and I had a text exchange last week and I was telling her how much I like Instagram, she replied “yeah, I like it too as long as I stay away from the carefully curated lives.”  That comment, along with some great blog posts by fellow students this week got me thinking.

As most of you may remember, I struggle with the issue of authenticity on social media, how much of what we see is real, or just the image or sentiment people think we are receptive to, the one people are most likely to “like” or “share” or comment on?
The first blog that got me thinking was A quantum leap. I love Pinterest, home decor and woodworking projects are two boards I follow. The houses are immaculate and beautiful and all the woodworking projects turn out perfect. Neither of those things are true in my life.
The second post that got me thinking was Lazy Activism, it raises a really big question:

“Social media has given the opportunity for people to feel like they are making a difference by doing        the bare minimum.” Wow!

In addition to portraying “carefully curated” lives, are we all just swimming in the shallow end of the pool, well inside the protective buoys that separate us from deeper, yet more meaningful waters? My friend “S” (remember, that’s “S” for smart) also sent me a link to this article that basically says technology has made cultivating relationships easier, but also shallower which is kind of the same
thing Jessica points out about activism, sometimes liking something on Facebook just isn’t enough. Don’t get me wrong, social media is what we make it, I get that. We cannot blame the technology for the shallowness of the content and, to be sure, there is some very real and authentic content (WARNING: This link contains small amounts of profanity) on social media, how much in relative proportion to the carefully curated lives, I don’t know.
And then there is this: Social media affects the brain in the same way that a hug does by providing it a
shot of dopamine.

Hugs are never bad right?

But is a digital hug the same as a physical one? Maybe to the brain, but not to the heart, at least not to mine.


3 thoughts on “Carefully curated lives

  1. Yes, I agree with Doug and Alison that a digital hug is better than nothing when circumstances prevent a personal, in-the-flesh one — but I consider it a very distant second! And while the study about the dopamine effect of social medial activity is interesting and seems to reach some logical conclusions, the cynic in me can’t help but noticing that it was commissioned by a US-based media-buying firm and published in an American marketing magazine. It may also be outdated by now, since it was published just over a year ago and presumably the study took place several months prior to that. And we know how ridiculously fast thing are changing on the SM front…

  2. I still treat all media – email included – as a distant finisher to an actual flesh-and-blood encounter. The thing I am most saddened by in this current social media moment is how silent my land line has become. It used to be that if I couldn’t actually be with a person, the phone at least allowed me to hear the music and cadence of their voice. With texting and email, it’s as if everyone has decided that we mustn’t disturb one another with an actual real-time phone call. It’s another step back from the old ‘dropping in’ people used to do. Are we afraid of appearing un-busy, uninteresting or needy? Are we so careful of other people’s time that we stop spending any of ours with them?

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