The False Personas on Social Media

by Kira Weiner

“I know you’re having the greatest time at Chapman, I see it all over your Facebook.”

I was at lunch with a high school friend during winter break of our freshman year and her comment caught me off guard. Just a few moments before, she had been telling me about her first semester at college and how rough her transition was into independence. She confided in me about how she did not enjoy her university and how she wanted to transfer into a different college as soon as she possible could. When she commented on my Chapman experience, she said it with a twinge of bitterness. I suppose I should feel glad that she thinks I’m having the greatest time, but I didn’t. I felt like I was lying to her face. And that’s because, I realize, to a certain extent, I was. Yes, I have had many wonderful experiences that I am so grateful for. But to judge my entire college experience based on a few pictures on my Facebook? That’s just not reality.  

Somewhere down the line, I have become a top-notch advertiser for the product of my own life. Look at my Facebook profile, and you will find nothing but snapshots of smiling faces that depict all the good times I’m claiming to have. I never post anything negative and I never seem sad through my social media persona. However, it bothers me that my friend took my social media as a direct reflection of my social life. What she sees on my Facebook is not my full story. She doesn’t see any of the problems that I face or the struggles that I’ve overcome. She was comparing her full experience to snippets of my own experience that I had carefully tailored to make it seem like I was having a great time. Her perception of my reality was extremely skewed.

We shouldn’t be surprised that other people face struggles. We shouldn’t be shocked that other people go through hard times. We shouldn’t need to think that people are perfectly okay until proven otherwise, because everyone is fighting hard battles, whether or not they post about it online. Some things are private, and that’s okay. Not everything needs to be shared to be valid. There is so much more to life than the confines of the walls on Facebook. 

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