I heard this term, fakebooking, for the first time the other day. I know- I live under a rock. And I was a little annoyed that I had not come up with this phrase, because it’s sort of perfect. For the uninitiated, fakebooking refers to when you post online so many wonderful things, when the life you lead is so perfect, you make others feel inferior.
To be fair- fakebooking has been going on a lot longer than the internet. Back in the 60’s there was the infamous vacation slide show. You would go to someone’s house for fondue, and treated to not only bread cubes on flaming hot skewers, but 4000 pictures of the grand canyon. From the same spot. All to make you feel bad that you didn’t drive cross country with no air conditioning and three kids in the back of a station wagon screaming “he touched me”, “are we there yet?” “I have to go to the bathroom”. Oh wait- they didn’t tell you that part. They didn’t take a pic the litter strewn across the back seat, the flat tire in Des Moines, or the horrendously bad roadside motel. No, they showed you the glory- not the guts.
I remember my first Christmas as a working adult. December 26 was a very showy day around the office. Women sporting jewels and fancy coats (this was the very ostentatious, go go 80’s) Except one woman. Her husband bought her a briefcase (for those of you born after the 80’s, a briefcase was a leather messenger bag with a handle not a cross body strap). It was evident that a lot of money was spent. What wasn’t evident was the cheating, drinking, lying and gambling that provoked those husbands/boyfriends/married lovers to purchase those gifts. Now it’s been years since I’ve seen any of those women, but even at that time, the only one still married was the owner of the briefcase.
Now, thanks to social media, we have all sorts of new ways to shame those around us. People post everything. There are pictures of food so meticulously prepared it doesn’t seem real. Pictures of crafting exploits that look machine made. Photos from exclusive events or out of the way destinations. Expensive clothes and toys. Little tidbits about lifestyles that belong in a romance novel, not a twitter line. They don’t tell you about the 150 sugar roses they made before they got the perfect one on the cake. Or the horrible storm that destroyed 90% of their vacation. Or that the toddler son is seated behind a table in the family portrait because you couldn’t get him to put on pants. Or a diaper.
One of my friends recently posted the following on Facebook:
“We saw all the pictures of your relationship. We heard how he was your boo bear and how much he loved you. And then you broke up. Well, we put up with all the other stuff. Give us the dirty details of the break up. You owe us.”
Why do people fakebook? I don’t have an actual, verified answer, but I’m guessing lack of confidence. They need the approval of others or, that someone is a little jealous, to make them feel better about themselves. “I have what you want, so I’m better than you.” They need the reinforcement of “likes” – an internet seal of approval. “This person posted 6 vacation shots, 10 proposal videos and 3 posts with celebrities waiting to congratulate her on engagement. She is rated A1 on the scale of awesomeness. See- it’s right here on the internet.”
Confidence doesn’t come from external sources. It doesn’t come from likes, or making other people feel bad about themselves. Confidence comes from inside. A confident person is the person who shows up every day, and gives their all at whatever task they’re doing. A confident person admits when they are wrong. A confident person realizes that sometimes they are going to fail at things, but they know they have to pick up the pieces and get on with life again. A confident person doesn’t blame others, they don’t blame their tools. They take responsibility for their actions: the good and the bad. A confident person doesn’t need accolades (though they probably like awards and gifts).
There is nothing wrong with posting things on social media- that’s the point of it. I enjoy shots of graduations and award ceremonies and sports victories. Seeing the happy moments in other peoples lives makes me happy. But social media posts are not supposed to make others feel bad, or shame them into doing things they can’t afford. Its just supposed to be an easy way of sharing information with the people you care about.
If you ever feel bad about yourself because of something on social media- don’t- because that’s only one side of the story.