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Jul 14, 2013

Girl Talk // Why Facebook Leads to Fakeness


Let's face it.  No matter how "real" you think you are, we've all got a little fake in us.

I remember when I was in high school and girls would call one another fake.  They'd say "She's soooo fake, she acts so nice to your face and then stabs you in the back every chance she gets!"  Fake wasn't just a bad thing then, it was downright detestable.  Something everyone was a little bit of, and yet something no one wanted to ever be called.  In some cases, it was the nail in the coffin of a friendship.

When I was in high school, Myspace ruled.  You had to be in college to be on Facebook, so it was pretty awesome and elite and all that.  Twitter wasn't even on the average person's radar.  Instagram...ummm, what?  You were like, way ahead of the game if your phone had internet.  (Crazy to think of what's changed in just 7 years, huh?)  For the most part, if you were going to be fake, you had to do it face-to-face.  Or behind someone's back.  Or both.

Now, not long after the days of xanga (please, someone tell me you had a xanga too...), our world revolves around social media.  And it reeks of fake.

Think about it:  have you ever retaken a photo until you got a shot that showed you in the perfect way?  have you ever revised a tweet because it needed to be just witty enough but not trying too hard?  have you ever crafted a blog post so that your readers will think your life is just peachy?

Yes.  Yes.  and Yes.  I'm so guilty of all of this.  And I'm willing to bet that you are too.  It's probably not intentional, in fact, you might not even realize it, but if you scroll through your Facebook feed, how much of who you really are shows?

I'm not championing being totally transparent on Facebook.  It's not the place to bear all of your innermost thoughts and struggles, and frankly, I think it's fine to want to present yourself in a good light through social media, but I worry about what it does to our real-life relationships.

I can't tell you how many times I've had to stop before saying something to someone and think "did we talk about this...or did I just read it on her blog or Facebook feed?"  How awful!  Social media has us in the habit of feeding our relationships through the web, instead of face-to-face.  And what a shame, because those one-on-one interactions are so much more real, so much more fulfilling, and so much less fake than our Facebook lives.

I think this whole social media thing carries this weird paradox.  On one hand, it's much less authentic than real life, and in other ways, it allows people the freedom to say what they want, when they want, to whomever they want.  Have you ever seen the "To Be Honest" trend pop up in your news feed?  (Confession:  I'm always tempted to like those posts just to see how honest those people are.)  Facebook allows you to scream at the world and be affirmed in it.  But no matter how honest you are in those posts, it's still not really real.

I think we live in a world that moves so quickly and allows for so much fake, and sometimes, it robs us of becoming who we're meant to be.

So here's my challenge, at the end of this little girl talk:
Be real.  
Be authentic.  
Be intentional.  
Dig deep and invest in others in the flesh, not just online.  
Walk away from the computer, put down the phone, and talk.  
Listen.  
Look critically at your presence on social media.  
If you have the space to do it, talk about some mistakes, struggles, things you'd do differently from time to time.  
Look at them as opportunities for growth, and allow others to grow from them too.

I love girl talk, so you know where to find me if you need me.  Let's have coffee.

9 comments:

  1. Betsy, these girl talk sessions are just making me wish we lived closer so we could talk more in person! I am really enjoying them though; keep it up :)

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    1. Well thanks friend! Yes, I agree...so wish we lived closer. But visits soon?!?!?! :)

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  2. I just love all these words , though I hate facebook but I know I was one of those who used it MUCH more than normality .
    Noor @ Noor's Place

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    1. Thanks so much! Yeah, Facebook kinda has a tendency of sucking you in, doesn't it?

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  3. I don't know, am I the only person that doesn't do fake things? For every good picture I post, there's always one of or really odd and unflattering ones to go with it. I don't believe in being witty on Twitter cause that's not what my Twitter is for, I saw what I mean and tend to mean what I say. And looking over my blog, I tend to be harsher on my blog than I would ever be on Twitter or FB.

    I never understood why people were "fake", but I've never had a problem with it either. At the end of the day most people, like you said, are fake to some extent and this isn't only directed towards females, but males and every one in between. I will say this though, the people who are "fake" tend to feel the most empty after they do whatever it was that was "fake". You'll always feel a little empty when you tweet something that drifted away from the thing that you wanted to truly say. You'll feel a little empty and forced when you look at the perfected angled pictures and they look nothing like when you face yourself directly. And worse, you'll feel truly empty when you feel like you can't even be open enough on your blog and it truly is no one's fault aside from your own.

    Also, I would like to say that there's a difference between omission and fakeness. Omission is telling every thing you wish to without putting out too much information or talking about something in a roundabout manner. Faking is pretending or dismissal of the highest kind in some aspects.

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    1. Great point! There's definitely a difference between those two, and omission is probably a better word for filtering what sort of things you put out there on social media sites. I think my concern is less about omitting the bad or unattractive, etc. and more about how our relationships can get hindered by social media. i.e. instead of my friend getting to tell me exciting news in person, I've already read it on Facebook. And yes, there's always the point that if you want to tell people things face-to-face, then don't put it on Facebook to begin with! I just feel like there's a lack of authenticity to our interactions when they're fed so much through the web!
      Thanks for your comment!

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  4. Hello there! I just found your fun blog. I hope you will follow me back at www.mysaturdaysmiles.blogspot.com Thanks!:)

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    1. Thanks! I will definitely check out your blog. :)

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  5. I was thinking of this same thing lately and then you wrote this post about it! I was thinking about how facebook/twitter/blogging gives a false sense of community sometimes. Not that you can't get real authentic community with social media, but it is easy to get caught up in sitting behind a screen and forget to live away from the screen. I have been really thinking about this so much lately that I wonder if those things have become so all consuming to me that it is time to walk away (for a while) and rediscover what makes me real without those things.

    I have met some great people through blogging BUT they still are people who live in other states that I have never really met. They are not here, in my day to day life, to support and love on a daily basis. And sometimes my sense of community is skewed. I feel like I have all these great friends and then you step back and you realize that you really don't, they are all just far away.

    I don't mean I don't have friends (I have plenty) I just mean sometimes I get caught up in it all... know what I mean?!

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