Karen and Stacy were at the coffee shop last Sunday afternoon to catch up on their lives.
Karen: I really liked that photo of you doing the Edge Walk in the CN Tower. I don’t think I could do that. And you had dinner at the restaurant?
Stacy: Yes, a really pricey joint. We must have spent about $150.00 just for the meal.
Karen: Wow, that much? I don’t think I would have that much to spare for a fancy meal. Then you were in Vegas 2 weeks ago? I was so jealous when you said you stayed at the Bellagio. Those dancing fountains are something else.
Stacy: The Bellagio is my favorite hotel in the entire strip. I swam in the pool and blew about $500.00 in the slot machines.
Karen: You sure get around. Wat’s next on your agenda?
Stacy: I’ve got plans next week. I’ll surprise you. I’ll post some photos when I’m back.
After coffee, the two friends kissed each other goodbye. As Karen walked to her car, Stacy followed her and tapped her on the shoulder.
Stacy: Hey, got a minute? Something I need to tell you.
Karen: Sure thing, Stacy. What’s up?
Stacy: My Facebook posts are a bunch of lies. I never did the Edge Walk and I was never in Vegas.
Karen: What? But those pictures…?
Stacy: Strictly stock photos. I’m good with Photoshop. So I took some free Google images and worked them.
Karen: Why lie? There’s no need…
Stacy: I know. Rusty and I broke off 2 months ago. He left me for another woman. I was so devastated I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I made up my stories and posted them, hoping he’d realize I can still live it up without him.
Karen: Stacy, breaking up is something people do all the time. It’s no big deal. But to lie about your Facebook posts is unacceptable.
Stacy: I didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. And I didn’t want Rusty to think I was crying and crumbling at home.
Karen: Not being with Rusty anymore doesn’t make you less of a person. But next time I read your Facebook page, there’s going to be this doubt in my mind if it’s true or not.
Stacy: I’m sorry Karen. I didn’t mean to mislead or impress you. People posts all sorts of glam stuff it makes you wonder if half of them are real.
“Keeping up with the Joneses” on Facebook
As one observer said, there are numerous Facebook posts that make you salivate, convincing you that your life pales in comparison to theirs. But before you believe all of them and start feeling deprived, keep in mind that some of these posts are one big, blatant lie. People like to appear “cool”, so they embellish.
Let’s look at some examples:
Jim and Meredith have been married 10 years and go on 3-4 major trips a year. They’re not ordinary trips. They’ve been on exotic safari trips, month-long Baltic cruises, and shopping jaunts to the Orient. Their smiling faces on their posts suggest they’re living the dream, a couple so blessed with good fortune that you begin to think, why are some people so lucky?
Their reality, however, is a stark contrast. Jim and Meredith are big spenders and don’t have a cent in the bank. They’ve got a large mortgage, huge credit card debt, and 2 foreign cars on which they can barely afford the insurance and upkeep.
Lucky people? No. They’re drowning in money woes. How long can they keep this up?
Or else this story: A woman posts, “Owen and I are off to the Caribbean to buy vacation property. Next week we’re off to a vineyard in France and we hope to bring home some vintage wine and excellent champagne. Then, next month, we’re planning…
The truth is, this woman and her husband are making a last-ditch attempt to save their marriage for the sake of the children. They’ve fallen out of love with each other and Owen is threatening to leave the family home. He can no longer take her spending, her nagging, and her desire to show off constantly.
Another case: a young and upcoming fashion model shows off photos of her modelling stints in Italy, Belgium, and Toronto.
What she doesn’t say is that the people who look after models during photo shoots have to pour cold water in her face and jolt her to stay awake. They fix her dark circles and unkempt hair and force her to drink a lot of coffee because she can barely stay awake during a shoot. And she concludes her posts by saying, “I’m off to discuss another modelling contract. They can’t seem to get enough of me.”
The truth is, she’s a drug addict. The fashion houses found out and decided to terminate her contract; she’s become a high maintenance model who can’t be relied on to respect her appointments.
A friend had to brag about his Rolex timepiece. He he posted several photos of his wrist showing off the watch in various angles.
Dude, who cares about your Rolex?
Why do people lie on Facebook?
Depending on the age group, one reason is to look cool to others. They have this nagging thought about being socially accepted – and envied – by their peers.
Others lie because their own friends lie. It’s a never-ending competition. What did you do this weekend that’s so noteworthy? Entertain us with your posts. And we’ll entertain you with ours. People’s human sentiments are that they can’t be outdone, that their lives are just as exciting.
People think that if they have nothing exciting to say, their friends will think of them as boring, leading mundane lives that scream “shame, shame, shame”!
As one writer says, Facebook is a way to keep others in your life, not a way to create a life. There is no reason to fabricate or manipulate your reality so that others will accept you into their sphere of influence. More than half of those posts are embellished anyway, half-truths that aim to set them apart as a special breed of beings who have made it to the inner circle of “beautiful people.”
A biotechnology organization reports that people have an average attention span of 8 seconds, which means if your readers aren’t can’t dazzled by your posts within those 8 seconds, they move on to the next Facebook page. Instead of saying, “stayed at home to bake a banana bread for my cousin”, why not say, “submitted my recipe online and I won second place!” Those 8 seconds are better spent writing about the prize you won rather than the banana bread you baked.
Don’t huff and puff on social media
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others are social media tools that are powerful magnets. They certainly have brought long lost friends back to life, and added an exciting dimension to our daily routines. But spending too much time on Facebook and on other social media can consume you to the point where your desire to become connected in fact disconnects you from the world. Your obsession about keeping in touch has turned your valuable time into a mindless set of actions that, if measured quantitatively, would reveal how much time is wasted.
The number of friends and followers you have on your Facebook page doesn’t mean that they are really your friends because friendship is based on human interaction, not on cyberspace dialogues.
One advice from a social media expert is to post on Facebook but not to do it too frequently. People get tired of you, despite your exciting tales, and soon will no longer connect with you. Don’t be a source of annoyance. And don’t appear cheap by posting very personal or very intimate information. Just say it in person, keep your reputation intact.
The oft-repeated statement that “I only make friends with people I really know” is a joke. Who are you kidding? The idea is to show how many “friends” you have; the longer the list, the cooler you look. Experts believe that people befriend other people they don’t even know that well, just so they can stack up their friend lists.
Another joke: people say they like keeping in touch with people. But one expert says that’s only half true. We’re a nosy, curious bunch of people. You read profiles to see what other people do for a living, or what they have been up to. The desire to know shows you have too much time on your hands.
Don’t be a social butterfly. And remember, it’s not about you, it’s about genuine friendship – the kind that develops over time, not over false photos and posts.