One day after I post a complaint online, I have a “friend” who will almost always post how her life is the exact opposite of my grievance. Here’s some examples: I posted about how my child hates riding in the car during road trips; the next day, she posted about how happy her baby is in the car. Or how about the time I posted about how hard it is to get anything done; 1 hour later, she posted how she accomplished “soooooo many chores” and listed them all off to further rub it in.
This has happened too many times to be a coincidence.
In fact it’s beginning to feel like a full blown rivalry. I’ve even gone so far as to put out “bait” to see if she’d fall into her familiar pattern. Guess what, without hesitations she always bites. It’s one part hilarious and one part infuriating. Now I’m always contemplating things like: Why do I continue to allow this person into my life (even if it’s only online)? If this were the real world wouldn’t I have already cut her out? How different would the world be if people couldn’t show off on social media? Wouldn’t they still find a way to brag?
I get it. I’m not new to social media. I know people use it to brag (#Humblebrag is still one of my all time favorite hashtags). I know I’m guilty of it, honestly I’ve probably been bragging online since my first juno account. But sometime in the last five years, I made an honesty policy for my social media. I realized the only way to make the platform feel more like the “real life” would be through highlighting both my highs and the lows. I thought about deleting it forever, but I live far away from family and friends, and the ease to communicate to all of them at once via social media is just too great a thing to pass up.
Unfortunately my desire for ease in communicating with all my friends at once is the crux of the problem. Human beings have evolved to be social in small villages, not networks that span thousands of miles. Frankly I don’t think we are designed to know what So-And-So in Georgia is doing this Friday afternoon when we have spoken to So-and-so in ten years.
So what do I do? I turn to social media for answers.
Quora (my new favorite social media site, BTW) says people who brag have no self-awareness, are narcissistic, lack empathy, or are insecure. But I’m pretty sure everyone has become a percentage of all of those adjectives thanks to social media. So maybe we should all bear that in mind and try harder to just shut the hell up about our successes online. Because guess what? Bragging is not surprisingly awesome.
Now I need to tweet about this blog post.