Around the Web: Social Media on The Wheelhouse Review

It's long past time we develop a more honest approach to our public images.

 The Wheelhouse Review was a great blog run by a sharp, snarky bunch who had an enviable ability to keep themselves writing on schedule. I’m glad to say that I finally joined their ranks in July of 2014 with a reflection on the way we use social media and a valiant attempt at launching a new hashtag. Check it out below and then join in the conversation on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or whatever else you use instead of Google+.

Hey, did you hear that people pay careful attention to the ways in which they present their lives on social media? That your college roommate’s haphazard photographs of fun times, your co-worker’s selfies from a hiking trail and your high school boyfriend’s spur-of-the-moment status updates letting you know that he is having a great day might each be part of a carefully coordinated attempt to create a false impression of how exciting their lives actually are?
 
Well, it’s a thing. And apparently it’s not healthy.
 
If you’re into this kind of thing, more and more attention is being paid to the fact that the lives people present on social media are highly curated. Hipstergrammers (That’s what you call people who use social media, right?) generally only present the best, brightest and funniest moments of their lives, and they leave off the mundane ones, the disappointing ones and the sad ones. Oh, there is the occasional humble brag, disguising itself as an embarrassed confession. (“Ugh! I put the glasses on the wrong sides of the plates when Beyonce and Jonah Hill came over for dinner! They didn’t say anything about it but I’m so #embarrassed!”) 
 
Meanwhile, those brave few who make the mistake of using social media to express sincere, heart-felt anguish they are experiencing as they navigate genuinely stressful situations—the people who are open about the fact that they are using social media to introduce some kind of actual, human, social connection into a sometimes-lonely life—are freakin’ pariahs, right? You know the people I’m talking about. Your high school friends who were late to the Facebook game and don’t have the daggum dignity to just come up with funny Tweets and keep their day-to-day life out of your face the way real people do?
 
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, this video that made the rounds about a month ago (A month ago!?! Who the heck is this guy? If he’s not the first to share it, why the heck is he even bothering?) offers a pretty clear dramatization of the phenomenon:

This hasn’t just caught the attention of snarky internet writers who can’t be found on Google because they share a name with a once-famous basketball player, either. Plenty ofnews outlets from around the country (and even Canada!) have pointed out that social media tends to encourage people to post the highlight reel of their lives and discourage sharing anything else.

Unless you make “anything else” look good.

Which is what we’re going to do.

Here’s what I say we do: For the next week—or for however long we feel like it—let’s share the realities of day-to-day life, the frustrations and struggles and disappointments both major and minor that usually get edited out of a Facebook feed.

“But Rick,” I imagine you’d like to ask. “Didn’t you just say that people who take to Facebook to complain generally get blocked? I swear I even saw a music video about it!”

Yes, gentle reader, I did, but I think I’ve found a loophole: We’re going to share the lowlights of our life, and we’re going to make them as aesthetically pleasing as possible. The easiest way to do this is going to be with photos—carefully framed, possibly filtered photos of every sad thing, from day-to-day annoyances to major tragedies.

I’ll be getting the ball rolling today on Instagram. You can feel free to join in on the fun with the hashtag #MakeSadnessLookGood. Once we get the hang of it, let’s spread it to other social networks and see if we can’t raise some poor sap’s self-esteem (or at least get our most obnoxious contacts to filter us out of their feeds)

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