Apparently there is a thing called Facebook Image Crafting, which in clear speak is the delusional art of making one’s life appear more cool than it actually is. Which may appear fine but it carries a hidden bombshell - its making us all feel depressed. Why? Because social media has played us an almighty stitch up leaving millions of people feeling everyone else's life is better than their own. So what do we mean by this? Well let’s depersonalize the issue and run the scenario through a different vehicle - let’s call it a local church. Let's create a fictional metaphor.
It goes something like this.
A new church arrives in town – they come with big faith, big hearts and big prayers. They have a fantastic venue, brilliant website, cutting edge technology, worship band to rival U2 and a Pastor who looks like he's just finished modelling for Gucci. Bang. And they're off. And social media is a buzz with excitement - fizz and froth you name it, the champagne cork has popped and the world is sweet.
Meanwhile, down the road, up the street and across the town - the other churches are all doing OK. Quite well actually. They are working hard. Serving people. Loving Jesus. And just, well just getting on with the stuff they tend to get on with. They too post to social media but they've noticed the glitz of the new kids on the block and it’s knocked their confidence a bit so they stopped posting so much and viewing new kids more. The comparison has knocked their enthusiasm which has caused them to envy rather than courage.
The problem is compounded because they have now bought into the media story of the new kids - how they are going to change the world, save the nations, see zillions of people putting their faith in Christ. And so the down the road church looks over their years of service, how they've tried to do the right thing, stayed faithful over decades - but it’s been hard and they've just had to persevere and sometimes, well sometimes, the fruit doesn't equate to the decades they have put in. And they begin to wonder whether they are part of the problem rather than the answer - and slowly, but surely they find less pictures going onto Facebook and less postings on Twitter because they can't manage to craft an image to keep up with the new kids. They start to lose heart and become more observer than participator because confidence has slipped and gloom has started to take its place.
For the new kids it takes time for reality to bite - the paint to wear and the pastor's golden brown locks to grey and reality to dawn that actually this transformation stuff takes time, and patience, and energy, and the dreaded tedium of routine – all of which doesn't post quite so well as glamour. These are all things that new kids have yet to learn – and will, like everyone does. But over time they too post less, and observe more, and notice a newer new kid on the block who offers very much what they offered but with a higher level of panache. And they too find themselves starting to look back at what’s coming and not simply forward at what is yet to be achieved and through this simple exchange they discover that they are being drawn into a dangerous game called – comparison. The place where our expectations are not simply measured on the scales of what is right – but also through the judgement of comparing ourselves against the success of others.
Which is where our fictional metaphor ends because we all know and can see the folly in it – and yet so easily find ourselves party to it. And this, in a nutshell is called Facebook Image Crafting. It's a mugs game. It's a mugs game that Tim Urban in his article 'Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy' portrays really well and you can read his full article here http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/why-generation-y-yuppies-are-unhappy.html. He describes it this way.
[We] find [ourselves] constantly taunted by a modern phenomenon.
Social media creates a world where A) what everyone else is doing is very out in the open, B) most people present an inflated version of their own existence, and C) the people who chime in the most about their careers are usually those whose careers (or relationships) are going the best, while struggling people tend not to broadcast their situation. This leaves [them] feeling, incorrectly, like everyone else is doing really well, only adding to [their] misery.
But it’s a false perception of what is true - about both themselves and others.
So here are 8 tips on how to manage the menace and disperse the gloom created by the delusion of Facebook Image Crafting: