Thursday, February 1, 2018

Social Media Perceptions

I started using social media in the 7th grade. My dad is technologically-savvy; so when he bought a shiny new computer for us, many of my friends didn't even know what dial-up internet was. (Many younger children probably do not know what dial-up is. Ha. Scary. I am positive that Jacob doesn't.) AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), ICQ, AsianAvenue, and Xanga were all common platforms I used to use. I am on the cusp of being a millennial, and probably identify more with them than those of Generation X.

Facebook started when I was in college, way back when you needed a university email address to even use it. Now, Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat have become a part of our normal existence and conversation. Without knowing it, we have all created our own social media persona, by posting pictures and articles based on how we want to be perceived. We neglect to post about our failures, unless we want to be perceived as "real". We neglect to post about our illnesses, unless we want to be perceived as "a fighter" or we need help raising money on our GoFundMe accounts. We post a ton of pictures of our kid(s), because we want to be seen as a great mother, but not too many or it gets annoying. 

 A friend of mine told me the other day, "Tracy. Jacob is such a great kid. He is so calm and well-behaved."  I gave her the biggest eye-roll of my life. Well-behaved? Calm? Do you know my kid? Oh. You must be looking at my social media posts, and not the actual tantrums he has when he is tired or grouchy.

Social Media perceptions. It's real.

Still, regardless of how I am perceived online, I just cannot turn off my phone. So what can I do? What can we all do? Some of my friends have disconnected from social media, and perhaps that is also a form of social media perception. Or perhaps a form of self-preservation. I just cannot do that. I have tried.

The only thing I can continue to do is to continue using social media as a positive space and remember why I started using it to begin with.  It is a place where I can get away from the stresses of real life, share my experiences, and learn from others. A place to share the love I have for Jacob, and a chance to re-connect with old friends and make new ones. With that being said, time to log off for now. Motherhood calls. Until next time....