I was talking with a client the other day and we got onto the topic of social media. She was talking about how she isn’t on Facebook that much anymore…..
“I’m not on Fakebook anymore.” I was bemused.
I sort of knew what she meant but I wanted to hear more. “What do you mean?” She went on to say that “This isn’t the time in my life when I want to be on Facebook. I mean, things haven’t been going too well for me lately…….”
Her peer group is at that time in their lives where they’re getting married, buying houses, taking interesting vacations, and having babies. And the photos are there to prove it.
The client, at this particular time in her life, is dealing with some personal struggles that have left her feeling isolated and alone.
I thought my client bringing up the topic of a social media outlet in our session was interesting. And it’s happening a lot more in sessions with clients. Because they, like most of us, do care what they look like in photos. They do alter their images more to their liking, and it does matter to them how many “likes” they get on their statements/photos. As well, they want to see what’s going on, or, dare I say, “keep up with the Joneses.”
I’ll admit it. I’m on Facebook and Twitter. I love Twitter for the access to articles and professionals in my field as well as following people engaged in my outside interests. And I so appreciate Facebook for keeping me connected to my high school and college friends as well as my huge extended family.
Have I ever put a filter on a picture to make it look better? Yeah. Every time? No. There are some pretty ugly and “real” photos of me out there in cyberspace. Oh well. Have I sometimes “overshared” what I’ve been doing with family and friends? Yeah, I’ll admit that, too.
But I could care less about the “likes” or “follows.” I didn’t even know until recently that that was something people cared about until a teenage client told me “how important the ‘likes’ are.” Who knew? Well now I know, the teenagers (and probably lots of people!), care. (Actually, my daughter just told me there is now an app you can get download for $5 that will provide a person with free likes on their Instagram and Facebook pages.)
We are all living in this world of social media, whether we want to be or not. It’s a new (or newer) world for many of us. And it can be a daunting place to live. Many, many people feel pressure to look a certain way and to show photos of “how great my life is!”
I joke with several of my family members saying that one day I’m going to put a terribly sad and ugly picture of myself and post something like this:
“Today was an awful day. Bill collectors won’t stop calling; it’s pretty nonstop. My kids would rather Snapchat than talk to me. I just found out that my brother is a sex addict. And I think I’m going to have to put my mom into hospice sometime soon. I’m not looking forward to that…..”
I wonder how many “likes” I’d get for that one. (Insert smart-a** face)
But my client is right. Social media can seem like a lot of smoke and mirrors. It’s not real, it’s social media reality. It’s not our own reality. It’s someone else’s idea of THEIR OWN reality. And even THEY know it’s not really real. It’s like having on your best outfit and most perfect hair every.single.day.