Social media friendships are a special kind of relationship. We may not have ever met in person, but we know them through what they post about their lives, their families, their thoughts, their dreams. Some people develop quite intimate friendships solely via social media. I know I have.
But do we really know them? How intimate can our friendship become if limited by lack of in-person contacts? Is it real? or is it faux intimacy?
On social media, we only see limited dimensions of a person’s life. We don’t see them interact in person. We may see representations of how they live, but we don’t see how they live.
What’s behind the image
We might see photos of a happy family life. But maybe we don’t see the husband cracking the wife’s head against the kitchen wall.
We might see Instagram posts of lovely vacation photos. But maybe we don’t see that they went into deep debt to take that trip.
Maybe our Twitter friend is always present online. Maybe we don’t realize that she’s taking time from her family to do that and the kids feel neglected. Or her job has taken lower priority.
Maybe it looks like someone’s got an awesome life. But we really don’t know, do we? Assumptions are dangerous because social media can’t help but involve a good bit of image management.
What’s not shared
While there are people who share their trauma, heartbreak and challenges online, many do not. Many keep their private journeys just that, private.
Now for me, I like knowing what my social media friends are up against. I have been super-inspired by the courage some display and have learned from others.
But I don’t share much of my own dark stuff. It’s just not my way. But it’s there. As it is for most of us. Even if we don’t share it.
If we don’t know the entirety of their lives, we can never know what someone else is carrying. Particularly true of social media friends.
How about you? What do you share on social media?