The hypocrisy of social media

It’s been a piece in progress for many weeks; yup, I find it hard to write about things that I don’t like and here’s a slice of pretence straight out of social media’s oven.
Those who feel and see the real world [and I am grateful to be one of them!] may smile at the following practices, which doesn’t mean that they fall prey to them or encourage them. It simply means being polite when others are not.

Pictures 
   You will surely agree: pictures with children beat all other achievements.
Why? Almost every person can have a child, but not all of us can ice climb. 
   When somebody posts a picture in a place that’s familiar to many people and not really niche, there’s a whole bunch of thumbs up and hearts involved. Even though the niche picture is ten times more beautiful or special, it will most surely remain in the shadows.
People tend to validate themselves through others, so a picture of, say, Rome would surely be more popular than one of Tehran because more users have experienced it.

Café scene in Tehran, Iran [taken from Instagram]
Café scene in Tehran, Iran [taken from Instagram]

Posts 
   Well, it doesn’t really matter whether you’ve climbed Everest, kayaked the Nile source-to-sea, or registered another achievement [that many others probably won’t ever experience during their life], if you get married – even if it’s to a partner who has not and is not going to make you happy, everybody’s congratulating and cheering you on. Am I right, Facebook users?
Yup, people feel much better around other people who act exactly as they do than around people who are genuinely living their lives in a more interesting way than they do [see second bullet under Pictures]. 
   Lies vs. reality. How many of you are your absolute selves on social media? Precisely. It’s a beautified world. I am probably close to 90-95% of the real me, but how many like me are there around? I know that my close friends are true, because I know who keeps me company over dinner.
We start small – a Photoshopped picture, bragging about our activities in ____, and end up lying in a seriously lugubrious manner. Who wakes up every morning with roses on their night table? Which kitchen counter is ever perfectly neat after you’ve finished baking? A-ham. How many times do we lie and recommend places, products, services simply because we are emotionally attached to their providers or we’ve been paid to write a good review? [and that’s such a long and disappointing story nowadays…]   
Yes, we did get to Masai Mara and saw this beautiful cheetah, but...
Yes, we did get to Masai Mara and saw this beautiful cheetah, but...
...first we travelled for a whole day, mainly using matatus - which is not always fun -
...first we travelled for a whole day, mainly using matatus - which is not always fun -

Comments 
   What’s with all those ‘You are both cute’ and ‘Let’s meet up someday’ that we often see as comments to our posts?
The first reeks of pretence and the second is not going to happen, because you don’t actually mean it, do you? 
   And what about trolls? I sometimes sit and wonder: ‘Don’t those people have anything else to do than bully innocent users?’.
I guess not. See second bullet under Pictures. Psychic diseases are the new norm. Narcissists are ruling many countries, so why wouldn’t sociopaths and psychopaths be celebrated on social media? Maybe virtual statues should start being erected in their honour. Just sayin’.
Trolls are a bit fuzzy about their motives, just like these clouds around Pico Ruivo, Madeira
Trolls are a bit fuzzy about their motives, just like these clouds around Pico Ruivo, Madeira

Private messages 
   I work. Quite a lot. Actually, between 2007 and 2019, I barely had time to sleep. Plus, I have my close friends. If I got to chat every day for tens of minutes with the new people in my life or with those new followers on the several social media channels that I use, I wouldn’t really have time to do the other things in my life that need to be done.
Yes, I always reply, but very few people understand that there’s a thin line between polite approach and stalking.
Aaaaah, and whenever I see ‘my friend’ written down, it feels so fake, that my first impulse is not to continue my interaction with the author. 
   One of the things that I always say is—beware of getting catfished. Tricked. Convinced to send money. Convinced that you are loved. Not all people have the morals that you do.
Hold on to your heart, first and foremost. When you don’t actually know the person in flesh and blood, any online relationship [love, friendship, business] should be taken with a pinch of salt.
You are sometimes tricked to go somewhere, just like it happened to us in Panama
You are sometimes tricked to go somewhere, just like it happened to us in Panama

Followers 
   When I started tweeting back in 2012, I was surprised to witness the Follow/Unfollow game. It slowed down on Twitter, but it’s even more aggressive on Instagram. Which I don’t like, I consider rude, and I would never do that to another account.
It’s pretty sad if one’s entire existence is only validated by followers and likes, many times at the expense of hurting others. 
   There are many fake people only buttering you up, to gain exposure.
You’re not the only one being told how wonderful your feed is. 
   We’ve all probably been there: a person we considered close [sometimes very close] blocking us all of a sudden and showing his/her true feelings towards us [good to know, btw], in a coup of narcissistic rage [there are fewer and fewer sane persons around us, just pay close attention and you’ll notice that]. Or, the funniest thing of all, they’ll unfollow you on Instagram, but stay friends with you on Facebook. For example. WTF?
First of all, if we disagree on something, it doesn’t mean that I am your enemy. Secondly, if you bully me, I will break free at one point. Thirdly, if you don’t have the guts to say it to my face, there are some more elegant ways to go about: Mute (Twitter & Insta), Unfollow (FB), etc.
This is how we realise that the person we helped and cared for had no respect for what we shared.
I, for one, want only positive things and peace | Somewhere in Sicily
I, for one, want only positive things and peace | Somewhere in Sicily

Communities 
   Decent communities are rara avis. There’s only one social media channel where I found such a community and I am proud to be part of it. It’s Trover. There, people help each other with suggestions, encourage one another to discover places, and are genuine.
From a traveller’s perspective, sadly, such honesty is hard to find. Most community members don’t know how to use you and discard you faster – a.k.a. make you follow them and then unfollow you.
The rainbow stands tall; here, at LEGO House in Billund, Denmark
The rainbow stands tall; here, at LEGO House in Billund, Denmark

This is the exchange rate of our days, apparently.
The funny thing is that I STILL BELIEVE. I still believe that there are people like me out there, with real values, who can and will CHANGE THE WORLD.

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