All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
A few years ago my family took a vacation to Park City, Utah for the Christmas Holiday. If you know anything about me, it’s that I love Christmas almost as much as Buddy does in the movie Elf. On this particular trip, it was bloody cold. We’re talking 7 degrees. For us Southern California people, that was just stupid cold. Not only was it freezing, but there I was, in a tiny condo with my family and two dogs without a single Christmas decoration ~ not even a tree. It was hard to find the Christmas spirit that year, but I did my best.
I posted updates on our adventures: the kids sledding down an impromptu hill near the library, all of us snowmobiling, Alexzandra breaking speed barriers at the Olympic Training Center. On facebook, it looked like we were having the best vacation of all time. And we were. Except for the cold and lack of Christmas Spirit, but who wants to post cranky things like that for the world to read? Not me.
So I shouldn’t have been surprised when my sister told me our vacation seemed more romantic on facebook. I was. I took what she said personally as if she thought I was lying about how fabulous the trip was.
Then one day I was reading a blog or an article online that said all of social media is a performance. Whether we choose to post positive or negative comments, we are making an active decision to portray ourselves to the world in a certain way. We are, in effect, all actors upon the world’s stage.
I fought the logic for a long time. I wasn’t just acting, was I? My posts were a valid representation of my life, weren’t they?
Yes and yes.
If Shakespeare was correct when he wrote those lines for Jacques to utter in As You Like It, then we are all actors and it just depends on the performance we’re giving at any given time whether or not it’s a comedy, drama, or tragedy.
For me, I prefer to keep my facebook and blog posts light and full of positivity. On Twitter I’ll pop in to update my tweeps about my writing or if there’s something special going on that day. I like to think of my social media experience as a gathering of my good friends around one big table and we’re all just hanging out having tea and cake. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes whine to my friends about my frustrations with revising the beast or the cost of gas (don’t even get me started on this one!), but mostly I like to hear what they’ve been up to and share only the good parts of my day.
I mean, really do you want to know what I had for breakfast or that I’m running around the house in my jammies. Okay, I do tweet that a lot, sorry.
The point is, whether we rant on facebook about an ex-girlfriend or a terrible publisher (you wouldn’t believe how many of these comments fly past my feed), or we only post pictures of cats saying funny things, we’re all acting. We’re saying, ‘Look at me! This is who I am today!’. So, yeah, my facebook updates only showcased the highlights of that trip. No one needed to know how depressed I was that it was Christmas and while I was surrounded by snow, I couldn’t ski down those gorgeous mountains because of my stupid surgery. And they definitely didn’t need to know that each time we got in the car to drive somewhere I was terrified that I’d lose control and kill my entire family.
If leaving out all the scary/negative things makes my facebook updates sound romantic, I’ll take it. So I guess in a way, my sister was paying me a huge compliment. Thanks, Sis!
What do you think? Are we all just acting on social media? Do you think even people who present themselves as ‘raw’ or ‘real’ are simply hiding behind their rants and quirks? I’d love to hear what you think about this topic!