Aug 052014 7 Responses

Don’t Be A Social Media Hypocrite

I love positive social media posts—heart warming stories, pictures of kids as they grow, announcements of milestones, thoughtful reflections on life. One of the great strengths of social media is keeping in contact with old friends, meeting new people, and expanding the number of people with whom we share life.

Social media is good.

But, social media can be bad. (See: Five Types of Social Media Jerks)

Few things are more irritating than the negative political rant, the passive aggressive cry for help, or the pitiful post about how bad someone or some group has treated another. Life is hard enough, we do not need to make it harder by being negative in a public forum.

While I love a good positive post and get frustrated by many negative posts, there is one aspect of social media which should be avoided—we should never be social media hypocrites.

A hypocrite is someone who puts on a mask. They play a role in order to get a crowd to believe something which is not true. We all know hypocrites:

behind the scenes they are ugly and uncaring, but in the public forum they put on a mask of kindness and compassion

when no one is watching they are scheming and cursing, but when on a public stage they speak as though they know God

at home they are rude and indignant, but at work there is no one nicer.

Everyone knows a hypocrite. To some extent, everyone is a hypocrite. All of us put on some mask at some point, pretending to be something we are not.

However, nowhere is this more prevalent today than on social media. (See: Three Steps to Liking Every Person You Meet)

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and a host of other social media sites have become a medium by which many people are pretending to be something they are not. And it must stop.

If your social media persona does not match your real life, you are a social media hypocrite.

There is a great danger in social media hypocrisy. If we put on a face for the public that does not have a close resemblance to our actual lives, we make other people believe we have something we do not have. The danger in that process is that if other people are doing the same thing, we might be tempted to think our lives are second rate compared to their lives. And so the cycle begins: My social media life looks great. Another person sees my life and feels as though their life doesn’t match up. So they portray their lives as being better than it is. I see their portrayal of a great life and compare it to my life. Their life seems better than mine so I put on a greater show.

The next thing we know, we are all pretending to be something we aren’t all while being depressed because the reality of our lives does not match the level of greatness of the pretend life someone else (and we ourselves) are putting on social media. (See: Learn to Communicate Like Facebook)

This is one way we all live out the phrase every counselor uses: we compare our insides to everyone else’s outsides. We compare the reality of our life or marriage to the pretend show of someone else’s life or marriage. It’s a game we can never win.

So let us commit to not be social media hypocrites. We will not proclaim or portray a life which is not accurate.

This does not mean that I have to balance every positive post with a negative one. The last thing the world needs is more negative posts. However, it does mean I will not:

  • post a picture making it look like I’m having a good time in a place where I’m really having a bad time
  • publicly proclaim the greatness of my spouse when our marriage is in trouble
  • refrain from occasionally showing or writing of the difficulties of life
  • intentionally portray something in public which is not true in private
  • post anything in an attempt to make others jealous or envious

We are never responsible for what other people think about us, but we are completely responsible for what we portray to the world. If we are pretending to live a happier, more successful, and more enviable life online than the life we are actually living, we are liars. We are being hypocritical and hypocrisy is not helpful for us or others. (See: The Anatomy of a Rumor–Living Truthfully in a Facebook World)

Live your life. Post the good parts on social media. But make sure what others see is somewhat similar to what you are actually living.

For more, see:

10 Communication Posts Your Co-workers Should Read


7 Responses to Don’t Be A Social Media Hypocrite
  1. […] It seems as though Facebook is a morality free zone in which good people feel liberated to post or s...
  2. […] Yet this crisis is nothing new. Many Americans have long identified as something they are not. They ...

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