If you listen to people who still have lukewarm, or even adverse, responses to social media, a common complaint you’ll hear is that it’s not like real life.
I get it. There is, indeed, a load of fakery and contrivance in the world of followers and likes. Analogies to the worst aspects of high school social life are often apt, and to say that marketing doesn’t rule the current social media landscape is to be naively or selectively blind. We always need to respect a skeptical or critical view of all of these spaces because there will definitely be countless reasons for such stances. But there’s one thing I no longer understand.
Why do we keep expecting social media to be a window into real life?
I think one word we often forget in “social media” is the word media. We would never complain about television, newspapers, or movies for bending the parameters of reality. Why do apply this standard to the social kind?
Social media is not real life. It’s something else. Who knows – perhaps that is its strength?