Did anyone watch The Social Dilemma? Andy and I watched it the other night, and it was really interesting…..interesting and horrifying all at the same time. I spend a lot of time thinking about the effects of social media because it seems to me that’s the biggest difference between my life when I was a teenager dancing at ABDC and the lives of our students now.
The Social Dilemma reminds us how hard it is nowadays to distinguish real from fake. Everything is fed to us by very smart algorithms designed to just keep us in front of the screen. And it works! As much as we like to think we can tell the difference, that we know what’s real, the truth is-can we?
Recently I started following a few bloggers on my own personal instagram. They bake perfect looking cupcakes in their chef’s kitchens, in cute outfits. They try on clothes in their organized-by-color closets…..and of course, always tell you helpful things like “I think this fits true to size…I mean, I’m wearing an extra extra small.” And listen, I know I sound bitter (maybe I am!), but I really don’t judge them-they’re doing a job just like anyone else! But as I scroll through their feeds, in a sweatshirt that Piper just spit up on for the tenth time and surrounded by dirty dishes and laundry, I remind myself of something I heard once-
“You can’t compare your behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel.”
I have no idea who said that! But it’s so true. That gorgeous photo of that blogger in a flower filled meadow wearing a cute outfit? It’s not a selfie. Soo…who took it? A professional photographer? Is it edited so that the lighting is perfect? How many photos did they take to get that one? Did the brand that’s carefully tagged send that perfectly curated outfit? That’s her highlight reel, and me in my puke covered sweatshirt is my behind the scenes. That dancer that you follow on instagram that posts “turn Tuesday” videos that make you dizzy just watching them? How many videos do you think she has on her phone of her falling out of her turns, or messing up the steps? You in class or rehearsal-that’s your behind the scenes. Their instagram video? That’s their highlight reel.
So, how do we stop playing the comparison game? If you know, please tell me! But in all seriousness, I ask myself when I find myself down the rabbit hole-does this account teach me anything, or enrich my life? Does it make me feel better about myself? If the answer is no, well then that’s the beauty of the unfollow. And if you’re not ready to unfollow, then just remember that for every perfect photo there’s a blooper, for every perfect turn there’s a tumble, and for every perfect outfit, there’s me in my sweatpants covered in nutella. That’s real life, and it can be pretty imperfectly perfect. If you need me, I’ll be here, eating the nutella out of the jar…..surrounded by laundry <3