They say you should never judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. They also say you can’t believe everything you read. And, of course, they say the grass is always greener on the other side. But despite all the advice “they” hand out, people persist in believing that if it’s on Facebook, it must be true.
And I’m not talking about Jane Bloggs needing someone to fertilise her chickens on Farmville.
You know that Facebook Friend you’ve got? That one who only ever posts status updates about how drunk she is? If she’s not reporting that she’s had 7 jagerbombs, she’s asking people to join her for a Sunday Sesh at the Local or being tagged in raunchy drunk-photos. How easy it is to sit back in judgement and say, “Huh. Where’s her boyfriend in all of this? She’s so shallow and immature.”
You know that other Facebook Friend? The one who likes everything? You go to your news feed and see a cheery ‘Dane Danish likes Ice Cream, Sleeping with the Air Conditioner On, and 97 other pages.’ How easy it is to sit back in judgement and say, “Huh. Clearly he’s got plenty of time to waste. No wonder he didn’t get that promotion.”
Then there’s the Facebook Friend who’s always asking for someone to go on holidays with them. “I don’t know why I’m the one who always has to pay for coffee. Clearly he’s got plenty of his own money.”
In this Information Age, we have a tendency to believe things on the internet that we’d doubt if we came across them elsewhere. Especially on Facebook. But let me ask you this: When was the last time your own status updated accurately represented your life?
When was the last time you saw an update like:
- My partner just left me, and I can’t bear to sit at home by myself. For the love of all that’s holy, please take me somewhere I can have some fun.
- I’ve just been diagnosed with severe depression, and have anxiety attacks every time I leave the house. My doctor suggested it would be helpful if I concentrated on remembering the things I like.
- I’m so broke, I’m going to have to pawn my wedding ring to buy food for my baby. But if I can just pretend that I can afford to go on holidays, maybe I’ll feel like less of a loser.
I’m not saying that people lie in their status updates. (Although I’m sure a lot of people do.) But I am saying that, although an update may be a truth, it’s rarely the whole truth.
Before you decide to judge someone based on their status updates, remember that you’re not the one living their life (or walking in their shoes), you can’t always believe what you read, and the grass is not always greener.
Sometimes “they” are right.