December 28, 2014

Social Media Realness and the Photo that Almost Wasn’t

holidayfamily
The Photo that Almost Wasn’t

Last night was rough. Alexis slept until 2 am, didn’t fall back asleep until 3:30 and was up again at 5:30. I got her back to bed the second time relatively quickly, but alas, once I’m up I’m up, regardless of how little sleep I’ve had. As I lay in bed trying unsuccessfully to go back to sleep I kept thinking about how I still didn’t have a family photo and my newborn was quickly approaching her one month mark.

My one goal for today was a family photo.

It was not looking promising that I would achieve my goal when mid morning rolled around. Domingo and I have been averaging only a handful of hours of sleep the past few days, with last night being one of the worst. Nicki, too, was acting like she hadn’t slept in days. Even Alexis seemed extra grumpy. As the morning progressed things went downhill. Nicki started acting out and needed a time out right when Alexis was hysterical for her third feeding in about 90 minutes while Domingo’s discovered his sweater had a hole in it, and I still wasn’t dressed. At least three of us cried at varies points this morning. I’ll leave which three as an exercise to the reader.

Ten minutes later I snapped the above picture, which I think is a testament to how much Nicki loves photo time more than anything else.

It got me thinking about realness. A common complaint of social media and the web in general is that it’s not “real.” Take the photo above as an example. It shows a happy, smiling family. I can (and did!) post it on social media without any reference to the chaos that preceded it. Based on just this picture, one would never know of my mini melt down. Personally, I think the more apt description of social media is not “complete”. The photo is straight out of the camera, unedited. It shows just one moment, albeit the best moment, from this morning.

When we complain that social media is curated, we hold it to a higher standard than we hold our in person interactions. Even in in-person conversations we rarely share the complete picture of our lives. If I bump into someone on the street who asks how Nicole is adjusting to being a big sister I’m far more likely to share the cute story of her insisting “‘baby necklace‘ comes too” when asked if she wanted to play outside than tell the story of her testing boundaries.

Sure, part of the reason I only share the highlights is to present myself and my family in a good light, but the bigger reason is that I share the stories I want to remember. Social media is the steel trap for my memories that my sieve mind would otherwise forget. It’s my highlight reel. Incomplete, yes, but real, and the part of my life I want to remember the most. I will go back over my old photos and post posts when I’m feeling low in need of a smile. It’s a pick me up many of us share.

Some years from now I may have forgotten the grief leading up to this photo, or that it was taken on December 28th, three days after Christmas. Or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll remember that even the roughest of starts can have happy endings. Either way, I’ll be happy I have it.

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Posted in Internet & Technology, Life


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