In the age of social media, we are constantly flooded with snapshots of people’s lives. We are getting updates on people’s lives even if they are thousands of miles away, don’t talk to us personally and whether we like to know their news or not.
Social media is unfortunately one of my guilty pleasures. I am on facebook on a daily basis. It can be addictive so much so that some of my friends have willingly gave it up as their days are consumed by it.
Some years ago, I noticed that newsfeed was flooded with proud parents praising their kids’ academic successes. Hey, I do not blame them. If I had a kid, I’ll be trumpeting his/her successes too from the rooftops (just like what my Mama did for us). But it did keep me thinking… if all their kids are doing so well in school, are there average kids left? Another thing I noticed are all the posts of dinner out and beautiful vacations taken by my friends. I would be lying if I won’t say that I haven’t thought that I wish to go or eat there too. Everybody’s lives seem to be made of roses only… then last night whilst watching NCIS,one of the characters, Palmer said something that stuck with me, ‘in social media there are no B sides’.
No B side…I guess the millennials will not be able to relate to this one but for those of us who were already around when music comes along in long playing albums vinyls or cassette tapes, we get it. When albums were released decades ago, the singles, that are likely to be hits, are usually placed on A side and the rest are on the B side. So just like the way we thread on social media, we only want to present and remember our greatest hits. Even the biggest heartaches (e.g. death of a loved one) are part of the greatest hits of our lives the same way that ‘Someone like You’ by Adele was a hit. Heartaches that people can relate to also garner a lot of attention.
But what we miss out from those pictures are the tantrums or undercurrent tension between partners because all we see are the plastered smiles. All we see are the beautiful sceneries of a vacation and none of the pining by the photographer of wishing someone else was with her to share the experience. All we see are all the craziness of a night out and none of the hangover or the loneliness when all the noise and lights die out.
I guess it is part of our humanity to want to remember only the good parts. It helps us remain positive and make each day easier to go through. If we are asked to remember our childhood, our memories will most likely be basked in eternal sunshine.
But what we need to understand that the B side of our lives make us complete. It helps us appreciate the good things that happen to us. It teaches us important lessons that the A side won’t be able to impart. It helps us be grateful for the blessings received.
So, I guess it is important to remember when browsing through social media to stop comparing our lives to that of your friends who seem to be having the time of their lives all the time. You have to remember that you are only seeing their greatest hits and none of their B sides. We all have our own stories to tell and well… I guess we need to interact outside of social media to know people completely – B side and all.