In this Issue:

  • Reflections about students’ social media (and keeping their peers’ posts in perspective)

I saw this post on my own social media feed earlier this week, and it really struck me (click the image to enlarge).

Image of a half eaten apple in the mirror, but you only see the unbitten half. Caption: "social media never shows the whole picture. Perfection is an illusion"

The quote reads “Social media never shows the whole picture. Perfection is an illusion.

That is such a powerful concept, one worth chewing on a little (pardon the pun).

Our students live in a hypercompetitive social media world. They are scrolling their phones and seeing a barrage of other people’s carefully-curated photos of their seemingly-perfect lives. Your Deacs may be looking at their friends’ feeds and thinking things like:

Whose pictures look the best?

Who is having the most fun?

Who has the most friends?

Who has the best romantic relationship?

Who went on the coolest vacation?

Whose family has the most money?

Which of my friends is having a better college experience than I am?

Whose posts get more likes than mine?

Whose *life* is better than mine?

Those kinds of thoughts can have a profoundly negative impact on a person’s sense of happiness and wellbeing, particularly if it makes you think everyone else has a perfect life (and you don’t). As longtime readers of the Daily Deac know, one of my favorite quotes is “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When you play the compare-and-contrast game, particularly with social media, you rarely feel good.

So it may be worth reminding your student that what they see in Instagram or Snapchat or Twitter or whatever the app du jour is, is not necessarily real. Every person has challenges, pressure points, anxieties, worries, problems, no matter how “perfect” their social media seems. People post pictures where they look their best, are having the most fun, and that give off the happiest vibes. It’s the rare person – though there are some out there – that also show the days when they have been crying, having a terrible time, etc.

Just remember that the perfect looking apple on social media might be half eaten on the back side. You just can’t see it in the photo 🙂

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