Most of us don’t post day to day boring things on social media. We may post something new and exciting we’d like to share, a meme that expresses our opinions, or in some cases, we may even post if we’re having an unusually bad day.
What I’m trying to say is that social media is far more likely to reflect the highs and lows of life than it is to reflect the normal, everyday stuff. The drama of life is much more interesting. I’ve even noticed how some people like to post pictures and videos of their friends doing silly or ridiculous things. For some reason, they love to make these people they call friends look bad.
I think a measure of how many “friends” are your real friends is how much truly honest stuff you post about yourself and your life on social media. It seems that the more acquaintances and casual friends you have, the more likely posts will be limited to the good stuff only.
Once people find themselves living in a tropical paradise, the showing off gets stepped up a notch. The drama gets far more dramatic. Social media for islanders is on steroids.
I’m the first to want to share a particularly beautiful sunset-on-the-sea photo, or a shot of the sparkling Caribbean at midday. I’ll also post photos and videos of stormy seas. I honestly just want to share my life with my friends.
If people take that as showing off or bragging, I’m sorry. This is where I live.
I look at your photos of large family gatherings on weekends and I am envious. My family is spread far and wide. I know you’re not bragging – or maybe you are. You have a big family all living nearby, and you all get along and get together often. I’m envious.
I know people who live here that never post photos of their island life, but a trip to Europe and they’re flooding my news feed with photos of the sights they see. I’m envious of that, but I promise myself I’ll take a European vacation soon. If I see that an island friend has posted from the beach or from a boat, I think, “Oh, Anne went to the beach today.” or “Oh, they’re on a boat. I wonder if that’s a work party or if they have visitors.”
Here’s a little island secret: If someone who lives and works here posts a photo of the cocktails they’re having at sunset at a beach bar, that doesn’t mean their life is a holiday. It may mean that on that day, they needed a break from the normal and went to have a cocktail at sunset at a beach bar. If someone is living and working on this island, chances are they are a slave to a work permit and sometimes work a 60 to 70 hour week. If they show remarkable restraint, they’ll manage to leave the beach bar before getting too drunk to drive home – maybe they’ll manage to avoid going to the beach bar, or any bar, every single day after work. Contrary to what their photos tell you, people don’t sit around on the beach or poolside, sipping rum cocktails all day long. My husband and I are retired and even we don’t do that. We try to occasionally have a cocktail on the beach or poolside, maybe more often if we have company. When we do that, we take pictures.
I admit, there is an element of the “vacation lifestyle” going on here. It is very easy to find someone to persuade to have drinks, or to be persuaded to go for drinks. People are generally here for a good time, not a long time. Unfortunately, that lifestyle comes with its own problems. It’s an expensive place to live and most people need a job to live here. That means getting up for work in the morning, hangover or no hangover. It means feeling fresh so you don’t mess up at work. It means protecting your reputation with the people who can decide whether or not to renew your work permit, or to hire you for that next job.
So go ahead and feel envious of our eternal summer, our gorgeous views, sunsets, and our island lifestyle. Just don’t fool yourself that people here are any happier than you are. There’s always more to the social media postings than you think.