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Social media and perception - when the picture doesn't tell the whole story

Social media and perception - when the picture doesn't tell the whole story

By Clare Sultmann

I want to talk about perception and I want to talk about it specifically in relation to social media.

Part of the very reason I founded dearmolly.com was because I wanted a platform to support, empower and connect women.

If we look at Facebook and Instagram we see the greatest version of someone else’s life.  And sometimes that isn’t empowering, it isn’t confidence building and it doesn’t make us feel too good about our own self and our own often seemingly boring lives.

I want to share a story with you. A couple of weeks ago I was on Hamilton Island. It was school holidays and we had been looking forward to a family vacation for some time. Perhaps the only person who wasn’t that excited was my husband - a seasoned campaigner, he knew that a ‘family’ holiday wasn’t necessarily much of a holiday with 3 kids under the age of 8. But I was confident. Hamilton Island is a great place for the family. Everyone raves about it.  We are going to have a great time. Or so I thought…..

Fast-forward a few days in and all three of my kids are sick with gastro. My husband has to fly to Sydney for an ‘urgent’ meeting (how convenient) in the middle of it all and one of our best friends' little children throws up all over our villa second night. The place smells of vomit, my kids are all vomiting (adding further to the smell) and I spend most of the time at the local overpriced supermarket buying Dettol and antiseptic wipes. The kids are (when not being sick), fighting constantly and I am sitting there wondering what the hell happened.

The only and I mean ‘only’ time we all look somewhat respectable I take a photo. It’s a cracker. All three kids looking in the same direction, no site of any vomit and a warm embrace.  What more could I ask for so I snapped away. I posted it on my Facebook page and it was met with raves reviews and many positive comments.

A friend texted me separately and said: ‘Wow Hamilton Island look amazing. I bet you are having the best time”. If only she knew...

But you see, she had seen the picture on social media. The ‘perfect’ family having the ‘perfect family holiday’.  It was the ‘best’ portrayal of what was going on, not the real one.

Like so many things in life, social media is so much about ‘perception’. About what we want people to think, and about the image we want to portray. So next time an image or a picture pops up and it makes you feel a little bit down about your own life and what you are currently doing, spare a thought for 'vomitgate'……

 

Clare Sultmann

Clare Sultmann is a wife, mother of 3 and the founder of Dear Molly. As a survivor of a catastrophic accident, former barrister at law, published author, and nationally accredited mediator Clare has returned to work in a different capacity. Relocating to Noosa shortly after the birth of her first child, Clare found it difficult to make meaningful and real connections with other like-minded women away from her own network of friends. With this in mind, Clare’s idea was born. Dear Molly aims to provide connections for like-minded women in a real, meaningful and positive manner. It a platform to share, communicate and inspire other women about their ‘real’ life.

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