Here are two interrelated stories worth sharing.
On a recent lazy Saturday morning, my daughter and I lolled on a blanket in our front yard, snacking on apricots, listening to a download of E. B. White reading “The Trumpet of the Swan.” Her legs sprawled across mine; the grass tickled our ankles. It was the quintessential summer moment, and a year ago, I would have been fully present for it. But instead, a part of my consciousness had split off and was observing the scene from the outside: this was, I realized excitedly, the perfect opportunity for a tweet.
I feel like the outside observer syndrome is something I've fought for a long time, long before Twitter, but instead of Twitter I think, "This would be a great scene in a novel." So that separation I'm pretty familiar with.
"I used to be on Facebook a lot,” she said, “but found that it left me feeling bad about my life.” It’s a sentiment that I’ve heard from lots of people over the last few months: you see others leading amazing lives, and wonder why your life seems so not-so-amazing in comparison.
My friend was quick to point out that she knows rationally that this makes no sense. Of course those people have problems too. Of course they post pictures of vacations (but only the flattering ones) and not of boring days at work.
And this makes sense, because of the first article–everyone is self-editing their image to look cool.