The Real You VS the Online You

By Sandra Quinn

Social media and technology is an ever-present factor in modern day life, so much so that teenagers now spend up to nine hours a day on social platforms and 30% of all time spent online is now spent on social media (according to www.socialmediatoday.com).

For those working in the technology sector, technology in and of itself is constantly changing and evolving, but that evolution is amplified when it comes to social media.

When you look at the popular social media platforms, they started out by simply allowing people to upload profile pictures for their username, share pictures with friends and send messages. Now, users can livestream, videos play automatically on their feeds, advertising tied into their own interests pop up on their news feed and they can use things like 360 degree video and cross platform sharing among a plethora of other tools.

Here are some interesting and staggering figures from Social Media Today;

  • You may spend one year and ten months of your life watching YouTube.
  • You may spend one year and seven months of your life on Facebook.
  • You may spend one year and two months on Snapchat.
  • You may spend eight months on Instagram.

Across your whole lifetime, you may spend five years and four months on social media, but just one year and three months actually socialising.

This begs the question of whether people are living their lives online instead of in the real and physical world.

Just this week, a survey from hotel group Jury’s Inn revealed that 45% of Irish people lie about what they did at the weekend to impress others.

Put into context, it is not very often that you see people posting on their social media accounts about that night in with their pyjamas and a box set, the day they spend cleaning the house or how they are smothered with a head cold.

Instead, we see the glamour as people prepare for a night out, we see the manicured nails holding the perfectly staged picture of a glass of wine in front of the fire or we see a memory posted from a year ago.

It certainly raises questions about how real people are online and while social media allows you to only share what you want about your life, it does raise questions about the authenticity of what you are seeing with these supposed peeks into people’s personal lives.

Just for a bit of fun, Social Media Today also compiled a cool list of other things you could achieve with five years and one month of your life instead of spending it on social media, if you care to see how they measure up;

  • You could run more than 10,000 marathons.
  • You could walk the Great Wall of China three and a half times.
  • You could walk your dog 93,000 times.
  • You could fly to the moon and back 32 times.
  • You could watch the entire series of The Simpsons 215 times.
  • You could climb Mount Everest 32 times.