Social media and taking selfies has changed the world as we once knew it. Your life can be falling apart. But take a selfie (something I’m afraid I would never do) and pretend otherwise.

Paint a whole new picture. Make everyone jealous that they don’t have your life.

I didn’t realize this because I’m a bit out of the loop, but it seems that people go out to eat and take photos of their food with their phones and immediately put it on social media.

What do I care what you’re eating?

I’m getting all this from the book I finished last night. A great read, by the way.

Every chapter of the book ended with how they’d write their experience on social media. All with hashtags. Of course things didn’t happen so perfectly at all. But it’s the appearance that counts.

I’ve never gotten on the hashtag wagon. Or taken selfies. I’m sure there’s something I’m missing, but I don’t like trends that seem to import that you must join in.

I’m not a joiner. I tend to march to the beat of my very own drum.

When did everything have to have hashtags anyway? Selfies seem rather silly to me. Something children might do.

Book Synopsis:

…A new home can be a happy ending. Or a fresh start. Or a hiding place…

Kate Jones is running away. She has left her old life behind, changing both her own name and her daughter’s. No-one must ever connect Kate with the mistake that destroyed her life.

Starting afresh on Parkview Road – a brand new street full of newly built houses – Kate looks at the other women on the street with envy.

They seem to have it all: Gisela with her busy life, full house and successful children. Sally with her exciting spontaneous marriage, her glamorous holidays, her high-flying career.

The pictures that Kate’s new friends post online confirm their seemingly perfect existence, whilst Kate hides from the world at all costs…

A difference of wording:

Have you noticed, when you read a book set in Britain, that the language is just so colorful? And I don’t mean using curse words. I mean their words are just full of fun.

I relish their conversations:

We would say: Oh no! They would say: Bollocks! Or: Oh crikey!

We would say: You poor thing. They would say: You poor bugger.

We would say: Are you crazy? They would say: Are you daft?

Our language seems rather staid when compared with theirs.

We’d say: You poor thing, let me see if you’re all right.

They’d say: “You poor bugger, let me look at you properly.

We’d say: Well, they’re wrong and probably crazy as well.

They’d say: “Well, they’re wrong and quite daft if you ask me.”

We just don’t have the same lyrical way with words. “You cheeky sod!” doesn’t even sound as if you’re being taken down a notch.

What a fun lot!

Somehow I missed what’s happening:

I’ve been here doing my own thing. Meanwhile I guess the rest of the world has been taking photos of their feet while on vacation to post online to show how much fun they’re having.

Can’t a couple have an argument over dinner in a restaurant anymore and that’s the end of it?

I guess that’s not how it can appear. The truth can no longer set you free.

Get in the picture darling and we’ll show the world how devoted we are to one another. Kiss-kiss!

Just, why??? Why are things so contrived?

I guess I’ve had my head under a bucket because I wasn’t aware of all this going on.

When I get on Facebook I check out informative posts from a few blogging groups. I’m afraid that scrolling the “feed” is of no interest to me.

When did social media become the focus of everything, the whole purpose of doing anything or going anywhere?

I just don’t get the point. Can someone please enlighten me?

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62 Comments

  1. I downsized from a 3bd/3ba hm to a 570′ tiny farmhouse about 4 yrs ago. I try to live a simple life in every way. I have NEVER sent or received a text in my life, don’t own a cell phone, don’t watch TV, am not on Space book, don’t do InstaHAM nor do I dwell on Flitter. I did once own a GPS but it broke about 4 years ago and have not missed it. Drove all across the United States without one. Don’t own a dishwasher, microwave, and only bathe in a vintage tub. I love this simple life of mine and no feet selfies to show my toes are grounded and that I smile a LOT. No pics of my daily Organic delish meals either. I do keep a blog which started out as private and was mostly about my tiny house 8×18′ on wheels. Friends convinced me to go live with my blog to share life in tiny spaces. While I post on my blog I also know I could throw my computer out the window and live perfectly fine. I personally think that computers and cell phones and social media is pretty much a big distraction to what is really important in life. To each his own. Nice post.

  2. HI Brenda,
    I loved this post, both the comments on social media and the reminder of some of the great British slang we so enjoyed overhearing on our visits to the UK. My mother and grandparents were from England and I still remember them using a few of these expressions. Colorful language, for sure! And, in one of the (gorgeous, as always) photos on your post, I noticed the old washboard that you use in your office area. It caught me eye because I literally just posted on “12 Uses for a Vintage Washboard” yesterday. Small world! ~Cheryl

  3. Hi Brenda! I love reading your blog! Especially your decorating posts and the new frugal series you have started. Charlie and Ivy are so cute.

    I will hop on the social media thing… I do FB. (I’m 46) I have family spread out all over the world, so this is the easiest way to see what it going on in each other lives, show pics, etc. I do the food pics if I’m eating at a new place and the meal is something really neat and I want to share a restaurant with my friends. My page is private and only close family and friends on are it. I think social media is great, if it’s used properly! I’m in some decorating and gardening groups and those are quite beneficial, but I completely understand what you mean by all the selfies and “wait, let me take a pic for FB!” I do see this with the younger crowd more than anything. I would love to go back to sending letters and cards and I still do sometimes, but most people won’t even in return. They respond on FB with “everything is great, etc”. Sigh… Thankfully my kids both know how to have a life w/out social media. They might get online a couple of times a week.

  4. I do not take selfies! I dislike them and dislike social media. I post what is necessary for my blog or will sometimes post something for family, but I hate that everyone feels the need to “air their dirty laundry” at every breath! I don’t understand it at all! Love and hugs!

  5. I believe the British “sod off” says it all and leaves no doubt as to how you feel about a situation.

  6. Um, you don’t want to call someone a bugger or say something like “bugger it.” That is a very nasty British term for something that people in this country would NOT want to be called. I don’t know why people do such things and act so strangely with their cell phone photos and live streaming, trying to get others to believe how wonderful their lives are or whatever, seems rather sad, usually because their family and actual friends (not just Facebook “friends” and people on social media) probably know a lot of it is baloney, ha ha ha!

  7. I don’t understand “selfies” at all. I’m a retired teacher and I love to see what my former students post and be in touch with them now as adults. However, some keep posting photographs of themselves and it seems just a tad egotistical to me. They post a picture almost weekly of themselves and it’s as if they are just waiting for compliments. After a bit I just stop responding. Now I love seeing dog, cat and also my former students’ children. I love to see them being successful and being good parents. Gives us all hope for the future. I don’t really care to see anyone’s dinner, feet in the Caribbean or another photo of just them. So I agree with you Brenda and I don’t think we’re weird.

    1. There are those of us who don’t care to have our photo taken. And apparently there are those that want to put their face out there at every opportunity.

  8. I never jumped on the Facebook bandwagon. I simply am not interested. I don’t have any inclination to take photos of myself either. I have family members who are on social media, but I just don’t care about it.

    I love Britspeak even though I don’t always understand it. My favorite Brit word is “wanker”.

  9. Agreed! Shaking my head too. I “edit” my IG or FB to informative groups or encouraging posts. No drama, and really no IRL friends, pretty much. XOXO to Charlie and Ivy.

  10. Your post today made me laugh, Brenda. Which is good, laughing is good! I think you use pretty colorful–in the best sense–language yourself, ie. “had my head in a bucket”. I imagine what that might look like and it made me chuckle. And there have been other expressions that I remember from my own past and love to hear you repeat. Can’t think of one right now. But, anyway, the social media craze is just that, I think. I don’t think the majority of folks, unless they are teenagers or mentally a bit off, photograph their food much when out to eat. At least I don’t know anyone who does! But, seriously, people who would try to project a whole wonderful and enviable lifestyle in order to make folks think their lives are so much better than they really are have a few screws loose, don’t you think? Perhaps I am just naive about how wide-spread this phenomenon is or I just don’t run in the right groups. Actually, I don’t run in any groups! I think the whole tendency to document so much of your life might be more prevalent in the younger generations as the new technology hasn’t become old-hat yet. (There’s an old expression: “old hat”.) We “older folk” can see that eventually they will grow tired of all the documentation. Do any of you think that might be true?

    I have to say that I do think selfies are fine and fun if they aren’t done every time you turn around. Sometimes, they are a way to document an occasion with people you wouldn’t normally be able to photograph. Harmless, but of course some folks get kind of carried away with it. And, I must admit here, in all fairness, that I have been guilty of photographing my feet! Once when I was on the beach on vacation with a woman friend. And I wasn’t under age fifty even! Crikey! (which is a word I use quite often for a person who isn’t British!) Don’t know where I picked that up.

    With that I’ll close and wish you three a good evening and some great laughs on the morrow.

    1. There used to be a thing about photographing people without their consent and having to have permission. But I guess that’s all gone now. There is no privacy with so many cell phones out and about.

  11. It is a shame that people can’t go anywhere without their phones. Besides if a stranger does something they will record it and then post it on social media.

    1. I can’t imagine people using their phones to do things like take photos of ambulances and such helping people in car wrecks. But I read that happens. People who do that kind of thing have no sense or thought at all.

  12. Four years ago my daughter set up my Instagram account for Mothers’ Day. She insisted I’d love it, and I do. I follow, and am followed by, men and women from all over the world, people of broad interests and experience, many of whom have become friends. I follow several art and history museums as well as publications like the New York Times and the New Yorker. Instagram serves as a window to the worlds within this one world we all inhabit. It’s denizens teach me something new each day, and challenge me both artistically and intellectually. I would urge you to explore its depths before making up your mind. Margaret (@margaret_doran)

    1. I just don’t want to take on one more thing. I’m about overwhelmed with what I’ve got with my hands in the shape they’re in, etc. I’m glad you enjoy it. I enjoy Pinterest. Similar I suppose.

      1. I find Pinterest overwhelming and just focused on ‘stuff,’ but may be just too impatient to deal with it. Instagram allows for more depth, I think.

  13. Ah, social media…I actually like when people post food pictures, because I’m a foodie! Food interests me – especially if it’s homemade. Now those posts I want to see. Restaurant food isn’t as exciting to me, unless it’s something unusual or beautifully presented. I don’t mind vacation pics as long it’s not an overload. For example, my cousin and his wife travel all over the world. They go to countries I’ve never even heard of! I love seeing their photos on FB because they’re so unusual and I like to see and learn about new places.

    As far as selfies, I mostly hate them. I know young people are really into them and that’s ok-ish…young people are cute and can get away with them. But again, there’s that line that needs to be drawn. I have a couple of social media friends that are daughters of my friends…both are in their late 20’s and they post selfies non-stop. I figure either they’re extremely vain or the total opposite – don’t like themselves and are looking for approval. Anyone over the age of 40 posting selfies…ugh, no.

    British-speak…I love it! I love reading British books and magazines and enjoy the shows on TV. I have friends in England where I tell them to “just talk”. I not only love some of their words and expressions, but oh, those beautiful accents!

    1. The book was making the point that vacation photos are silly when all you post is your feet. I guess I should have made that more clear. Maybe a person doesn’t feel so okay about the rest of their body? Feet are so generic. I guess if I was more into food I could see taking a photo at a restaurant. Yes, I’d love for them to just talk to me too! I’d sit and just be enthralled by everything that fell out of their mouth. Just “gobsmacked!”

  14. I’m sure our parents cringed at some of the things we did and I know they didn’t understand the music, the dress, the slang, etc. of the ’60s. The younger folks communicate differently than we did and many are working in cubicles or from home and don’t have much outside interaction. Social media is their link to the outside world. The younger generation is highly spiritual but do not attend traditional church. Each generation is different. So although I do not take selfies or photos of my food, I don’t spend time fretting over how others are leading their lives.

      1. I was happy to see Ann’s comment because I didn’t want to sound like the Debby Downer here, and that’s silly of me. I absolutely don’t think we should judge Instagram without giving it a shot. People balked at blogging 15 years ago–showing off our homes, gardens, pets. Really? You and I do that, don’t we? Instagram is not that much different.

        If you were on Instagram, you could share a photo of the book you are reading, as in this blog post. You could give your thoughts on the book, and then you could ‘hashtag’ the name of the book, the author, the genre, yourself as a reader and book lover. It would not be self serving or self absorbing—you would be giving and inspiring people to find a new book, and maybe an Instagram person who shared the same love of reading who would like to follow your account, and your feed would grow. More friends, more connections more of a way to grow yourself.

        I’m not here to tell you how Instagram works. You simply might want to venture out. If it’s not for you, okay!. Social media, cell phones, Netflix, Instapots…it’s the world now. If it’s not your cup of tea, fine. But don’t bash it. And for the record…pics of your food, bare feet in the sand, or simply your face is simply sheer happiness we all need to spread in these times.

        Jane

    1. Well stated. It’s easy to forget how our generation was viewed all those years ago. I believe that there’s something positive in FB and other forms of social media and that it’s how you use it, how much time you spend on it, etc. Moderation is, perhaps, the answer. Remember those dire comments about the advent of TV? Trying to take a more light-hearted view. I dearly love seeing what my family members are up to which FB does. Also, special interest posts on poetry, nature photos – it’s often enlightening.
      Mary

  15. I agree with you on social media. I think it has made so many people have large egos. Everyone is so attached to their phones so they can post everything there doing. I’m glad people are happy but I don’t want to hear everything you do. I think social media is ruining society.

    1. The are NOT phones. They are the smallest, most portable computers you can carry with yourself. Be appreciative of the technology that went into this device. Yes, I use it as a phone, but I also keep my grocery list on it, scan prices in Target for a deal, call my children to check on them, be alert for anything urgent of my 90 year-old father’s health, the weather, the traffic, the GPS for how to get to an unfamiliar place, to laugh at pics of my grandchildren sent to me…need I say more.

      Please don’t think I am being offensive. I just wish people would form original ideas and opinions once they’ve actually seen both sides of the coin. We are so rigid…it’s sad and maybe that’s why this country is so divided. But that’s a conversation for another day.

      You may email me with a response.

  16. I’ve started reading and watching BBC for that very reason. Out tv shows are so “perfect” I just can’t watch anymore. The whole selfie hashtag generation reminds of the Christmas letters I HATE with a passion. I will not read them. I was taught that it was rude to brag and I told feels like that’s what people are doing. It probably isn’t, but for me it seems like the “state of the Joneses” and you can count me out.
    Clara

  17. Good afternoon Brenda,

    I too love the English way of speaking and I love their books just as much. My brother lived in England for 11 years and I have spent a lot of time there, I never tire of the interesting people, places, food and language.

    As for social media. The selfie thing is beyond me, although I have taken 1-2 with family to share with other family. As for the hastangs, its so you can find social media posts about the same topic which is helpful on Instagram.

    The world of social media is funny because more often than not it is an illusion and oddly enough on Instagram you often see the same “perfect rooms” on a persons feed all of the time.

    I hope that you, Charlie and Ivy are having a great day!
    Have a great day!

    1. I don’t dabble with Instagram. I’ve heard that Instagram is a place of illusion. I can see taking photos for family. The book is about how social media and the quest for perfection is taken to the extreme.

    2. The English language spoken by an British Administrative Assistant and my coworker on a project for our bosses (hers in London & mine In New York City) got me in trouble once, because after talking with her for over an hour I became exasperated trying to decipher what she meant. I said to her, “I wish you would speak English so I can understand you” I apologized and felt really ashamed as soon as it came out of my mouth – but she graciously only laughed because she want to say the same thing to me.

  18. Well, I do have a Facebook account and this what I enjoy about it. Seeing photos of my grandkids playing in the snow, riding a bike, etc. I graduated from high school fifty years ago and moved away from my home town, my family died and I haven’t gone back. It’s been fun this past year seeing pictures and finding out what old friends have been doing as the fifty year reunion is being planned.
    So there you go, not something I can’t live without, but interesting from time to time. As for myself, I post on Facebook maybe twice a year.

    1. Well I can see that being enjoyable. Catching up with people from long ago. I do look for posts about grandchildren. It just seems that some take it to the extreme. Isn’t that always the case for everything though?

    2. Jessica my 50th High School Reunion is also this year. And hubby and I are going. We moved away from our state 40 years ago. Class of 1969..

  19. Brenda, I’m afraid I can’t enlighten you as I feel the same! I don’t do social media. I got rid of my Facebook years ago. I don’t understand the obsession with selfies and hashtags and whatnot either. I really feel sorry for the kids nowadays. Back when I was young if you were having a problem with someone at school, at least when you were at home you were safe. Now the social media has infiltrated everything. No one gets away from it. I have to wonder what it’s going to be like when my 3 year old grandson is an adult. Sigh. Love your blog.

    1. So true. We used to have problems at school but then go home to a safe haven. Not so anymore. I find that tragic. I’d get rid of Facebook if I didn’t get such good information from a few blogging groups. Since that’s my income, I’m always looking for tips and find these groups useful.

  20. I agree with you regarding social media. I despise having my picture taken so I can’t, for the life of me, even imagine wanting to take a selfie. It’s just a really bizarre concept to me. Hope you have a really nice day.

  21. My facebook page is 95% doggies and cat videos. I watch pbs and love their mannerisms and speaking. I’ve been watching some Australian tv and boy, does that take concentration to translate some of their phrases.

    The selfies with the “duck” lips don’t impress me much….more like YUK!

    1. I have been watching some international shows too (in English) and have to use the closed captioning to follow…sometimes that helps a little!

  22. Brenda I am sorry I cannot enlighten you as I don’t “participate” in social media and don’t care to. It is beyond my understanding. I guess I am old fashioned and make no apologies for being so!

    1. I was just so surprised at all the pretense. I imagine if you were big with social media that everything you did you’d have to first think: Oh let me get a photo for FB first! Seems it would cheapen the whole experience.

  23. Brenda, I am 100% with you on the hashtag subject. I have no idea “WHY” this is a thing…I think it is stupid. As for Facebook, I am on it, but mostly to post funny stuff I see or read, pictures of cute animals, recipes, and to see maybe what the kids are up to. Do I post pictures, or private life stuff, or things I believe would not be of interest to anyone anyway, NEVER, never. In fact if I visit or post once a week, that is a lot. It really is a different world, isn’t it, from when I was growing up…I miss the old days sometimes, when things were “softer”

    1. From the book, it focused on how social media is everything. That if you go out to eat, you must take photos of your meal before you eat it. If you’re on vacation, certainly take photos of your toes to post it, etc. It proved to me how ludicrous all this has become.

  24. Thank you, Brenda, for your compliments on our use of English, here in England (whoops! I mean Britain). I have a few American friends, and it always surprises me that many of them use colourful phrases that I would have thought were very English. ‘Donkey’s years’, meaning a long time, is a case in point. Perhaps we’re not so divided in a common language as we thought.
    Have fun today.

  25. Brenda your post made me smile this morning. I do love how the English phrase things too. What they are saying really captures your attention. Did you ever notice that when the English speak to each other they really listen to what the other is saying. If they are saying someone is daft in their comment you can tell the other is taking that in and thinking about what was just said. Not like when we say to someone that is just crazy or they are just crazy we move on quickly to the next thought. Just my observation. I watch a lot of PBS programs and love to take in the communication of the English. There is just a stay of their manner of speaking that draws the listener in.
    As we get older and hopefully wiser in life I think we all know that things on the surface and how things might be presented are not always the reality. Happy Sunday.

  26. Brenda… I love how they talk too! Not the cursing as I feel there’s better ways of expressing myself… but I know exactly what you’re talking about about as far as social media… I don’t do Facebook… I feel like social media has caused so many problems for so many people… it’s really sad actually… people believe everything they see and read on social media and most of the time it’s very very different… as always really enjoy your blog and your insights.. Claudette

    1. The advent of social media has been the downfall of so many young people. It’s very sad. I’m glad my children were raised before the internet.

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