On Wednesday, as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed at work, one headline in particular grabbed my attention.
It was about an “Instagram model” who was bitten by a shark while posing for a picture.
According to online reports, the 19-year-old woman from California had decided to swim with sharks while vacationing in the Bahamas and was encouraged by someone to lie back and float in the water while posing for pictures, when a shark grabbed her arm and pulled her underwater.
The girl told NBC News that she was lucky to escape with her arm and her life.
It begs the question. What picture is so important to share with followers or friends on social media that someone would put themselves in harm’s way in the process?
What picture or post is so important to share on social media at all?
It seems like we’ve all become so consumed with social media that it becomes necessary to share every accomplishment or life event or post about every social event or vacation (or even what food we happen to be eating) because if someone doesn’t see it, then it must not have happened.
It’s like that age-old philosophical question. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Here’s my answer: yes, it does make a sound, just as all those things that people experience throughout the day and don’t post online do happen, even though others can’t see that it did.
Social media is all about perception as well. You can make your life seem however you want it online.
I was having breakfast with a couple of people over the weekend and one of the girls said something to that effect. She was talking about something she saw online from someone she knew, and mentioned how she interpreted it, before stopping herself and saying more sheepishly, something like, but I guess you just show whatever you want people to see on social media.
It’s true. Sometimes it seems like things have become more fabricated.
It’s nice to just enjoy a hike with friends instead of having to stop at various viewpoints to pose for the best pictures, or go on vacation without documenting the entire thing.
It seems like it’s more fulfilling to actually enjoy the experience, rather than being consumed with sharing it with other people anyway.
Except for unsupervised swimming with sharks. Pictures or no pictures — that should probably be avoided regardless.