We thought reality TV was going to change TV. It actually changed reality.
In 1992, MTV debuted “The Real World.” In many ways, this show heralded a change to an overdose of “reality” programming across every channel offered. Since then, “reality TV” has taken over, with even brands like National Geographic and the History Channel getting into the act.
But, of course, reality TV isn’t “reality.” The way reality TV is produced, the adding of dramatic music, editing tricks and manipulated constructs alter what is shown on the screen. Reality TV is no more “reality” than any other programming.
But, in February of 2004…Facebook launched, and since then its rapid growth has led it to be the “reality TV” on our computers, phones, and tablets.
But it’s gotta be said. Facebook is no more “reality” than reality TV. It’s edited cuts, selective posting, and downright ignorance of what “real life” is is lead us all to a “personal branded” view of reality. Most people’s feeds are what they WANT their lives to be, not what their lives are.
And that’s why it’s so addictive. “Keeping up with the Joneses” has gone online. We’re all trying to one up each other, having better experiences, better photos, a more curated life than our “friends” (quotes necessary.)
And, up until November 2016, that seemed relatively harmless.
But, it’s becoming increasing likely, and maybe even obvious, that this culture of “sharing” and “curating” has been weaponized — used to divide us, to conquer us, and even to alter our view of what is a fact, and what is not.
It shouldn’t surprise us that Facebook delivers fake news, it’s the home of our fake reality.
CNN isn’t fake news, Facebook is.
It’s time to take our reality back. I’m not calling for a boycott of Facebook, I’m calling for a more mindful use of it. I suggest these three changes:
Only post “news” that you’ve taken the task to verify, and make sure it comes from reputable news sources.
Only post things from your personal life that are true to how you live, what you believe, and what you mindfully choose to promote.
Reduce your Facebook use by at least half. Studies have shown that social media addiction leads to depression, hyper-competitiveness, and an altered sense of reality.
Take your life back.
And take reality with it.