Keeping it real on Facebook: How honest are we?

A couple of (very different) friends have recently said to me that Facebook doesn’t show real life, that it’s people sugar-coating their lives, only sharing the best bits. And it made me think….is that true? And is that true for me?

Whilst I confess that I don’t necessarily share all the lows of my life on Facebook, I would say that I’m quite candid and honest on social media in general, whilst trying to stay positive, as that’s just who I am.

Smashed window

My most recent photo on Facebook

This photo is of L’s handiwork from Sunday. I was putting the washing away upstairs while C had a nap, leaving L in the back garden. At the age of 7 she’s usually pretty good when left to her own devices. But she’d obviously got bored, and had started playing around with a sling shot that Hubs decided to get her, when we were on a child-free holiday a couple of years ago. Cue one stone through the window and a hefty glazier bill to pay.

Test one – not really sugar-coated, just an honest account of what happened.

So what else is on my Facebook profile? Numerous pictures of the girls – all looking happy, smiling, gorgeous and cuddly….hmmm, not exactly sugar-coating it, but certainly not showing a rounded picture. But then would anyone want to look at a photo of a child having a melt-down? Really?

I did a bit of a test recently on Facebook. Hubs and I got dolled up to go to a friend’s wedding and I posted this photo of us:

Couple dressed up for a wedding #theprettydresscompany

With Hubs, all ready to go to the wedding.

The above photo got 28 likes and 5 lovely comments. In the spirit of keeping it real I posted my morning after photo on Facebook too:

Morning after face

The next day face

This was me about 14 hours after the previous photo. No make-up, bed hair and in my Sport Relief onesie. That post got 11 likes and 3 comments (all from the same person, and fellow Sport Relief onesie-wearer, Grenglish – thank you Sarah!).

So should we keep it more real on Facebook? Should we share the rough with the smooth? Or is the whole point of social media to only show your best bits?

I tend to find I’m more honest on Twitter as it’s a different kind of platform. You can post on there 100s of times a day without anyone finding it weird, so you can mix the good stuff and the bad stuff more easily. I communicate with very different people on Twitter too. Most of my friends on Facebook are friends or family or people I have met in real life. Most of my friends on Twitter are people who were once strangers but who have become my online (and often offline) friends.

In case you were wondering what you’ve been missing in my honest, actual life, that I might have been hiding from Facebook and social media – the good, the bad, and the ugly – this is it over the last few days:

Yesterday morning:
I told L she was bad-tempered over breakfast as she tried to tell me a story while I interrupted her to see if she wanted toast or cereal, provoking a strop (hers not mine) as she then forgot what she was telling me. Hubs and I bickered over whether L should get her own breakfast – he thinks she shouldn’t as there’s not enough time in the morning and a lot of the things she needs are in high cupboards, I think she needs to do more things for herself.

Monday night:
I switched all internet off at 8.45pm (including on my phone – shock horror!) while Hubs and I snuggled up to watch a hilarious old(ish) film with Will Smith called Hitch (which I highly recommend). This seemed to set off the laughter/childish button in both of us as we messed around all evening, and as I lay down to go to sleep Hubs was still blowing on my face, and sticking his finger up my nose (à la our 18 month old) to make me laugh.

I had a me day and stayed in bed until gone 11am, finishing “Sweet dreams, little one” by Massimo Gramellini. I then got up, ate the roast lunch that Hubs had prepared whilst dealing with the girls, and proceeded to ignore everyone for the rest of the day (apart from slight interlude with washing and sling shots – see above) as I read “It’s not raining, Daddy, it’s happy” by Benjamin Brooks-Dutton from start to finish.

Having taken the girls to the cinema to watch the Lego Movie (L loved it, C managed 30 minutes before I had to take her out), followed by a late post-cinema lunch in Burger King en famille, Hubs carried on his me day while I spent 2 hours trying to get L to tidy her things up from the garden and pretty much every room of the house.

And so on and so forth.

So what do you think? Is it time for this kind of mundane honesty on Facebook? Or shall I just keep posting photos of the girls looking gorgeous (in my biased opinion)?

Sisters sharing an apple

My most recent photo of the girls on Facebook, taken on Saturday.

I’d love to hear what you think. Would you rather see honesty? Does the thought of posting real photos and sharing your real life on social media terrify you? What do you do? Honesty or sugar-coated reality?


18 Responses

  1. Nikki Thomas says:

    That’s really interesting isn’t it? I try not to moan or be too negative on Social Media generally as I prefer not to be but I think that you are right about Twitter; people are far more honest on there but I think it is because it is more anonymous than Facebook whereas there as you say, it tends to be more friends and family.
    Nikki Thomas recently posted…I don’t mean to be rude and other platitudesMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I love the honesty of Twitter versus the fakeness of Facebook, just as well they both exist, eh?

  2. Tarana says:

    It’s an open secret of sorts, I guess. We do portray our best selves online. So, bravo to you for being real!
    Tarana recently posted…Six Ways in Which I Became a Better ParentMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Well I try and keep it real – there’s only so much of the real me that I want to share 😉 But I do try not to sugar-coat.

  3. I do think people are more honest on Twitter. Is it because it’s more acceptable to update several times a day and moves so quickly?
    Mummy Glitzer recently posted…Another Afternoon at Blaise CastleMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I’m not really sure why people are more honest there. Maybe because it’s mostly friends on Facebook but strangers (who then often become friends) on Twitter?

  4. Judith says:

    We definitely pick and choose and show only the good bits on social media, but I think that is perfectly fine and normal. Facebook is like standing in a room with every friend you’ve ever made, and although I’d happily stand on a table and shout: “my kids are lovely! My son can add up!”, I wouldn’t want to stand and shout: “My husband and I have just had an argument!” or “I’ve just had a miscarriage!” I’d even feel a bit silly shouting: “I just swept under the dining table!” In face to face conversation with one or a few people you can gauge how they are feeling from their faces, and you have a feel for what the mood of the conversation is, how they will react to what you are planning to say. If you post something boring/controversial/sensitive/negative on Facebook, it is potentially going to hit 300+ people at an unknown time of the day when they are in an unknown mood and provoke unknown feelings and reactions that you have no control over.

    So I think it is actually an accepted fact that social media (particularly facebook as it is usually your real life friends and family as you say) that you use it as a quick and easy way to share they nice stuff and the minor irritations so everyone can keep up with your life, but that you keep the more mundane or sensitive stuff for one to one interactions.
    Judith recently posted…Pop!My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I definitely agree about not sharing the sensitive stuff, there’s nothing worse than those airing their dirty laundry in public on social media, but I also know of people who are going through bad times and go onto Facebook to see everyone having this perfect life, which is really hard for them as they’re convinced that the perfect life portrayed is actually true. Which it is usually, but what isn’t shared is that the toddler just did a poo on the rug and the 5 year old has just had a master meltdown 😉

  5. Notmyyearoff says:

    Interesting post. I do find Twitter a lot more honest but that’s because I was completely anonymous on it at first and loved to use it as a place to vent. I now have some real life people following me and I’ve curbed it a bit. Makes me a bit disappointment really but now I vent in private fbook groups 🙂 my main Facebook profile is just usually filled with photos and I never really put anything negative on there so I think it’s definitely a bit sugar coated.
    Notmyyearoff recently posted…Silent Sunday / Project 52 – Week 22My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I do find Twitter more honest as often we’re with “strangers” there, so funnily enough can be more ourselves than on Facebook, where people expect us to be a certain way as they know us well/have known us for a long time.

  6. Love this post – and your account of your ‘warts and all’ weekend. I never sugar-coat my life on social media, in fact I do the opposite, if I’m going to use any sort of artistic licence it is to make me look more inept and our little disasters look funnier. I’m aware I’m in the minority with this. I hate reading all the ‘I love my husband’ crap that people post on Facebook. I love mine, but I don’t feel the need to tell anyone, but if my kids had broken a window I would definitely be sharing that! It is certainly easier to be honest on Twitter though and to share the more mundane things. Nobody wants you updating your FB 30 times a day!
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…Trouble sleepingMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Could you imagine updating your Facebook 30 times a day?!? When I got to 10,000 tweets, Hubs was all “wwwhhhaattttt?!?” and I tried to explain to him that it’s not really that many for Twitter. I love that you’re so honest on social media 🙂 x

  7. Mrs ATWWAH says:

    I hate reading lots of negative tweets/FB posts from people. I don’t go on social media to hear about how crap somebody’s day has been or about their kids tantrums. Obviously on Twitter I can stop following people pretty easily, it’s harder on FB but I have started to block friend’s feeds who moan constantly.

    Obviously the other side of that is people who add their ‘spin’ to every FB post etc but I’d rather read happy, look how amazing my life is posts from friends than ‘woe is me’ ones.

    Our close friends and family can hear about our crap days, not everyone you’re associated with on social media.
    Mrs ATWWAH recently posted…Holiday Reading – May 2014 – Tracy Bloom Author InterviewMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Oh I totally agree, I don’t want to read from moaning minnies, but it would be nice to see people looking less than perfect, and maybe sharing the fact their kids aren’t always perfect once in a while….

  8. Kara says:

    I don’t think I sugar coat my life on social media but I certainly don’t over-share, especially on Facebook!
    I have teens and they can be quite sensitive creatures too, so I have to be very careful.
    I am more honest on twitter, if I’ve had a bad day I will say something and if I have a really terrible day and it’s more sensitive then I will vent in a supportive closed Facebook group for some tea and advice!
    Kara recently posted…OLPRO Beach Hut ReviewMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I can’t begin to imagine trying to negotiate the minefield of social media once my kids are teens! Closed Facebook groups are very good for venting, and I love the honesty of Twitter 🙂

  9. Tim says:

    As others have said above, I try to be neutral to positive on social media. I try to keep the negative stuff (whether it’s about myself or others) to myself – not in a “look how perfect my life is” sort of way, but because I treat social media as entertainment and light relief. If I want misery and whingeing (I don’t), I’ll watch EastEnders (I don’t).

    That doesn’t stop me from regularly poking fun at some of my more inadequate moments, though … 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge