Stop the Face-boasting!

My niece and I were having a chat recently about why people upload photos to social media. Here are some of the possibilities we came up with:

1) Insecurity. We might not have a very satisfying life, so we create an ideal ‘story’ on Facebook and Instagram to make others envious and give ourselves a boost.
2. Evidence. If our holiday doesn’t make it to our news feed, did it really happen?…
3. Validation. Photos of ourselves doing good things for others, having fun with friends, or going on a date with a gorgeous guy need to be recorded because they make us look impressive – even though we did only one kind deed, had one fun night out, and went on one hot date in all of 2014…

I love social media and am an avid Facebook user, but I do have a problem with ‘Face-boasting’. My particular peeves are photos of flowers from “my fabulous hubby” on Valentine’s Day, announcements that your one-month-old baby has slept through the night – “what a trooper!” – and records of elaborate purchases many people can’t afford. Starts with Thermo. Ends with Mix.

Hmmm… What else does that leave?

At the risk of sounding like a bitter Facebook addict who refuses to post most of her own lies photos but will happily trawl through others’ feeds, let me explain.


These bite-sized updates keep us from getting a real, gritty, accurate picture of people’s lives.

When a photo is taken, a moment is captured. Literally… Just one moment. And that moment is usually based around the fact that a camera or phone is pointed in our face. As much as I love photography, front-on pictures capture very little of who we are, what we believe, and how we’re feeling.

As do status updates.

The flowers, the sleeping baby, the latest iPad you bought… Good for you. But it doesn’t tell us anything about you. What makes you tick? What do you love (other than kitchen appliances)? In fact, much of it simply leads to Facebook-envy because others are only seeing your highlight reel – not the real thing.

Social media has its purposes, but I’d rather see you in person than a photographed version of you.

Because if we lose the art of real-life, real-time, face-to-face conversation, all we’re left with is a bunch of images, snapshots – versions of the truth. And that feels kind of wrong.


  1. So true…a major downside to social media. I see it more and more clearly all the time, despite being a constant social media user. I think eventually it could fizzle out and become some other trend. Will take awhile but sooner or later people may just get tired of uploading all of their stuff to show off. Then again, you never know…haha. Have a good one!

  2. I’m not on Facebook … and I assume that at some stage I will be swept into it if my kids get sucked in when they are old enough … I am hoping that as I teach them about time management and honesty the desire will be less but I am bracing myself.
    To be honest I just dont have the time and would rather pick up the phone and speak to a friend, or have a coffee catchup 🙂 … that being said I feel I miss out on a lot of announcements and news that I may perhaps need to know for various activities etc … but at what price if I got on it?
    My husband tried to sign up on AirBnB and his problem was that he didn’t exist because he has no gmail account, no blog, no facebook account so just to show he was a human being he had to send a video of himself … so bizzare
    God is Good!

    1. Oh wow. From what I understand you only need an email address. But it sounds like it might not be a high priority.
      I do think it’s a good communication tool, and thankfully you can control what you see to some degree. There is wisdom to be had in how to use it, for sure.
      Thanks for dropping by!

  3. I think point 3 – validation – is a real temptation. I’ve felt it and do try to avoid it. We crave the ‘likes’ and positive comments. In fact, we count them! Wow, that photo of my cute grandson got 300 likes and 68 comments – that’s a record. In one sense this is not an uniquely FB matter. We used to do it by showing off our photo albums – remember film cameras. In fact they were marketed as ‘brag books’. But nor is it simply a photo issue. It’s a heart matter. We are insecure and we do seek others approval. It’s hard to remember that being made in God’s image and being recreated in the image of Christ is our validation. I stopped ‘liking’ FB entries a few months back. If it’s worth responding then I will write a comment rather than quickly click a button. But the hypocrisy remains – did you see the photo of my wife and I eating in the beautiful Greek restaurant in Melbourne on Thursday? Did you like it?

    1. Such good points! I agree – it’s a heart matter. We want to be seen, noticed, validated. And social media validation is instant and easy. Like any communication tool, it has its downside. I think your writing a comment rather than pressing ‘like’ is a more personal way of interacting. I definitely believe Facebook serves a purpose, but the best relationships are built on face-to-face interactions.

  4. Love this blog, so raw and real. I think everything in moderation. I use my feed to comment about events which stir my heart, or scripture which leads me to His feet that I want to share. I also post pictures of special events, and the occasional family ‘moment’ pic.

    I agree, posting everything that happens in a given ‘moment’ of your day is not a real portrayal of who you are. I suggest, mix it up a bit; share about your life, good and bad (but not whining about things, simply being honest), share about your passions, share about your God-desires, things that God has arrested your heart about. Be real, and exposed, but not bare. xx

    1. Beautifully said Sam! That sounds like a really good balance. I guess there is always a risk of offending or not presenting an accurate picture, but mixing it up rather than creating an unrealistic image sounds like the most edifying thing for others.
      Thanks for your encouragement xxoo

  5. I’ve never been on Facebook, but I have looked at it some, and it does paint a skewed picture of reality. People only show what they want you to see, and it’s rarely the messy parts – even though we all have that side of life and could relate to it.

    1. Yep it is pretty skewed. Most of us realise that but it can prove a stumbling block when we’re struggling with envy/comparisons…
      Hope you’re doing OK Janna.
      Thanks for dropping by.

  6. Great post Ali.
    I have been challenged to look at how social media affects me. Am I on it to get validation from man?
    Do I feel useless and ineffective because I don’t get a lot of likes or comments?
    Am I on it because it completes me?

    If I am on any social media plattform because I feel insecure or need praise from man and so on then I have missed it.

    It’s possible to be on social media plattforms and post pic’s and so on and still inspire people. It’s to do with the heart.
    Our reasons for being on social media plattforms must be scrutinized.
    That’s what I think.
    I really enjoyed this post Ali…..


    1. Thanks Rolain. Yes I think it comes down to motive, for all of us, and only God knows our true intentions. And I find I also need to check my heart when it comes to envying others on Facebook too. It’s so easy to let unwanted thoughts slip in..

  7. Can totally relate, especially to no’s. 1 & 3. So glad our Savior rescued my mind 🙂

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