I was going to start a new blog today. I started the page and everything and took a couple of pictures but then I started writing it and decided it was crap. It was preachy and dull. It was meant to be about my passion for vegetable boxes and buying meat by the half animal. Anyone who has ever eaten anything with me will know how I feel about buying meat by the half animal and how dedicated I am to vegetable box schemes, but half way through the first post I realised that it’s just boring. Who cares?
Then I went and read some stuff on the internet and got even more annoyed. I mean, what is it all for? This endless self promotion and marketing of our own lives? So many of us presenting our daily lives on social media and dressing it up to be ever so pretty and perfect.
It has become a standing joke that something hasn’t really happened until it’s on Facebook. No one is interested in buying a coffee that doesn’t look good enough to put on Tumblr and if your weekend isn’t documented in sepia tinged retro camera style images on instagram then frankly, you’re just not taking life seriously, are you?
It’s like this mass social delusion. I am guilty of it too. I don’t consider myself any better than the rest of us. Last week I put a picture of my herb tray on Facebook and Twitter. My herb tray! I found it in the shed and it’s made of galvanised steel, how wonderfully Tumblr! I had used magnetic scrabble letters to spell out the names of the herbs. I think of it now and I hate myself for it. I don’t hate myself for having a galvanised steel herb tray or for using the scrabble letters to spell out the names of herbs. It looks lovely on my kitchen windowsill. I hate the fact that apparently looking lovely on my kitchen windowsill is no longer good enough. It has to be shared on the internet, too. It has to gather likes and shares and comments.
Now, ok, so it is my herb tray and who cares if I share pictures of it on the internet? It’s real isn’t it? It wasn’t a lie. I do actually own that herb tray and it does, is, right now, sitting on my kitchen window sill, so what’s the big deal? The big deal is that, obviously, I only show you what I want you to see and it is woefully lame that I think my herb tray will enhance what you think of me.
We’ve always done this of course, it’s not a new idea, it’s just that once upon a time presenting your best side to the world meant cleaning your shoes and putting your best coat on. Now it means instagramming your organic pearled spelt risotto with beetroot and goats cheese (That’s what I am having for dinner tonight, heaven help me!) and making sure you do so using the right artisan bowl and retro cutlery. It means arranging and presenting every aspect of our lives as though we lived in a lifestyle shoot in The Guardian – Weekend.
Now’t wrong with wanting things to look pretty, though is there? Well, no, not in itself, but I suspect there are more sinister desires at play. I suspect that what we are really doing when we Tumblr our cupcakes or Facebook a snap of our new artfully scuffed shoes as they carry us along Shoreditch High Street, has very little to do with sharing our terribly interesting lives and a lot more to do with reassuring ourselves that we have remotely interesting lives in the first place.