Social media is bad for us! Social networking is good for our society! If it didn’t happen on the Internet, then it didn’t happen in real life! We cry out about the good, the bad, and the ugly that is social media, and while platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram become a more integral part of our daily lives, there is no denying that there is a certain impact they create. There’s nothing wrong with posting a picture of a sunset or rock climb with the intention to share our warm fuzzies with loved ones, especially when we don’t get to see friends and family on the daily. Thank goodness for things like FaceTime and Instagram. Apps such as these have made it possible for me to stay connected with the people that I love, as well as make new connections in a meaningful way.

Ultimately, it’s a way for me to share my experiences with people that I care about. I want my mom to see that beautiful sunset. I want to share my enthusiasm about climbing with anybody else who is enthusiastic about climbing. These are all essentially good things, right?

Social media life is not my real life though, and could never be a replacement for it. I am sorry for anything I’ve ever written or posted that has implied anything but the truth. I’m not climbing or enjoying the great outdoors one hundred percent of the time, or even close to that—and I know that. You should, too.

No matter the social media platform you choose to use, there will always be gaps and missing context from your storyline. Me, for example? I used to live in my vehicle and on the road but moved to Denver this past fall. I now live with a snuggly fish face kitten and the most awesome, kind-hearted roommate a girl could ask for. Sometimes, I get paid to write, but I started teaching kids again. Now, I’m nannying part-time and trying to fill the rest of my time with rock climbing.

The fact is, a majority of us can’t be climbing seven days a week. I’m certainly not. Even if that’s not what you’re seeing on my Instagram, that’s the reality of it. Social media is making it difficult for us to separate reality from the Internet. This year, I took a step back from my own social media. I realized that if I give it too much of my time, I am living in a completely different world. It steers the focus away from things I really wish to do, the people I really love, and the relationships that I want to nurture. I try not to use social media as a cure for boredom or a place to spray, but rather a place to share my thoughts with those interested in hearing them. At the end of the day, that cool route was still climbed regardless of the filter used and everybody saw the same sunset.

Cameras can only capture so much, anyway. They can’t capture belly laughs or that feeling in your gut you receive when you finally reach the point where the summit meets the sky. Incredible things happen, undocumented and unfiltered, everywhere in the world at any given moment. What the evening dusk tells me as it falls around me in ethereal beauty is: How we live our life is far more important than how we say we live our life.

6 thoughts

  1. People don’t see the dark side of dirtbagging until they try it. How many lonely midnight drives have you had? I’m sure lots. The ones where all you had to hope for was a parking lot, with maybe one other Dirtbag that had done the same lonely drive…

  2. If people have somehow failed to pay enough attention to piece together what you’re “actually” doing, their feedback is a reflection of their inattention and insecurity, not a legitimate criticism.

    Anyone who’s paying attention sees the bits of context you do share; you’re not obligated to beat us over the head with your exact whereabouts or the precise terms of your lease agreement.

    It’s one thing to ask if you have means (and good for you if you do; no one should begrudge that) but the suggestion that you have a “secret” trust fund is just mean-spirited.

    You live a life that you designed, within your own means. The people who suggest you owe us the play-by-play are probably the same types of people who “dislike” all professional climbing videos, insisting the outtakes be published too. It’s a uniquely sour kind of person who, rather than choosing to be inspired by others and believe they are capable of equally great things, insists on proof that others are just as boring as them.

  3. I always thought it’d be fun to start a Facebook account where all I posted was really boring every day stuff. Look at this breakfast, here’s me sitting in front of the computer, now I’m sleeping on the couch. But it probably wouldn’t catch on, so back to pictures of climbing it it.

    1. isn’t that basically most of instagram? just those who do it seem to be hot. not saying you aren’t, internet stranger.

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