Life, Filtered

Everest Base Camp (South)

This article was originally published on Agency Media’s company blog on July 10, 2015.

Hey! I’m Jason, the Project Manager for Agency Media. In 2013 I quit my job, sold everything, and spent the next year backpacking through Asia, wandering Europe, and road tripping across the United States. It was terrific, terrifying, and a huge learning experience. Over the months and kilometres away from home I saw a lot of the world and noticed a few things about how we live life and portray in it social media.

We all strive to lead authentic lives, but what does that look like when you throw a persistent and nearly live audience into the mix? You end up with the current state of social media.

You and I have more access to the day-to-day lives of our friends and families than any other generation in the history of the planet. That’s pretty cool. But social media isn’t going anywhere and the demand for intimate details won’t be satiated any time in the near future.

This causes an issue. We can’t live up to the lives we lead. Nobody can.

When I left Canada to backpack around the world the journey was exciting, arduous — and incredibly boring. I made it to Everest, camped in the Nevada desert, and watched the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Every place exuded ancient history and evoked that tingly feeling you get when you’re at that location you’ve seen in encyclopedias your entire life. It’s cool. It’s perfect Instagram material.

And it’s all a lie. Okay not ALL, but like 90% of it.

Those earth-shattering moments I captured were exactly as they appeared, but in between them there were days and weeks of nothing. The space between mountains and monuments was, for lack of a better term, boring. Each Instagram photo was separated from the next by 27-hour bus rides, two-day train station waits, and endless hours at hostels with nothing to do.

Stories have always truncated reality to tell a greater truth. To initiate conversations and develop relationships. Social media is just the most recent evolution of that. It’s easy to become cynical about the unreality of these platforms, but they aren’t there to replace anything. They exist to bring people together, to improve empathy, increase shared experiences, and enhance our community. With every pic and update we’re growing closer to friends and strangers and our social circles are growing.

Appreciate the quiet moments, share the inspiring ones, and encourage others to do the same. That’s what social media is all about.