Social media became a big part of our lives when we started the Exploring Alternatives project in 2014. Now, we post weekly videos and photos about alternative lifestyles, and we also follow (sometimes obsessively!) people who are living the alternative lifestyles that we dream of trying one day. Participating in social media like this has become so ingrained in our daily lives that it’s easy for us to ignore the incredible influence it has on our perception of reality.
When we decide to share something on social media, we naturally want people to see it, so we end up choosing the most flattering / exciting / out-of-this-world photo or video because those will get the most attention. This desire for attention becomes a bit addictive and in turn creates a lot of pressure for us to always be doing something that is social media-worthy instead of enjoying the real moment.
A similar thing happens when we watch or look at other people’s posts and only see the best version of their lives. We perceive that their lives are better than ours, which further reinforces our discontent with reality.
The power that social media has to distort reality is one of the reasons we called our project Exploring Alternatives. From the start, we knew that we wanted to share our lifestyle experiments with people but we didn’t want to make it seem like our lives were perfect. In addition to the blog name, we try to balance the positives with the negatives by sharing posts like: our top 3 travel nightmare stories and the challenges of living a nomadic lifestyle; and we’ve seen bloggers like Shelby & Simon do the same with their What’s it really like to live in a van? post.
Our goal is to look at alternative lifestyles realistically so that it’s easier to know what we’re getting into when we make a lifestyle change. There are inevitably going to be ups, downs, and imperfections with every option but if we take the time to choose a lifestyle that genuinely aligns with our interests, priorities, and values (and with the darn budget) then we’re already ahead of the social media game.
Happy Exploring :)