Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

Highlight Reel vs Reality–Do You Know the Difference?

Posted on Aug 26, 2015 by Lisa Ricard Claro   22 Comments | Posted in The Naked Truth

Steven Furtick Highlight Reel

Image courtesy of Christina Grace Photography

I didn’t lie to you! I promise!

Today was supposed to be a blog swap with author Sherry Ewing, but due to technical problems—Sherry experienced some server issues—we decided to reschedule our switch-up to September 9th. She felt bad for the last minute change, but I assured her the Blog Police wouldn’t issue a warrant for our arrest.

Reminder: Author Gemma Brocato is hosting me on her blog tomorrow, where she’s posting Five Fun Facts about yours truly—including how many novels I’ve written (you might be surprised), how old I was when I wrote the first one, and whether I play any musical instruments. I hope you’ll click over tomorrow and have a look.

In the meantime, it’s time for today’s Naked Truth, and I want to talk about a complaint I have with social media—Facebook in particular.

If your eyes just rolled back in your head and you started to hyperventilate, you might qualify as a Social Media Maven. Since I don’t want to be responsible for anyone needing to breathe into a paper bag, please let me clarify. This isn’t the usual rant about what a time suck social media can be—even though we all know it is, because to a person we’ve taken time from our lives to scroll and giggle, and say “awww…” at videos of kittens and puppies, and baby elephants lumbering gleefully across the savanna (just admit you’ve done this—the scrolling, not the lumbering—and it will save you years of therapy down the road).  Nor is this a rant about all of the advertisements popping up in the Facebook newsfeed, although if I were going to rant about it, I’d mention that as an author who researches stuff, it is rather troubling that everything I Google ends up in my newsfeed—try explaining a rash of dating site ads and breast enhancement products to your husband: “But honey, it was from research! I swear!”

No, I’m not complaining about those things. I’m complaining about something we glean from social media which even the staunchest supporter cannot dispute: faux reality.

Considering the popularity of Reality TV—a misnomer if ever there was one—it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that social media is itself a vehicle for the same sort of skewed view of real life. You may have heard this quote by author and Christian pastor Steven Furtick: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Furtick wasn’t specifically talking about social media, but it certainly applies. Facebook in particular is a venue that invites this circumstance, not because people are lying, but because they’re only showing half the story. Facebook is a little bit like those chatty “year in review” letters we receive in Christmas cards. You know the ones I’m talking about. Everything is sunny-side up. Even the negatives are couched in fluff. We don’t mind, because we know that nobody lives on a bed of roses and, anyway, who wants to hear the nitty-gritty details of Aunt Phoebe’s stint in the hoosegow after driving Uncle Jim’s new Lexus—with Uncle Jim in it—into Boston Harbor, to protest his affair with that homewrecker, Chamomile Steeper, heiress to the great Oompah Oolong dynasty? (Well, okay, to be fair, I would totally want to hear about it, but you get my drift.) Point is, the letter would say, “Aunt Phoebe accepted her formal invitation by the city of Boston to take an extended vacation—on their dime! What luck!—and has returned to us with a new lease on life! Her husband, Uncle Jim, that rascal, has just purchased a brand new car, and he’s sworn off that high-caf oolong citing serious heart problems. Let’s hope the upcoming year brings good things for these two lovebirds.”

One of the reasons I’m going on about this is because of a comment made by the teenage daughter of a friend of mine. The girl was upset and crying about something that happened at school. It was one of the same issues that teenage girls have been dealing with since the dawn of time. The girl said, no, everyone didn’t have the same problems as she. She saw their Facebook pages and knew that their lives were better, happier, easier, blah, blah, blah. After all, they never posted anything really negative, right?


Sometimes, not often, we share negative stuff on Facebook—when we crave group support through a difficult time, or need to vent, or hope five-hundred prayers shooting heavenward will help deliver us some grace. But for the most part, we post our highlight reels, the day-to-day bits that make us laugh or smile, the good things we want others to know. We scroll through the feed and smile at the kittens and elephants, find relief from a hard day in the antics of puppies and babies of all species. We revel in the good news shared by our friends. This is good. But it isn’t the whole reality. It’s the highlight reel. The harm comes not to those of us who realize this, but to those who can’t tell the difference.

Do you spend time on social media? If so, which outlet is your favorite? What is your opinion of the “highlight reel” assessment? Have you had personal experience with someone who took social media too much to heart?

Thanks for hanging out with me. I hope you’ll stop by Gemma Brocato’s blog tomorrow and say hello to me there! Have a great rest-of-your-week. See you back here on Friday for Observations From the Tub!



Romance is good for your heart! To purchase your copy of Love Built to Last in eBook ($0.99 now for a limited time) or Print, go to AmazonBarnes & NobleBlack Opal BooksKobo, or AllRomance

22 Responses to "Highlight Reel vs Reality–Do You Know the Difference?"

  1. Comment by Linda O'Connell
    August 26, 2015 at 7:46 am  

    OMG this is a wonderful post and I completely agree that most of us view the highlight reel. My mama once said, if you ever get to know someone who seems to have it all together, you’ll find they have the same issues as you do; they just don’t talk about it. Of course there are others on FB that suck the life out of me with their complaints and constant posts of offensive cartoons and comments. I’ll be back tomorrow to read on.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      August 27, 2015 at 3:32 pm  

      Thanks for sharing this on FB Linda. I’m glad it resonated with you. It isn’t always easy to remember that everyone has a “behind the scenes” that we never see.

  2. Comment by Rob
    August 26, 2015 at 8:17 am  

    I don’t Face or Tweet, and the only reason I have a blog is because all the “experts” tell me I need one if I want to be a writer. On my blog, I only post finished essays (again, taking advise from the “experts”), the essays that I send off to the gatekeepers. The other reason I don’t post daily sit.reps. is I’m, without a doubt, the most uninteresting man in the world–stay thirsty my friends.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      August 27, 2015 at 3:37 pm  

      Okay, so I’m calling shenanigans on that whole “uninteresting” thing. Nice try though. As to your lack of FB and Twitter, good for you for not giving in to peer pressure. I swore I’d never FB, but my whole family was on FB and everyone stopped emailing! The only way to connect was to get on FB. Now, of course, it’s a way to keep up with my writing pals, and also readers, so I do spend time scrolling. Twitter still kind of escapes me, though. lol

  3. Comment by Claudia
    August 26, 2015 at 4:03 pm  

    I try not to look much at Facebook. It just is full of upsets and I don’t need more. The only other thing I do is blog and I was wary of that. But there I find interesting subjects (or I move on for good) and I work at not being negative or whiney myself. Some days it is hard but my blog forces me to look hard to find something positive each day or so. Otherwise I fall back on “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      August 27, 2015 at 3:40 pm  

      That was always a big one in my house, Claudia, the “if you can’t say anything nice” etc. I’m fortunate that most of those with whom I connect on FB and Twitter keep things low-key and nonpolitical. I’m in it for the kitties and elephants, not the drama. 🙂

  4. Comment by Cathy C. Hall
    August 26, 2015 at 5:01 pm  

    I came across a quote the other day and I feel like I keep quoting it every time I turn around, but it’s just so darn apt:

    Comparison is the thief of joy.

    I try not to worry too much about what other people are doing or saying. I like to keep my joy. 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      August 27, 2015 at 3:42 pm  

      Love that quote, and boy, isn’t it the truth! Comparisons never tell the whole picture anyway. I read about an author who was at the top of her game career-wise, but under that her whole life was crumbling—divorce, illness, etc. There’s that highlight reel again, NOT showing behind the scenes.

      P.S. I think that quote is going up on my bulletin board. 🙂

  5. Comment by Sioux
    August 26, 2015 at 5:16 pm  

    I don’t do “the Facebook” so I can’t speak about that.

    However, I always appreciate when people blog about their obstacles/rejections along with their success and publications. Getting rejected is part of the deal… a big part of the deal. (And I ADORE Cathy’s quote. )

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      August 27, 2015 at 3:46 pm  

      Miss you on FB, Sioux. Bet it would be a brighter place with you in it! And if you’re looking for places to read about obstacles & rejections, you’ve come to the right place. lol I probably share more than I should about the self-doubt doldrums etc. Blogging is good therapy, though!

  6. Comment by ButtonsMom2003
    August 26, 2015 at 10:30 pm  

    Well, since I found you through FB I guess it can’t all be bad, right? LOL I’ve been backing away from FB a bit lately because it was cutting into my reading time. I do agree with your highlight reel assessment, though.

    I got into FB because people where I live wanted to know more about it and hubby and I help them with computer problems/questions. Three years ago I knew next to nothing about how it worked. The thing I like most about it now, is being able to keep up with my favorite authors and interact with them.

    BTW, I bought a paperback copy of Love Built to Last and have been sharing it with friends; the feedback has been great! Can’t wait until the next book comes out!

  7. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    August 27, 2015 at 3:50 pm  

    Thanks so much! I so appreciate you doing that!

    FB–and Twitter, too–have really helped open up connections with readers and authors, you’re right about that. Lately, though, I’ve heard about authors who hire people to do all their social media for them. Seems like cheating, to me.

    • Comment by Rob
      August 27, 2015 at 4:10 pm  

      Hired thugs. I like it. 🙂

      • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
        August 27, 2015 at 4:40 pm  

        If I ever go to the FB page of another author and discover they’ve taken up fly fishing, I’ll know you’re moonlighting. hahaha…

  8. Comment by Theresa Sanders
    August 27, 2015 at 4:21 pm  

    Hey Lisa, because of a rather lively discussion I had with someone this week, you’ve struck a chord for me with your post, so I apologize in advance that my response will be long. First, I love the quote. I also believe that any time we meet and greet others in a social setting, whether electronically or in person, there is the potential for comparing what we perceive as our own little foibles and mess-ups with everyone else’s highlight reel. That is the insidious thing about comparison, as Cathy’s reply so wisely suggests, but it’s also human nature. One of my good friends is a therapist, and I remember in the early days of our friendship, I thought she was the most put-together person I’d ever met. As our friendship deepened, I found that she was no more or less a mess than I was – and the funny thing is, she thought the same thing about me. I remember saying, “OMG, I’m the worst scattered mess of a person you’ll ever meet,” to which she said, “That’s not true because now you’ve met me.”

    Regarding Facebook, I believe it is no different, no better or worse, than any other form of online communication out there, whether we’re talking Twitter, Google, blogs or others. To say that there are too many forums, that they are collective time sucks, and that they can drain our energy and steal our joy if we let them are all true statements. But they are probably here to stay, and as such are additional areas of possible danger, both physical and to self-esteem, about which we must educate our children and grandchildren. Just like in real life, we teach our kids that the best we can humanly do on any given day is to be who we are (and btw, not apologize for that), to try to make a difference in our local circle, and hope that difference ripples outward. And of course, just like in real life when we interact socially, everyone is going to try to put their best face on, because hey, most of us really are vulnerable inside and don’t want our mess-ups aired for all to see. As far as the puppies and babies, I, for one, would rather see inspiration any day than negativity, general meanness, or in-your-face bragging. I would rather, as Mother Teresa said, err on the side of being too kind than not kind enough. Call me sentimental — I’ll cop to that. But I don’t think you have to be all Hallmark Channel happy (and I do love Hallmark Channel!) to be positive — meaning you can still be real and show life’s ups and downs — just as I don’t think you have to be all negative and dark to be a true artist. Life is hard, and I think people just need a little shot of inspiration sometimes to make it through their day. That’s what I try to do on my FB page, which is just like what most people do on blogs: provide a little laughter, a little food for thought, a little connection. I believe this is what all people crave, connection. There is such demand on writers these days to be continually “out there,” all the time, everywhere, that it’s hard to know what’s the best etiquette, and if you’re shy, as I am, it can sometimes feel excruciating. With so much emphasis on online presence, branding, and “social proof,” I think we often lose sight of why we write in the first place: to connect, to maybe have our words find a place in someone’s heart. No matter the online habitat, I believe that how we interact should always be in service of connection, and, of course, it goes without saying, about the quality of our writing. Sorry for the mini-book, my friend; as I said, you touched a nerve.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      August 27, 2015 at 4:46 pm  

      To all you shared—well said.

      And please, never apologize for stating the Naked Truth. Not in this forum, anyway. In an echo of what I told Sioux, you’ve come to the right place.

      • Comment by Theresa Sanders
        August 27, 2015 at 6:21 pm  

        And thank you so much for the forum, Lisa. Also, I forgot to add at the end of my Naked Truth that nothing I said was in any way directed at you. You are one of the most friendly, giving, and gracious writers I know 😉 Just wanted to clarify that 🙂

        • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
          August 27, 2015 at 8:07 pm  

          Thanks. 🙂 No clarification necessary, but I appreciate your kind words. And I’m glad you feel comfortable enough to say what’s on your mind.

  9. Comment by Pat
    August 27, 2015 at 5:51 pm  

    I spend way too much time on FB. Originally I took the plunge because it let me know what my family and friends were doing (nobody calls anymore). Although I seldom post (I prefer to “share” occasionally or press the “like” button), I enjoy looking at cute pictures, funny videos, and uplifting or significant comments. I heartily dislike postings of graphic images (why do people want me to see a photo of a horribly abused dog?), political rants, pointless mundane daily details (over and over), and annoying advertising. Does that make me a FB snob?

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      August 27, 2015 at 6:25 pm  

      No, you’re not a snob. Nothing wrong being positive! Like you, I try to keep my posts cheerful and uplifting, good newsy. The highlight reel, I guess, though I have occasionally reached out for good thoughts from fellow Facebookers. 🙂

  10. Comment by Tammy
    August 27, 2015 at 7:18 pm  

    Funny, I was just thinking about this. I know people who only seem to ask others to rally around their health issues and so forth, and that feels pretty negative. But then I was having one of those arguments in my head about what we really ARE supposed to post, then. I argue with myself a lot. Sigh. The good news is that usually makes me get off Facebook.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      August 27, 2015 at 8:10 pm  

      I read an interesting article today about a guy who stopped clicking the like button. He left a comment instead. The result was a ton of actual back and forth conversation and social interaction—of the positive kind—which is really what it’s supposed to be about. Thought I’d give it a try, though I’ll probably still “like” things, too. But I’m curious to see how conversation is sparked by more comments and fewer clicks!

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: