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The Fable of Social Media
By Sidney Shuman
When I was young, Aesop’s fables were my favorite forms of folktales. The animals were all entertaining, the stories were short, and the themes were obvious. My favorite fable was always the story of the spider and the fly. The spider tempts the fly to come into its web with many lies of the beauty and happiness the web will bring to him. The fly finally is wooed by the lies and flies into the web. The spider gets the fly trapped in its web and eats him. The moral is to be content with one’s own life and to trust very little.
When I first read this fable as an eight year-old, the moral to the story was clear to me, but I was unable to apply it to my life at the time. I appreciated my own life for what it was because I did not know what else was out there (or particularly care). As I get older, however, I have realized how meaningful this short fable is.
I look through my newsfeed on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. My friends and people I follow share the upper points of their lives either in photographs or words in posts and status updates. Sometimes when I am feeling down, looking at those posts makes me feel complacent about my own life or even jealous of others’ lives. Looking at a superficial portrayal of one’s life and comparing it to my own is not only impractical, but it keeps me from enjoying and appreciating the little things that make up my life.
How people choose to portray their own lives via social media or any other public platform cannot be trusted; as they have just as many ups and downs as I do or anyone else does. I know this practically, but when I am bored and I look to my phone for relief and see someone else having more fun than me, the envy starts to kick in. When I remember the fable of the spider and the fly, I realize I must look at my own life experiences and wonder, “Would I really trade my wings for a web of lies?”