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An analysis of the millennial’s most vexing dilemma.

Bragging vs. Sharing: On Social Media, is There a Difference?

Why You Should Share Your Successes on Facebook

An analysis of the millennial’s most vexing dilemma.

By Bri Griffith, Carlow University


“If you didn’t post about it, did it really happen?” is the unwavering question circulating friend groups everywhere.

The power social media has is intense, with a whole new job market, the rise of fame culture and the “swipe right” Tinder love story.

Equally as intense are the feelings some people have about what’s okay and not okay to post on certain profiles.

Bragging vs. Sharing: On Social Media, is There a Difference?

I have friends who preach Facebook is nothing more than a cesspool of political posts, hate speech and cyber-bulling. Perhaps a viral video (one you never meant to watch) automatically plays while a crying Jordan meme catches your eye, and an old high school buddy invites you to play Candy Crush. I’ll admit, Facebook isn’t always the place to look for life advice. But, I have friends who claim people can’t do anything without posting about it. They wonder, “Are people just begging for attention?”

Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook as a college student in 2004. Like all other social media, including Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, Facebook is specifically designed for people to share their lives with others. So, I’m not surprised people are posting about what they do, where they are or what they’re eating. Social networking sites have drastically impacted the way we communicate with each other. One status can change your life, seriously. Because of this though, I find there are benefits to posting about accomplishments on Facebook. Regardless of the criticism people receive when they share anything and everything, I fully support anybody who is posting about their successes on Facebook.

Here’s why.

First of all, I recently cleaned out my Facebook friends list. I only scroll through updates posted by people I’m interested in hearing from. If you’re ever wondering why you’re friends with a person, the solution is simple: Unfriend them. Nobody will judge you. Nobody is forcing you to keep up with the lives of people you don’t know. Just don’t.

Moving on—if a friend updates their status admitting they landed a job upon graduation, why wouldn’t I be ecstatic? I want the best for my friends. I always want them to do well because I care about them. Their good news is my good news.

And still, people say posting about “everything good in your life” is nothing more than bragging. I disagree. Bragging is arrogant, assuming you’re more important than other people simply because of who you are. I don’t think one of my friends posting about their new job is boastful. I also don’t see anything wrong with writing out a status about how proud you are of yourself, and sharing your happiness with an online community of friends on Facebook.

Comparisons are made. It’s impossible not to do while scrolling through your Facebook feed. Maybe, upon reading about a friend’s impressive internship, you’re thinking you’re not worthy of the same kind of success. Maybe you’re trying to understand why you’ve not been granted the same opportunities. If so, remember: Other people’s accomplishments don’t diminish your own. If you’re jealous of somebody else’s success, understand that what they do doesn’t make your own work any less important or worthy of celebration. Their successes don’t cancel out yours, regardless of what they are.

And honestly, good news motivates me. When I see somebody’s releasing a debut album, or writing a book, I cheer for them, all the while feeling inspired to push myself. I love feeding off of other people, and I appreciate good vibes.

I’m a mentor in college, specifically for first year students. One of my students said she loves reading about all of my success as a writer. She knows my poems are being published on a pretty regular basis because I post about my writing endeavors on Facebook. Not only am I expressing myself, I’m motivating others to do the same and feel good—win-win situation.

Important to note: Employers may not hire you if they don’t like what’s on your Facebook, so you might as well showcase your best efforts.

My friends have said, in addition to bragging, people post about themselves because they need to be validated. But I know there are people who use Facebook to post about educational achievements, such as making the Dean’s List, and to keep in contact with long-distance family and friends. I don’t think sharing good news is equivalent to begging for attention. I do see people using Facebook to accumulate support. Whether you’re dating somebody new, expecting your first child or announcing a new YouTube channel is in the works, it’s nice to know you have people on your side. Facebook allows events to be created as well; you can attract an audience and start a conversation, both of which are positive.

And I wonder, if you’re upset or confused by good news being shared on Facebook, what are you interested in reading?

Would you rather see people not doing well? My heart breaks reading statuses about friends losing their parents or siblings. Personally, I’d rather look at pictures of “Finding Nemojust keep swimming graduation caps, or read about service related trips than to realize a tragic accident or illness is plaguing a friend or family.

However, I remind you: Facebook is a breeding ground for fucked up comments. The election is compared to “The Hunger Games,” feminism is challenged, stereotypes are promoted and people are exploited. Constantly. A status about something good is a glimmer of hope, a light at the end of a very dark, ugly tunnel. Sifting through messy Facebook fights and finding kindness reminds me, “Not everything sucks. At least someone is having an okay day.”

For example, you see somebody quoting the Bible and condemning homosexuality, but you also notice a friend was accepted into their first pick for graduate school. Talk about juxtaposition. Blatant homophobia doesn’t suck any less, but their news does lighten the mood, and lifts a weight so things don’t feel so heavy on your heart.

Not supporting the people who post good news on their Facebook profiles, to me, seems like an uncool way of making them feel bad about their accomplishments. Facebook is made for sharing, and people will continue to post about their lives. And personally, I think Facebook can be used as a platform to spark change, promote activism and social justice. You should post about your accomplishments because it’s a great way to inspire and connect with others. And it’s your party, you can post if you want to.

  1. This was well written. I myself am a screenwriter. No. Not a pro, but doing it for years enough that getting people reading my material is my success, and it’s what I post about when something positive happens with a company who checks out my work. One thing I don’t understand is people’s lack of celebrating this. I may post “Hey! I got a script to Steven Spielberg!” — I’d get 20 likes and 20 comments. Someone posts an instagram of their freaking dog in the snow they get 50 likes and an ongoing conversation where the comments and replies span 2 weeks about the entire history of the dog. It makes no sense to me. Also can be said for my art work that I post. Or maybe I’m just an asshole. I’m not quite sure while normalcy is more celebrated than actual hard work success.

    1. I stopped posting personally on Facebook and my quality of life improved. I am self-employed/creative and it was a place to go to avoid the fears I had around my projects and goals and wants (resistance). I suspect for a lot of people who have routine 9 to 5 josb where they are well paid and utterly bored, it is a welcome diversion.

      For me it was toxic, I literally got consumed with the 145 photos of a friend’s cruise or daily posts of how happy they were in their marriage. And then I realized I went there to procrastinate, to resist the work I needed to do creatively. Reminds me of the book, “The War of Art”, by Steven Pressfield:

      “…Sometimes Resistance takes the form of sex, or an obsessive preoccupation with sex. Why sex? Because sex provides immediate and powerful gratification….The more empty you feel, the more certain you can be that your true motivation was not love or even lust but Resistance. When someone sleeps
      with us, we feel validated and approved of, even loved. Resistance gets a big kick out of that.

      “…It knows it has distracted us with a cheap, easy fix and kept us from doing our work. It goes without saying that this principle applies to drugs, shopping, masturbation, TV, gossip, alcohol, and the consumption of all products containing fat, sugar, salt, or chocolate.”

      I think this is the important element to focus on. While Pressfield wrote the book well before Facebook, you could easily add it to his list of easy fast gratification.

      If you feel great after posting and sharing on Facebook, good for you. But if you feel hollow or more insecure after doing so, then there’s a good chance you were only there as a form of easy gratification on a journey that you are resisting. Rest assured that few of your Facebook friends would be willing to take in the first place. Don’t expect them to pat you on the back each time you scale a mountain they can only post pictures of on their Facebook pages.

  2. Out of 100 people viewing posts, 20 are only consuming posts and not contributing in any way (liking or commenting) 50 are jealous of the success of others which stems from insecurity around areas of their own lives 20 will actually like and comment and be genuinely happy about your success. The last 10 are too busy posting and discussing pics of their dog to even notice others posts. They only login to post.

    There was a time, you know way back in 2009, when social media was more engaging. My friends have a lot going on. They are successful in their careers and family lives and relationships. They travel a lot. These things are exciting and I’m happy for them. But it gets kind of boring going from post to post congratulating and fawning over these seemingly never ending achievements. There are just too many promotions, awards, cute babies, exotic vacations and other over the top events for me to maintain a high level of excitement and interest for them all. In fact it gets nauseating. But my few friends who actually pose a question or introduce a topic to which many people can contribute is what makes me feel engaged and genuinely helps me get to know and like people. I prefer not to share my big achievements with everyone on social media. I just tell my immediate family and friends that might be around at the moment…after I celebrate myself.

  3. For me the sharing on FaceBook was a bit much – information overload. I deleted my account years ago, and instead, I am a member of a number of texting groups e.g. my husband and children, my siblings and parents, college friends, book club , running group, extended family etc. This way I can be very selective about what and with whom I share information and I am able to respond in a meaningful way to texts.

    When I was on FaceBook, I had a friend who I think epitomized what some people are complaining about with respect to FaceBook bragging out of control. She posted every day several times a day about everything – how she made the perfect meal, the awesome hair cut she gave herself, the great show she went to, the compliment her boss gave her, the wonderful gift from her husband, how much she rocked her presentation, her salary, the wonderful xxx she made etc. Some of the things she posted I ignored because either in my opinion they were not so special, I really had no comment and/or I was too busy living my life to respond to every single post, but she actually monitored the comments/likes. Anyone who did not respond consistently, she accused of being angry or jealous. At one point all I could muster for anything she posted was an eyeroll but I forced myself to say something – how nice! great job! congrats! – just so that I would not get a text asking, “Did you see my post?”. When I dropped FB and she started calling, texting and Facetiming me to share, I had to put an end to it.

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