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

An analysis of the millennial’s most vexing dilemma.

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.

Writer Profile

Brianne Griffith

Carlow University
Creative Writing

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