When you share a picture of yourself on social media, you select one that presents you in the best way. Where you look the cutest, where your adventure looks the most epic, where your skills, friends and life look the best.
When you keep up with current events, you make choices about where to get your news. You choose who is the most credible and whose perspective you care about.
As you select who to follow, friend and connect with on social media, or who to block and unfollow, you influence what stories you’ll have access to.
All of these choices are a form of curation. On the one hand, it’s positive. We have choice. We are presented with many options and that access expands our knowledge and power. But what are the downsides of curation?
In Hello, Sunshine, Laura Dave makes the case for curation slowly chipping away at what is true. What you carefully select what photos you share, who you tag and what conversations you join, you’re making choices about how to present yourself. And while your choices might be flattering, are they the real you? As you create your digital persona, does it come at a loss? When you make choices to consume news that validates your existing opinions, are you learning or digging into a false construct?
Hello, Sunshine was, if I’m being completely honest, sort of awful. It’s about an unlikable person doing unlikeable things with other unlikeable people. But, it did get me thinking about the cost of my curated life.
Here are some quotes from Hello, Sunshine that resonated with me:
“He was hoping that I’d remember who I used to be. You know, before the world was watching and I lost it.”
I’d spent so much time playing make-believe, I’d lost the thread between who I used to be and the person I’d been presenting to the world. How do you begin to trace it back to when everything you did wasn’t a perfectly calibrated extension of who you thought you were supposed to be.
That was the cost of my curated life. I had no clue where I’d gotten lost.
“Are you Sunshine Mackenzie? The Sunshine? Like … of A Little Sunshine?”
“Maybe?” Her smile disappeared. “Well, either you are or you aren’t.”
It seemed like a smart thing to say, except it wasn’t true. We are and we aren’t. We try and we fail. We tell the truth and then we lie. We want to be a part of things so badly that we’ll pretend to be anyone to get into the room. And pretend to be someone else just to stay there. We want to be seen and we want people to guess. We want them to understand. We want to be forgiven. We forgive ourselves. We start again.