A bronzed traveller with their laptop out on the beach. A group lounging by a pool in a “meeting”. Somebody peers beyond their computer screen towards the distant rice fields. Images like these are increasingly popping up on our social media feeds. It inspires some, makes others jealous and there are those who feel irritated…and sickened!
Those of us who upload these photos and videos knowing full well that many of our “social media friends” are seeing the images from the confines of a not-so-exciting office, or whilst packed in on a peak hour public transport journey to work. What are they thinking when they see these images? Do they really want to see them? Do they think we are being smug? Do they even care?
Social media profiles are cultivated and curated to display the ‘best version of ourselves’. We want to look interesting, fun, adventurous…that’s not unique to digital nomads and people posting whilst working beside infinity pools. The majority of people do it. Who wants to see posts of us waiting in line at a supermarket, sitting on a sofa watching tv, or working in a room with white walls and a desktop calendar.
So what’s the difference between a digital nomad posting a photo of himself working from a beach as opposed to somebody who posts themselves lying on that same beach on holidays. Is there a difference? Are the work/beach shots any more smug than the holiday/beach shots? Aren’t we all simply capturing and sharing some of the more interesting moments of our lives?
The reality is that those who lead their life working whilst travelling tend to have more ‘postworthy’ opportunities. Travel provides that. So should we deny ourselves those opportunities for fear of being ridiculed or called smug? I can’t see why we should. One of the benefits of Facebook is that friends can follow what each other is up to in their lives…providing glimpses of where we are and what we are doing. If we happen to be in Nicaragua then so be it. Share that fact! If our friends don’t want to see what we are up to…well, maybe they are not really our friends at all…
The most important thing to ask, in my opinion, is not whether we should be posting these images…it’s why we post. What’s the motivation behind it? Do we post to make people jealous? Is it to feed our ego? Is there a sense of superiority? Is it to show off?
Sometimes I get the feeling that there are those digital nomads and location independent professionals who do feel ‘superior’. Or at least that their lifestyles are superior than their counterparts back home. An attitude of “I made it out of the corporate world, look at me now… poor you being stuck in it still”. This attitude is simply wrong.
Anybody that has an attitude of being better than anybody else needs to have their heads reigned in. But, aside from that, the location independent lifestyle is not for everybody. Many are very happy working back home…be it in the corporate world or as a labourer. Many are just as, and sometimes, more happy with their lifestyles as those on the road. That’s the most important thing. Happiness. No matter where you are, nor what you do. So there is absolutely no justification one might have in feeling smug or superior.
Of course, there are some people who feel unfilled and unhappy in their careers. Some of these ma dream and aspire to a more location independent lifestyle. Maybe they will feel inspired when seeing that this new way of working and living is possible. Maybe they will make a positive change in their lives. In which case…great!
To me it boils down to two key words: MOTIVATION (are your reasons for posting the images positive) and MODERATION…nobody wants to see a continuous stream of these shots clogging up their feed!
Stu. Writing this from a house in the countryside 😉
The Guardian asked for digital nomads to share photos of where they work in the world. Some of the comments from readers say exactly what they think of these photos…
‘Whether you work on a bamboo table against the backdrop of a sun-kissed beach in Thailand, or your meetings are held via Skype from a co-working hub in Bali, we want to see photos of where in the world you work.”
- No, we don’t.
- Personally, as befits my regal position, I sit in a massive gold throne perched above a Caribbean atoll, but you don’t hear me harping on about it do you?
- I don’t want to know about people who park their Range Rover on the beach, thank you.
- The smugness on this thread will more than likely form a visible mist.