We need to keep it real.

Not a week passes without the media posting yet another story of the rags-to-riches entrepreneur, businesswoman or artist who reflects on their time as a bankrupt failure while backstroking in cash from their gold-plated lap pool. 

I love those stories, so I read them. But I rarely read about failure from someone who's in the middle of it - although I reckon there would be plenty of wisdom to impart from the bottom as well as at the top.

Similarly, on Facebook, we generally talk about the quirky stuff, the fun, the get togethers, the things that give us enjoyment in life. No-one likes a killjoy, right? But then there's studies like this one mentioned in The New Yorker about how Facebook makes us unhappy. 

Why don’t we talk about the downs as well as the ups? Do we find failure distasteful? Don’t we have a way to appreciate it, unless it is at arm’s length? Do we not have any way to talk about it yet online, a way that fits with our modern lexicon?

The truth is, we learn when life is rubbish: we find out more about our character, our family and friends. With hardship we grow, become sharper and more focused (but hopefully not harder), more appreciative of what really matters.

As one who has come out of a particularly challenging year - or as I like to say, Mr Karma getting his own back for hitting one’s baby brother in front of the Christmas Tree in 1985 - there were moments that even as the ‘Queen of Social’ I didn’t know how to deal with it, let alone communicate about it.

Still, great challenges can inspire fresh ideas.

Last year for all it's murkiness also brought about the happy agency, because I spent a helluva long time spent thinking about what the Sarah Allen biz brand offers and strives for.

It brought about a bazillion new biz ideas (none of which I have actualised) including:

ONE: Creating a range of luxury dark chocolate with important stuff like Vitamin D and probiotics in them
TWO: Creating an app that measures your happiness levels and suggests ways to increase your wellbeing
THREE: A blogger / source network that connects the blogging relations industry with good content
FOUR: Clearing out one train carriage on Cityrail to hold Zumba classes on the North Shore line
mind is willing.png

In case you can't yet see the logic on point four, my train from town to Pymble takes about 40 minutes, and I could get a good workout in the time that I sit on my plump rear and play with my phone. In fact, we'd probably need two carriages because it would become so popular.

For those learning the art and craft of socialising online - and let's face it, that's all of us - are there ways of keeping our posts real for those days, weeks, months or years when everything seems NQR?

I'm not saying to go for the posts that get you the most sympathy, although there is a time and a place for it (I'm looking at you, gastro).

This is finding ways to communicate how you're feeling, when it can be really hard to express. Things like:

ONE: Try a photo if you cant find the words
TWO: Find a quote from someone who has said it better than you
THREE: Rather than rant, turn it into something creative, like an art project
FOUR: Ask people to join you in an activity to help get through the rut
FIVE: Create a private Facebook group to support people through a similar situation
SIX: Download an app like Happier, a social gratitude journal

Importantly, you may not be just feeling down, you may be depressed. If you are depressed, recognise that it's an illness, it doesn't define you, and that talking about it can help address the stigma attached to mental illness, but also to keep talking to your doctor and manage the condition, as you would for a broken leg. Those calling for help, by all means post about how you're feeling but get in touch with the professionals at Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, quicksticks.

It's constructive to reflect on life lessons, even when we're in the thick of it, so let's not push failures under the rug because it doesn't look good in social media, or doesn't fit with your personal brand.

The upshot of going through shit is that it happens to everyone, so chances are if you post something on Facebook, people will relate — and appreciate your candour.

Do you share the darker stuff? Leave me a comment!

WATCH: Confessions of a Depressed Comic (Ted Talk)