That being said, I’ve got a couple more observations from this past year regarding Facebook. In an attempt at avoiding the rehashing of stuff from my previous postings on what feels to be a necessary evil, I’m trying to keep it fresh.
Facebook lets you craft your own reality that you’re willing to display to the world. It’s worth keeping in mind that the “Facebook” you is not always the same as the “real world” you. I’m constantly amazed by seeing some of the things posted by people who I know both on and off Facebook. If people were to only know you by your Facebook page, they’d think you were as charitable as Mother Theresa, as likeable as Jimmy Stewart (or Jimmy Fallon if you’re a late night fan), as funny and witty as Robin Williams, and as holy as the Pope. If people spent ten minutes in the real world with you, would they still feel that way? Would they maybe feel that a comparison to a drunken sailor may be more appropriate?
It can be very difficult, even when you are FULLY AWARE of this manufactured reality, to not get swept up in it all. Facebook has become less about staying in contact with people and more about stroking egos. Just about every article listed at the bottom of this makes mention of Facebook and the direct correlation it plays with your self esteem. To be ignored on Facebook is to be ignored by all, according to this logic. This is a big part why bullying has become such a hot button issue, moving from the real world playgrounds to the social media ones. Kids seem to be more susceptible to this than adults, at least from the stories the media decides to report on, but it still can result in anxiety and aggravation in all ages. Suicides are occurring in children way too young to be so full of worry and anxiety.
Facebook has rewired minds to the point that things that have no place in the public domain are out there now. To write on someone’s wall when you could just as simply text them privately (if that’s an option of course, sometimes you are not at sharing-the-cell-number levels quite yet) is a pretty obvious grab for attention. Why on earth do your 500+ Facebook friends need to see that you are on your way to someone else’s house? To see that you have something for someone? To know what your significant other should pick up from the grocery store? Seriously? Things that have no business being public are now seen by anyone looking through their newsfeed. Or maybe this goes back to getting your ego stroked? Can you think how weird it would be if you were having a conversation with someone face to face and a dozen other people stopped by to give you a thumbs up for every snippet of conversation or comment that they approved? Please visualize that for me, just as a quick show of comic relief.
Facebook seems to make face to face interactions even more difficult. How simple is it to post something on your page, tally up the likes, and then just move on to the next thing? (I talked about “trolling” old posts HERE). I can’t even count how many times I’ve brought up something that someone posted when I saw them face to face and they either had completely forgotten that post or since I didn’t have any way to publicly quantify my “liking” of it, it wasn’t quite as important.
Facebook has given countless people a “mouthpiece” and a captive audience. There is quite a power in words (still working on that post) and you can use yours for good OR bad. When you post something, where do your motivations lie? What are you hoping to achieve by that post? What good are you contributing to the world by tooting your own horn? There is a marked difference between saying “I just got my degree!” or “My son was just born!” and “My hair looks great today!”, “Yeah, so that guy at the store told me again how beautiful I am”, and “Getting my swole on for all those honeys”. Everyone has the right to want to feel appreciated, but if you constantly rely on Facebook for that gratification you will constantly be let down.
I saw something the other day (on Facebook of course!) that said “The sign of a healthy relationship is no sign of it on Facebook”. As humorous as it is, there is a level of truth to it. I’d like to add to that and say that the less time YOU spend on Facebook is probably better for your mental, and overall, health.
One of my biggest takeaways from the several articles I read while thinking about this post is below;
“The obvious question arises, then, in reference to this research, if users felt stress and anxiety why do they keep using Facebook? Dr. Charles contends that the overwhelming majority of participants in her study wanted to use Facebook to keep in contact with friends and not miss out on something important. This generates pressure, Charles argues, keeping users in a state of “neurotic limbo,” similar to gambling—staying in the game waiting for the next good thing to happen.
So it appears that despite its widespread use and well-publicized benefits, a social media site such as Facebook can have some negative effects.”
In closing, why DO we keep using Facebook? Why are YOU using Facebook? Why indeed?
See you back on there in March.
But only if you “like” my posts.
Some other articles worth checking out
–Science Daily Archives