So, I'm taking a little fast from Facebook this week. Why, you ask? Well, I hate to admit it, but I feel like Facebook has become something of an addiction in my life. When I find myself opening a tab and typing "fac" like it's a reflex, I know something's wrong. And a week may or may not fix this problem, but I'm more than willing to try.
You might be wondering, also, why I think this is a bad thing. Maybe you view it like I'm just a good friend-- staying in contact with those I don't see often. Or you might just think I'm a crazy stalker. In that case, you're probably right, since I read more than I contribute to the timeline. But hey, we all stalk, right?
All that said, I think now's a good time to talk about my views on Facebook in general.
First off, as a kind of disclaimer, I think the idea behind Facebook is great. Brilliant, even. A way to connect people across the globe through photos, statuses, and even face-to-face video chat. Doesn't get much better than that, from a communication standpoint. I'm on Facebook. (Stating the obvious.) I have almost two hundred friends and hundreds of statuses (and pictures) for those almost-two-hundred people to read/enjoy/browse through. I use it primarily to contact people I don't otherwise have contact with. Clearly, I'm not completely against it.
Yes, there is a but.
I think Facebook has a negative side, and something that's seriously worth considering. And no, I'm not talking about bullying, or relationship drama, or eleven-year-olds pretending to be thirteen. I'm talking about something I've felt the effects of myself, and while others may disagree, I think it could be a really big problem for Facebook users worldwide. Affecting everything from how we view our own lives and relationships to our overall happiness.
In general, it's our instinct as humans to compare ourselves to others. We compare our clothes, homes, technological gadgets, stories, talents, faces, bodies, boyfriends/girlfriends, cars-- you name it, someone's compared what they have to what someone else does.
So when you have a website that's literally packed with people posting pictures, statuses and videos of their STUFF and their THINGS and their LIVES, it's an invitation to comparison! 80% of the time, these 'news feeds' are positive. To name a few:
"Check out my new car! [Photo]"
"Welcome to the world, Baby Jane! [Photo]"
"Just got accepted to TheBest University!!!"
"Dinner with the fam. [Really sweet photo]"
"Check it out. [Photo of Awesome World Destination]"
"On the beach right now. [Temping photo]"
"Thanks, mom! [Photo of awesome birthday gift]"
[Photo of person living their dream]
[Photo of person having a great time at a party]
[Photo of person with lots of friends]
[Photo of person with cute cat]
[Photo of a book signing]
[Photo at a concert]
And the list goes ON and ON. (Sorry if a lot of those are teen-ish. You may see something different if the majority of your FB friends are in another stage of life. But you get the picture, right?)
You can imagine, for someone who's even the teensiest bit insecure, or someone who's dissatisfied with their life, or even just your average Joe, this list of positive stories and photos can be really depressing. That's because Facebook has the ability to paint a larger-than-life image of people's lives and experiences that could potentially have very negative effects on others.
But here's the twist. That picture of Your Facebook Friend with their 50 Friends at that Awesome Party at the Very Cool University they got into (where they're pursuing Big Dreams) is very likely not how it looks. Maybe that person's struggling with depression? Maybe someone in their family died that night? Maybe those aren't their REAL friends, and it's all fake? Those are a bit extreme, but the point is that you don't know. To the casual Facebook Stalker, it's going to look like a lot of fun. Definitely more fun than your night was-- catching up on laundry and cleaning mildew out of your shower.
You know what they say. The grass is always greener.
By this point, you've probably figured out that I'm drawing this from my own experiences. And you're right. I'll be honest. I've experienced 'Facebook depression.' I've been in places where I haven't been happy with my life, and I think a lot of that stemmed from scrolling through positive story after positive story.
I've compared my life to the virtual, honey-coated "realities" I see on Facebook. And let me tell you, it's not a cool place to be in. I'm a big believer in simple pleasures. In being thankful for what you have, big and small. So when a site is making me feel dissatisfied or unthankful, then I know it's time to unplug. Get off. Go outside and breathe the fresh air.
Well. That's me and Facebook.
I have lots of mixed and conflicted feelings about it, which makes me anxious for your feedback. Have you ever experienced Facebook Depression/Facebook Envy? Do you agree or disagree with what I've said (which in a nutshell is that Facebook can be a really toxic environment, especially for teenagers/young people who may be going through a time of questing who they are and their lives in general), or not?
Let it all out in the comments! I can't wait to discuss.
Best part of today: ?? Currently craving: Cake. Music pick: "Stupid" by Sarah McLachlan I'm reading: "The Crown" by Nancy Bilyeau WIP:To Save Them (revising)