Twin Moment

Writers. Twins. Biologically unrelated. Laughing at
ourselves (and each other), listening to amazing
music, and living life epically. We present, our blog.
Prepare to be astounded.

The Effects of Facebook

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)

8 epic comments:

Ummmmmmm no.

But that may be b/c my self-esteem is unnatural. I cringe at a lot of things other people post -- "They're gonna regret that in the morning" or "I can't believe they think that's clever." I find a lot of things self-indulgent.

I deactivate my facebook occasionally, but the truth is, it's the easiest way to communicate with people for, like group projects and stuff. Easier than texting, too, if you want to talk to someone.

I don't think facebook is the problem; self-esteem is. However, the self-esteem issue is not fixed overnight--it's something our culture has shoved on our shoulders.

This may be harsh. *shrug* It's not meant to be personal :)


No, no. Not harsh at all. :) You're right. Esteem IS the issue. But I feel like Facebook has only intensified what's already a natural problem.

I agree, FB is easier than texting. That's primarily why I'm on it. I use it more than my phone to communicate. (I hate phones, anyway.)

I cringe at things people post nowadays, too. But back in the day, it mattered to me. And I will admit to still feeling jealous when I see someone pursuing something I wish I was-- like a photo of someone in a dance studio, or a post about going to Europe. You know. That kind of thing.

Thanks for commenting!


I...haven't. At least not that I can remember. And I am not like Taryn with an unnaturally high self-esteem. :P (I love you Taryn, REALLY.)

Now SEEING people in RL might. Because I do have low self-esteem sometimes. But on FB, if I see things like that, I usually just have a passing, "Oh, that's nice." or "I wish I could do that!" thought. I dunno why, it just doesn't bother me much. *shrugs*

I sorta agree with Taryn––it's not just that self-esteem issues are a huge part of the current culture, but also that, at least in my opinion, a lot of people don't share the negative in their lives. They want to portray themselves to others in the best light, to seem perfect––another result of our culture. And that's not good. People and their lives are made up of good and bad and it's okay to share the bad as well as the good. I mean, don't be a downer all the time, but don't be afraid to hide it. But then again, this is Facebook. It's sorta where a lot of people have "friends" they hardly know and might not want to be privy all the personal details, especially the bad ones. I just think people should be as honest with each other as possible, on principle.


@Twin Well said! I LOVE that last paragraph. You're a smart one, you are. XD

Wish I could be the same way. I'm starting to wonder if this is just my own problem. O_o *ponders*


No, I know someone else who made a comment running along the same lines once, so it's not JUST you. And thank you, sometimes I try. XD


I've found myself on both sides of the issue—a couple years ago, it kind of depressed me that there were all these people I wanted to know better, but somehow couldn't get to know. In essence, I was depressed that I had so many acquaintances and so few actual friends; I'd see those people on Facebook hanging out with other people I knew, and I'd be like, 'Ugh! I wish we could be friends, too!'. But there's always been this barrier holding me back, both from others and within myself, preventing it.

I'm better at dealing with it now, though—I suppose it's called being resigned, lol. Nowadays, it's generally, 'oh, that's nice', and I move on. There's also a lot of cringing, from the arrogant people posting 'wise sayings' and 'witticisms', which are in quotations for a reason. -_- I figure I don't have pictures of me hanging out with my friends on Facebook because we're living the experiences instead of stopping every five seconds to take pictures of them. ^_~* Plus we don't hang out that often, so…yes.

To sum up, I think FB can be a magnifying glass for the angst/self-worth issues already there, and so, can be a negative as well as positive tool. As an aside, I don't really like the term self-esteem, because I believe Americans are much too invested in the idea of feeling good about oneself, rather than doing good things worthy of actual praise—the very nature of it is a selfish one, so…*shrugs* that's how I see it. I'm not on FB that often—I get on, check my notifications, skim through the news feed, then sign off. I barely even post statuses anymore, because I feel like nobody would read/care if I did, so it's not worth the effort. …Thanks to Facebook, I've become a social nihilist. O_o


I'm back to posting opuses! WOOT WOOT. XD


@Amanda Haha, I love your opuses! They're always well-thought-out and exceedingly wise. :P

I understand what you mean about wishing to know people better!! Been there done that, too. And yes, I do a TON of cringing these days. O_o

True, true, and true! And I love what you say about self-esteem-- I think you're right! That's food for though, there. *ponders*


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