Facebook: The Necessary Evil
Facebook has been around for what seems like forever. Actually, it was invented and became available to college students in 2004. I know this because in my freshman year computer class, we had to do a project on new technologies, and one kid did his on Facebook. I did mine on MP3s. …I feel old.
Now Facebook is available to anyone with an email address. And knowing that ANYONE can see your information is bound to lead us to talk up our lives to make everything seem just peachy. Originally when I was formulating this post in my mind, it was going to be specifically for annoying wall posts, such as this:
I’m all for you being happy about getting married, but I don’t need to know EVERY step of every day. I read an article a while ago that pointed out how seeing these kinds of posts all the time can make you feel bad about yourself. Example: I am the same age as this person, and no where near getting married. She probably also has a great job. And a great place to live. And so on. See where I’m going with this?
Then I started doing some research. I was pretty surprised to find that there is an actual study that supposedly proves that Facebook increases your self esteem. In a round about way:
According to the Hyperpersonal Model, the internet allows users to selectively self-present themselves. While editing our Facebook profile, we take care to select what comments and images make our wall, and what items should be deleted or untagged. Over time we can incorporate this online positive image of our selves into our self-conceptions.
So, you’re lying to yourself so much you finally believe it?
“Unlike a mirror, which reminds us of who we really are and may have a negative effect on self-esteem if that image does not match with our ideal, Facebook can show a positive version of ourselves,” explains Jeffery Hancock, co-author of the study. “We’re not saying that it’s a deceptive version of self, but it’s a positive one.”
Oh, as long as it’s positive it’s not a lie. Got it.
After reading this article, I felt like this was backing up what I was saying about feeling bad about yourself. You can update your Facebook so it looks like you’re doing well, but then doesn’t it make sense that you would eventually look at your real life and realize it is nothing like what you have made yourself believe it is? Plus, everyone else building up their lives will eventually effect you too. I found another article (yes, it’s from Cosmo…I do my best, okay?) that claims to prove this point:
With all that bragging, it’s no wonder a Stanford University study found that social networking sites create feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction.
a separate study by York University in Canada found that people with low self-esteem and narcissistic tendencies were the most likely to use Facebook to “self-promote.” Basically, what you see there is not an accurate representation of the person’s real life.
Okay, so maybe some of you don’t think its a big deal. You take everything you see on Facebook with a grain of salt. But for the small percentage of those who agree with what I’m saying and maybe feel a little deflated when you see the relationship status change from “In a Relationship” to “Engaged”, or a post about a promotion to the dream job, or those annoying “My baby is 26 weeks today!” posts, think about what it really means. Their life is probably the same as yours; yours may even be better.
I’m not totally knocking Facebook. I’m obsessed with it, and I think it is a great way to network and keep in touch with friends and family. For a lot of web-based businesses, its critical for their advertising to reach the masses without spending a ton of money. But don’t let sugary-sweet posts ruin your day. Before I sign out, here are some interpretations of statuses you can keep in mind when browsing your newsfeed:
Status: It’s an Hermes and Tiffany’s birthday! My hubby is beyond.
Translation: I am willing to overlook the fact that my hubby thinks my clitoris is two inches south of where it really is because his bank account is beyond.
Status: Everyone told me I was going to get zero sleep these first few months of parenthood, but little Matty is just so amazing and lets his Momma get eight solid hours every single night!
Translation: Lack of zzzs has made me delusional to the point that I really think this is true. Did I also mention that Little Matty was born potty-trained and bilingual? Yup-sir-ee!