Facebook: Friend or Foe?

Do all people have a secret desire to feel bad about themselves?

My hubby sent me an article yesterday addressing the question, “Is Facebook making us lonely?” I have been trying for hours to read said article but it is not loading. As I continue in my attempts to open and read it, I have been thinking…

While Facebook is a popular boredom-busting activity… it also provides more than we bargain for. I have heard from many people, as well as read research studies and experienced firsthand how Facebook has a tendency to produce the opposite response in which it intends. The goal of social networking is accomplished, yes, by helping old friends reconnect, allowing people to put needs out into the internet universe and find out about job opportunities, decide which jogging stroller is best and share news of engagements, pregnancies and the like.

But…

Does all this Facebook stalking ultimately cause more harm than good? It can definitely be said that Facebook accomplishes what it intends… it’s just that it accomplishes more and the more is not necessarily good.

A PhD student at Stanford University did a research study last year, looking at college students and their moods. The Anti Social Network describes the findings and states subjects consistently underestimated how dejected others were–and likely wound up feeling more dejected as a result. Facebook perpetuates this problem. Actually we all perpetuate this problem on Facebook with our ultra-cheery status updates, perfected Intstagram pics and desire to show off our best side only to the public. We want people to think our lives are all good.

The truth is many of the people posting about their seemingly perfect lives have blah days too. It’s not like we don’t know this of course and yet somehow we forget that as we’re drooling over the delicious recipes our friends are making and feeling lazy for not working out as much as them.

Comparing oneself to others is a mind game and it results in nothing positive.

  1. For starters, it is based on a false reality. Looking at Facebook for example, the happiness-factor is bumped up a few notches on most people pages. So the life you are comparing yours to is not necessarily represented accurately. Even in a non-Facebook setting, we can never fully understand the lives other people lead so to compare is to make assumptions that may or may not be true. We all know what happens when we assume.
  2. Comparing contradicts gratefulness. Being grateful brings about contentment and joy whereas comparing keeps you focused on what you don’t have.
  3. Comparing is a trap. It gets you stuck and keeps you from looking at your goals, your relationships, your present and future. It keeps you running an uphill battle where you will never feel good enough.

So why do we do it? There is an instinct in all of us to compare to some degree. But Facebook stalking is intentional. Is it curiosity that keeps us going back? Is it a desire deep within us to see if we are measuring up?

I’d love to know your thoughts!

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