Facebook Blues: The Growing Divide Between Reality and Projection

Facebook represents the “largest database of social information the world has ever witnessed”.

Facebook represents the “largest database of social information the world has ever witnessed”.

 There are many taken-for-granted comforts we owe to Facebook.

The colossal social network has completely redefined “keeping in touch” as we know it. We may have had MSN Messenger and email, but even put together, their impact was not quite the same as Facebook’s.

The site has time and time again managed to create needs in its users and then subsequently fulfill that need. Very clever.

While we bow down before Facebook’s mastery, it must be acknowledged that it’s not without a ‘bug’.  Studies find that Facebook can make you wretched little being, Gollum-like almost.  

 That may be something of a hyperbole, but think about it: Facebook showcases unprecedented social information on the lives of our friends. While this influx keeps us updated with our contemporaries, social events and global news, it also evokes envy and depression on an equally unparalleled scale.

A plethora of studies together with in-depth probing has exposed several ways Facebook actually triggers negativity amongst its users.

A 2013 study by two German universities titled “Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction?” shed more light after the Michigan University’s findings on this phenomenon. This study employed views from 584 Facebook users.

Resentment: A universal cause of discontent through Facebook is triggered by the inevitable comparisons drawn to fellow “Friends” who always seem to be more content than ourselves. From frequenting luxurious vacations, successful jobs to happy relationships – we are exposed to it all.

The grass is always greener on the other side, but it’s hard to afford that viewpoint when users are wallowing in self pity.

The study also finds that those users who fail to garner the same enthusiastic feedback as their more popular counterparts get frustrated. This refers to the amount of ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ one receives on their activity.

Encourages a Distorted Image: The study found that Facebook encourages its users to try and represent themselves in the best light possible. The end result being that there is a major disconnect between the person tailoring their Facebook account and the virtual person on the screen. 

The study found that women tend to highlight their physical attractiveness whereas man stressed on their ‘About Me’s’ to appear cooler than their friends on Facebook.

It’s become a common joke now, with memes galore of duck faced, pouty women, but the reality is acerbically sad. People are no longer happy with themselves.

As with everything else in life, there are pros and cons.

To me, the benefits of a Facebook presence outweigh its definite drawbacks.  At the same time, there is nothing like a definite Facebook Hiatus in the form of a deactivation to put things back into perspective.

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