Author Mark Rayner said, “People who have so much of their personality invested in the Internet can’t really survive as whole individuals without it.”
Facebook is a wonderful creation. It opens lines of communication between people far away and it allows individuals to build their social status. As great as social media is, there are plenty of downfalls.
Social media paves the way for sadness, life envy and feelings of loneliness. We look at the picture-perfect lives of our friends and wish that we had those things ourselves. The party pictures, the funny status updates, the wall comments — all of it coalesces into a socially constructed image of the perfect life and people yearn for it.
I’ve had to deal with my own feelings of being inconsequential. I used to creep on my friends because their pictures proved that they had fun while I sat in my pajamas and watched Netflix.
I think the worst part about social media is the way it makes our relationship interactions seem inadequate.
I’m not just talking about the engagement notifications, wedding pictures, or pregnancy updates. We feel inadequate because we don’t have enough friends or our friendships aren’t the same funny-crazy relationship was someone else.
Facebook opens the door for comparative behavior. We try to out-do one another and end up hating ourselves when it doesn’t work. There used to be a time when I would see: “Is in a relationship with…” and I would be sad because I hadn’t changed my relationship status.
All of these couples post private moments or little gag-inducing love notes on their walls. It’s hard to stomach that someone else is happy and taken, when you are the definition of “forever alone.” I termed this feeling the Social Media Induced Single Depression (SMISD).
Here are some ways to deal with SMISD, because if not treated immediately and regularly, it can cause you to do reckless regrettable things:
- Once you feel that first twinge of singlehood angst, scroll away as fast as you can.
- Stop creeping on your friend’s new boyfriend. Your excuse is that you want to make sure he’s good enough for your friend. But in reality, you’re hoping that he’s terrible so you can feel better about yourself. Facebook sleuthing is the worst sort of addiction, but it doesn’t help you feel any better.
- Take a vacation from Facebook for a week. Log out of your laptop. Uninstall your phone app. Sometimes, cutting yourself off will help ease the obsession and you’ll find that when you have to try to contact someone through other means, your relationships improve.
- Accept that what you see on Facebook are the special moments. Every relationship has it’s trials and those aren’t shown on social media. There is nothing that makes me rage more than passive aggressive couple statuses. The only thing more uncomfortable is when they argue in the comments section.
- Do something fun. Don’t take any pictures. Don’t check in anywhere. Don’t rely on people liking your photo for you to have fun. It’s not about them. It’s about you and your happiness.
Reach the blogger at Stephanie.Tate@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @StephanieITA