Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines Social Media as: “Forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).”
So maybe these posts should be more appropriately named as The Dangers of Social Networking because I am talking specifically about what we do with our social media through the networks or platforms that we utilize.
Now that we have the specifics out of the way, let’s get down to the meat of this post.
I started this series because of my own disinterest with social media that I started to have. I found myself spending a ridiculous amount of time on Facebook browsing through literally nothing. I deactivated my account at the end of October and only hop on about once a week for a few minutes to see if my family has posted any pictures, or to see if anything actually important has happened. Something interesting pops up about once a month.
Think about that, once a month something actually interesting happens on my Facebook.
Now, I am not like some with 2,000 plus followers or “friends” on my Facebook, I only have about 150, but still, once a month? That’s low considering how many hours a week we spend on Facebook.
But that’s not the point of this post.
The last post I discussed the Era of Look At Me, how the cell phone camera hasn’t helped us, and how people overshare on their social networking sites. This post is going to dive into more of the psychological nuances of Facebook.
The reasons why we are all so addicted to it.
Keeping Up With The
How many people do you follow or have friended on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or SnapChat that you are genuinely interested in knowing how they are doing? You talk to your family on a regular basis, so they’re out of the picture. You speak with your best friend all of the time, so they also do not count. But you have well over five hundred people, maybe into the thousands, you follow or have friended on your various sites. Why? Do you know these people?
Ask yourself how many of those “friends” you would invite over to your home for a quiet dinner? Or to your wedding?
So, then, what is the real reason you’re “friends” with them?
According to an article on Harvard Business Review called, “A New, More Rigorous Study Confirms: The More You Use Facebook, the Worse You Feel,” makes this statement in the first paragraph of the article:
The average Facebook user spends almost an hour on the site every day, according to data provided by the company last year. A Deloitte survey found that for many smartphone users, checking social media apps are the first thing they do in the morning – often before even getting out of bed.
The reason I pick up my phone in the morning is because it is making an annoying sound at me prompting me to get my buns out of bed and get to work. I don’t bother hopping onto any social media anything until I am drinking my breakfast shake, about an hour or more after I have woken up.
If your first and last action at the start and end of your day is to hop onto your social media, ask yourself why? What are those people posting about that intrigues you so much? Why do you need to get likes on your posts/pictures? Why do you follow or have “friended” so many strangers?
The reason is due to something called Self-Comparison.
According to Changing Minds, Self-Comparison is the theory that, “We learn about our own abilities and attitudes by comparing ourselves with other people and their opinions. Mostly, we seek to compare ourselves with someone against whom we believe we should have reasonable similarity, although in the absence of such a benchmark, we will use almost anyone.”
In fewer words, we follow the people we follow because we are silently comparing our lives, and ourselves, to them. Does that sound healthy to you?
At this point, we are no longer engaging in healthy relationships via long distance or hardly any distance at all, we are fueling an unhealthy relationship with our egos to make us feel as though we are better than those around us.
Thus the whole Keeping Up With The Joneses header comes in to play.
We keep up with those that we are either secretly hoping will not succeed in life, so that we can feel better as we have successes or failures of our own, or those of whom are doing well for themselves and we dream that we will one day be like them.
Self-Comparison sucks, plain and simple.
Status Is Everything
So, if Self-Comparison feels so crappy, why do we allow it to happen? Well, we have been doing it subconsciously for so long that the chances of us actually realizing that it’s happening to us is slim.
Through Self-Comparison, our society has created the sense that status (wealth, big house, fancy clothes, fancy cars, etc.) is everything we need to gain true happiness. Oh, and a super hot bod that we get from not taking selfies at the gym.
In order to be happy we have to be 1) super fake (is what we post on social networking sites real?), 2) super fit, 3) have tons of money to blow, 4) the fanciest cars and cell phones, and 5) caked on makeup.
The SnapChat filters people use to make themselves look better are just the cherry on top. That’s not really what your skin looks like. The globs of makeup you are hiding behind says more about your insecurities than your artistic abilities. And the fancy tech you just dropped from three feet in the air says that you carry a credit card.
Status is everything to us.
Status has always been a big deal in our society, always. People with money hold all the power, but are the people we follow on social media really wealthy or is it all pretend? I ere on the side that the majority of people we see in and around our lives are pretending to be wealthy for the sake of status than reality.
We live in a world filled with fake people.
This, ladies and gentleman, is the main reason I don’t have friends or get our much, that, and I really don’t do well in crowds.
My Take On Social Media
You’ve read the facts and I encourage you to do more research on your own, but now, here’s how I feel.
I joined social networking sites about around ten years ago, so right in the middle of everything really taking off. During that time, I have watched friends slowly drift to becoming not my friends, and developing friendships with people I had always admired. I have tried to not friend people who aren’t really my friend, and got rid of those I had added before I came to the decision that I didn’t want a ton of weirdos on my social media. I have seen a bunch of people make false posts, make themselves out to be far better than they are, I have seen people put each other down because they could hide behind their screen, and I have seen “friendships” fall apart because someone said something wrong.
Social networking certainly has its pros and cons, but to what end?
Where do we draw the line on what we share, care about, follow, or people we friend with social media?
As little as I use my social sites, I knew I had had enough of Facebook. Even now, if I sign in, it is all a bunch of rubbish. People posting their next diet or exercise fad, someone trying to get you to buy some garbage that will supposedly make you thin, people hating on the world, each other, and everything else, and people being generally crappy to everyone around them but still want pity.
It’s a well full of self-loathing, selfish, and self-centered individuals who don’t care about anyone or anything except for themselves and I just can’t be surrounded by that kind of negativity.
Facebook is the equivalent of seeing your neighbors house burn, not telling anyone about it and going about your business, then later on telling everyone how you helped out and saved the day.
I am sure that Facebook was once a lovely place to catch up with your Aunt Betty from Rhode Island, but it’s not really like that anymore.
If you’re looking to catch up with someone, get their address and send them a letter. Not an email, a real letter that requires paper, a pen, and a stamp.
Get out of the sucking well of Facebook & Friends Social Media Hell, INC.
Social media can be used as a tool for marketing, ad agencies, and can be a good source for news (when it is reliable), but too often the good is outweighed by the bad.
It is unfortunate that we spend such an incredible amount of time wasting away staring at our screens trying to make ourselves “better” instead of going out and doing something about who we are. We won’t ever lose those ten pounds if we just sit on Pinterest staring at workout exercises instead of picking up the weights. We won’t succeed if we don’t start somewhere.
And as always, thanks for reading.
So, what do you think? Do you agree with the theory of Self-Comparison? Do you think that social media is a pit filled with self-centered people?