Unless we have regular contact with people outside of Facebook, we don’t really know our Facebook friends.
Did that sound rather harsh and, you’re disagreeing with me right now saying, “I do know my Facebook friends!”
Let me say this in a different way.
If we aren’t regularly talking to, seeing or meeting with our Facebook friends and we only see them on Facebook, we don’t really know them. All we know is what they’ve posted on their Facebook walls and, most of that is purely the good things, jokes, videos and happy pictures of them and their other friends or family. We don’t get to see the other parts of them or their lives and therefore, we don’t really know them.
I tried an experiment this past week. I asked my Facebook friends if they only post the good in their lives. The answer was a resounding “yes”. Reasons ranged from responses such as, “I don’t want to post the bad times on Facebook” to “I only want to see the good because life is hard enough.”
If everyone is only posting jokes or the good in their lives, we are only seeing (in most cases) about half or less of that person’s real life, thoughts and feelings. That means that over half or better, is hidden. How can you truly know someone if you’re only seeing a small portion of them or their lives? The answer is, “you don’t and you can’t”. That’s often why, when we finally do get a chance to talk to or meet Facebook friends, we find ourselves re-thinking whether or not we like them or we don’t. More often than not, we’ll find ourselves stunned at how much we don’t like them and will utter things to ourselves or others, “he/she isn’t what I thought. They are so different on the phone or in person.”
Facebook is a facade. It’s like Hollywood where everything and anything can be made to appear real but, if we were to go behind the scenes and see how they really did it, we’d be less than impressed with what we were seeing on the screen. The editing, the special effects, the computer generated backgrounds etc., all make the movie seem realistic. Getting to see how it was really done, opens our eyes to the fact that the guy who appeared to be able to fly from building to building was only stepping across chairs with a green screen behind him. For those who know that it’s all effects in a movie, it’s no big deal and nothing but entertainment but, for a child that movie seemed real.
In much the same way as Hollywood produced movies, most people’s walls are nothing but illusion towards the good, happy, fun times. If you’re vulnerable within yourself or your own life, Facebook can be the absolute worst place to be because everyone else’s lives are going to appear rosy while you’re wallowing in despair.
“What’s wrong with me? Why isn’t my life going better? Everyone else is out partying or at family gatherings. Why am I such a loser,” you may be asking yourself after spending an hour or so, looking at friend’s posts on the Home Feeds.
The reality is, there is nothing wrong with you or your life…at least, not by comparison to your Facebook friend’s lives. Some may have times when they are out more than you. Others may seem to have more family and friends. However, what you’re not seeing them post, are the things that they are dealing with in their own lives. You’re not seeing the financial problems they are having, the abusive husband/boyfriend or the girlfriend who is threatening to end their lives. You’re also not seeing that their homes are falling apart but, they spent their money on clothes instead. There’s very little that you’re seeing on Facebook that would tell you the true story behind people’s lives. It’s all an edited and carefully selected version of their lives that you’re seeing and not reality or a three dimensional view of them.
If you’re down and feeling depressed about yourself and, or your life, Facebook is not the place to compare yourself to or with. Your friend’s lives are not that charmed and you’ve been hit by The Devil. If you want real life, get out there and into the world where you’ll find a more realistic view of people to compare yourself to. Talk to people, ask them questions about their lives, listen to their struggles and you’ll often find that you’re not as bad off as you think that you are…at least, not through comparison. Even with your Facebook friends, private message them and ask them if their lives are really as peachy as they’ve painted it on their walls. If they know you well enough or are honest people, they will likely tell you that they have problems up the wazoo too. No one’s lives are as perfect as they are painted on Facebook…which begs the question of what we’re all doing there in the first place? If things are only one dimensional, jokes or hand picked moments in time, why don’t we simply look at it as a good joke book or cyber space place to post how we wish our lives could be?
From my little corner of life, Facebook should be taken as entertainment only. It’s not to be taken as reality. Enjoy the frivolity of it all but, don’t take it seriously and stay away from it when you’re feeling like you’re a failure or you’re down on yourself unless you can look at your friend’s walls as nothing but a fiction story, built around a tad of truth.
Stay healthy, stay well, take Facebook for what it is. A joke.