I came across this item a few days ago – the hardly surprising revelation that lurking around on Facebook makes you miserable. Although ‘lurking’ – looking at social media without interacting with anyone – is specifically mentioned, social media in general get’s a bit of a hammering.
This isn’t anything new, of course – I remember some years ago some studies being published that suggested that people got depressed when looking at the social media – particularly Facebook – feeds of their friends who always seemed to be telling us all about their wonderful lives featuring beautiful people in beautiful places doing exciting and fascinating things with and to each other.
Of course, most of these feeds were actually less than 100% accurate, with people cherry picking their lives to put up a good image, or even lying their pants off. Whatever else, social media doesn’t seem to always induce truth-telling!
I’ve never been able to understand why people tell porkies on their social media feeds. If you’re trying to impress people who know you more than a little, then surely those folks know when you’re stretching the truth. And if you’re trying to impress people who don’t know you very well, why bother?
“Researchers warn of envy and a “deterioration of mood” from spending too long looking at other people’s social media stories, induced by “unrealistic social comparisons”.
The funny thing is that I KNOW all this, but even I fall prey to it. If I’m feeling a bit down, a bit lost, a bit ‘Meh’ and I see someone on Facebook who appears to ‘have it all together’ I have to say that I get envious and I get that deterioration of mood. I know in my head that everyone has their own problems to deal with, and that a story or photo on Facebook is very much a snapshot of an instant in that person’s life, but it still sometimes gets to me.
I think I agree with the other findings of the researchers “Actively engaging in conversation and connecting with people on social media seems to be a much more positive experience,” It’s only when you start to engage with people that you do find out whether their lives are as ‘picture perfect’ as they appear to be or whether you just caught them on a very good day. Or, who knows, whether they are lying narcissists after all.
There’s a couple of pictures of me out there where I appear to be (for me) in ‘party animal’ mode. What folks don’t know (or many don’t know) is that those pictures were taken of me at a time in my life when I was under the hammer somewhat, and that ‘shit was going down’ in my life that I hadn’t seen fit to share on social media. I do wonder how many other pictures and posts we see from people who appear to be having a perfect life (compared to ours) are taken when things aren’t good at all?
There’s a book called ‘Survivors of Steel City’ about people in Sheffield, written by psychologist Geoff Beattie, and in it there’s a story of a guy who drove the top of the range cars, was seen in the top night-spots, dressed immaculately. However, this was his ‘weekend persona’ – the rest of the time he live din a flat on a council estate, the car was hired, and the weekend club life was the total high-spot of his week. I guess that that shows that there is nothing new under the sun – had social media been around back then we can only imagine his posts!
One solution to the angst produced by social media suggested by the researchers was to take a week off social media every now and agan. I can say that this works; every now and again I take a time out and it resets my attitude and my online bull-shit detector.
In the meantime, can I interest you in some possibly faked up photos of me ski-ing down the Eiger accompanied by a multitude of bkini clad beautiful people?