How many of your facebook friends do you actually hang out with?
And how does that make you feeeel?
Surprise surprise. Science says people who overuse Facebook and overshare tend to be depressed. I’m an excellent example of somebody who used Facebook for many moons as a tool to talk to people without actually having to be around them (AKA complaining without having to hear other people complain back. Or see them roll their eyes). When I walked like Igor under the weight of painful disc issues, I was too proud (euphemism for “vain bastard”) to get out and actually socialize. But now… eh, actually I’m still too lazy to make the effort for meetups. But to my credit, I at least sorta realize the nature of my sharing violations.
Most posts and updates are far rarer today than they were a year or so ago.
And it’s not because I’ve joined the circus or am climbing Mount Whateveropalous in Anywhere-but-heregistan. It just hit me like a rapist’s crowbar one day, how absurd the social media spectacle can be. And I fell into a nauseated cringe spasm at my pixel pals and some of their posts. Not because I’m any better, but because it resonated with me. That lack of real connection that drives a need to check in constantly with the barometer of external validation. And we want our social temperature fast. “Am I pretty in this new dress? How about today? Do you love what I’m doing? Are you jealous I went here? Do you agree with my narrowminded opinions? Refresh! Refresh!
There’s nothing refreshing about it.
And was I alone? Only literally.
Apparently a lot of lonely or socially scared folk do this. Studies documented that a large percentage of people who “overshared” described themselves as lonely when surveyed. When online friends didn’t like their statuses or posts, it made them feel ignored or irrelevant. So, then, what must be the interactive-addict flipside? If you’re super popular on social media – is it like miniature fame? The legions of likers are like fans instead of friends?
Either way, we end up waiting for someone else to tell us we’re good enough, right?
The thing is, even for those who don’t start off all sad inside, Facebook makes it really easy to use other people and get away with it. I don’t have to see your reaction if I don’t reply. And you won’t know if I’m lying when I say “Oh, I didn’t see your message/comment/post about that stupid thing I chose to ignore.” And that deception and self-interest garden grows unfulfilling fetid fruit that putrefies inside us.
The infiltration of news stories doesn’t help much, either.
Remember when Facebook was like a newsfeed of AIM away messages? That was fun. Once trends and controversy infiltrated it, the opinion parade began, along with arguments, debates, and all the shitty things about meaningless trends. Now, it’s like schizophrenic information. Scrolling down my feed – whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, there’s never anything consistent. It’s like when I was watching the news this morning (“A jogger got raped on a trail. A fifteen year old was assaulted in the toilet. It’s gonna be a beautiful day!”)
Tantamount to an informational speedball, I’m left with the same heart-racey feeling should I remain there too long. Whether I’m scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (which offered a beautiful example just the other day), it’s all the same:
(In the defense of whatever’s happening here: if you’re going to watch porn, not stealing it would be the more spiritual choice)
The emotional inconsistency and conflicting ideals makes for what I call schizofriendia. I’ll see one friend like something, another hate it, a comment argument break out, invectives get launched, and then I just get nervous and hide under my coffee table and talk to neither of them. ‘cause I’m a spineless Switzerland and refuse to take sides. Before I know it, I’m questioning what I believe. And who I am. Because the people I want to like my post may not like that person.
Much easier to hide my actual face in a real book. With pages.