I don't remember when it was exactly, but a few months ago I was reading an article about how research has proven a link between teenage depression and Facebook usage. (I am sure you could still run the search for it on Yahoo News.) As I read it, I remembered thinking, "how sad that our younger generation has such a skewed view of both friendships and reality!"
Fast forward a few months, and you might be able to compare me to a few of those teenagers.
As lame as that was for me to admit, I have to confess that it's true. Though I wouldn't necessarily say I am "depressed" because I use Facebook, it has been a cause of some gloomy moments for me, and I have had to check myself when I want to jump to some hasty conclusions about my friends.
(Warning: The lame admission trend is about to continue...)
I love how Facebook has kept me connected with so many true friends or family members that I would otherwise be too busy/lazy to keep in touch with if they weren't all in one place. But I also hate the crazy, obsessive person it can create in my own private thoughts from time to time.
The other day, I caught myself looking at the top stories displayed on my Newsfeed page and I began noticing these really extreme numbers for their comments and likes. My initial thought was, "Holy crap! That chick's got a lot of friends! Good for her!" But as I let my mind rest on those numbers later in the day, I almost got a little jealous.
I have to tell you frankly (because honestly at this point, there is little left to lose!) I got a little peeved. I couldn't help but question, why can someone post a status along the lines of "I have decided to cut some people out of my life; it is time for me to make a change" and have 27 people click "like" and I can post something like "I'm pregnant! I am adding another person into my life!" and 12 people "like" it? How can a person post a picture of their breakfast and have 30 people "like" it and I can post a picture of my kid on the moon and only have about 4 people "like" it.
(These are purely hypothetical, by the way. I am neither pregnant nor have my children been to the moon--in real life anyway. Sammi has quite an imagination;))
These questions spurred on additional questions:
Do my friends not like me as much as I thought they did?
Am I not as interesting/funny as I think I am?
What makes that other person more likable than me?
OMG!!! Am I really obsessing over Facebook this much?!?!
And as painful and embarrassing as it is for me to reveal how trivial I have been about all of this to you, in my heart of hearts I know a lot of you can relate on some tiny level. At the very least, don't you get a little excited to see that someone actually has "liked" your status or left a cute/supportive comment? I read another article that said the average person with a smart phone checks it about 34 times a day--and each viewing takes about 30 seconds or something outrageous like that. (I think I saw this on CNN.) "Why?" you may ask... Because people's brains respond positively to seeing a notification either that they've received a new email or have an update on their Facebook page. We like having the visual affirmation that people "like" us!
Thankfully, Facebook has been a relatively new trend for me, and I am able to catch myself when my brain goes a little too far.
Do my friends like me? Yes. In fact, my friends will continue to like me in spite of this pitiful blog! And they don't have to "like" me all the time to prove it.
Am I as interesting/funny as I think I am? Probably not :) But I make myself laugh and that should count for something.
What makes that other person more likeable than me? Nothing. Their friends all have smart phones and are habitually checking their Facebook page lol
Am I really obsessing over Facebook this much?!?! Yes, weirdo. Stop it now. Better yet, pick up your phone and schedule a date to meet up with a friend!!!
Sammi has a book that says: I'm gonna like me because I'm loved and I know it, and liking myself is the best way to show it.
I know I am loved--even if I am not always "liked."