Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Comparing Ourself With Others on Facebook

There is a saying in the Bible that says

“If your eye offend thee, pluck it out.”  (Matthew 18:9)

When I look at Facebook, my eye offends me.  In fact, I have found that it is not only my eye that offends me, but also my thoughts.   (A)social media websites were, at one time, thought as a way for people to keep in contact with others.  Over time that view has began to shift.  While some still think that sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are great ways to keep connections with others, the dark reality is that they are devices in which people compare themselves to others.  Now may be a good time to LinkOut, if you know what I mean.

When we feel bad about our lives and look at the lives of people that we have relationships and connections with and see that they are doing better than us, we often feel bitter about our own lives.  But, we have to stand back for a minute and ask ourselves: Are the lives of others that we are comparing ourselves to really as great as they seem on the internet?

What if LinkedIn profiles stated these types of facts?
Oftentimes we pick and choose a part of someone else’s life that we want to have.  For example, one of our LinkedIn connections may have a better job than us, and we feel jealous about their position.  Yet, when we look at their entire life, is it something that is as perfect as it seems?  Does the LinkedIn connection tell the world about his status as a registered sex offender?  Does the LinkedIn connection share with the world that, besides having a job as a vice president, that he has an addiction to heroin that is starting to spiral out of control and interfere with his marriage?  Does the person on Facebook who just shared pictures of his vacation that you are coveting so hard also share with you the fact that he has been contending with an intense case of chronic hemorrhoids that even his doctor is baffled by?  Does the LinkedIn connection that just got promoted and shares with the world that he can speak three languages and is transferring offices from New York to Singapore, complete with housing paid for and four months paid vacation also share with the rest of the world that his wife has been cheating on him with his brother for three years and he is too terrified to confront her about it even though he is confident and poised in an office setting?  Does he share with you that he sometimes has incontinence when he thinks about it? 

Does the person who shares with the world that she is getting married to a rich banker who lives in a really huge house in Santa Barbara also share the fact that she battled with miscarriages for six years and finally had a child who grew up to disown her over her religious beliefs?  

The truth is, (a)social networks are filled with half truths and do not paint a clear picture of a person’s entire life.  Why would a person share intimate facts like the ones above on a LinkedIn or Facebook profile?  The point of those sites is to make people show off their lives to the world.   Nobody wants to talk about wetting the bed on their Facebook profile.  Nobody is going to mention that they can not control their marriage on LinkedIn.  Sadly, most of us are too dumb to realize that most of what we are seeing is inflated egos bursting out of control on sites like these.  Much of what people put on LinkedIn profiles are inflated job descriptions that are worded to make them sound like they are amazing individuals who accomplish what is almost inhumanly possible.  On Facebook, many create a profile that is meant to strike at the heart of those who are they are jealous of or competitive with.  Many are vying against siblings who are also painting a rosy picture of their life and a huge amount of people do not want to play second fiddle to an older brother, a domineering sister, a bully from high school, or the guy who ended up stealing the heart of your girlfriend in college.  

(A)social media websites can make a person incredibly depressed when people compare themselves with others.  When we see the pictures of the new house, the perfect husband (he never raises his voice or farts in his sleep), or the car that we will probably never be able to afford, we get very jealous.  

If we can not control our feelings we should consider not going to these sites.  The truth is, many people log out of sites like these feeling discontent with their own lives because they think that the lives of others is better than theirs, even though they have no clue what the other person’s life is really like.  Do you feel angry when you leave Facebook?  Do you compare your life with other people on these websites?  Why log in then?  What is Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as other websites, doing for you?  Is it making your life better or does it just make you feel depressed?  Are you spending too much time thinking about other people on and off (a)social media?  If so, now is a great time to walk away.  Tell yourself that your life is too important to waste on the internet. You have better things to do than compare yourself with others.  Why covet the lives of other people when we have our lives to live?  If you are spending your time on Facebook and other such sites, chances are, you are going to stagnate in life and not move forward.  Unplug yourself and do something today to make your life a better life.  Tackle the real problems in your life and leave the fantasy world of (a)social media behind.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Facebook Addict (Facebook Addiction)

Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol,cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others. 
You woke up in the night having to use the bathroom, but the first thought on your mind is checking for likes.  It's like a drug.  You reach for your phone, feeling exhaustion.  You know looking at the screen is going to affect your sleep quality.  However, it is more important to see if your comments and posts got you the popularity that you crave.  After all, that would mess with your sleep, too.

So, you grab the phone and turn on the light.  Your eyes flinch, you feel a daze.  Your thumb moves to the Facebook app without thinking.  You are so used to going to that button that you could do it blindfolded.  Nope, no likes, you hiss in your mind.  You feel a bit upset.  You spent five minutes coming up with that status message!  You edited, erased, rewrote, edited and thought it over over it until you hit the enter button. And nobody even seemed to notice.  What gives?  You check to see who is online.  Earl, Judy - Even Ray is there.  Ray usually likes everything you say.  But not this?

Did I say something wrong?

You turn off the phone and lay it under your pillow.  I'll check in the morning you tell yourself.  But you can not sleep.  Half an hour goes by and you realize, looking at your phone, that you never let go of it when you went to put it under the pillow.  In fact, you grabbed it right back out and you have been looking through Facebook the entire time.  You see that your sister posted some more pictures from a vacation she went on two and a half years ago.

Those posts all got at least 10 likes each!

Seething, you move to some posts that some of your old high school and college friends posted a while back.  You do not follow most of them because they mostly post pictures of their kids or things you could care less about.  However, you are curious how a couple of them are doing, and what better time to check up on old friends than at 3 A.M. when you are already somewhat annoyed and upset?

You first check the guy you never really cared for in high school.  Why you are friends on Facebook is beyond you.  Perhaps it is because he was one of the first people you added when signing up.  It asked you where you went to school and gave you some suggestions and since you wanted a nice little network of people, you sent him a friend request.  Now you are looking at his profile with a scowl on your face.  He's a vice president at a consulting firm.  Great.  Moving on.

You wonder if you should play emotional roulette by checking up on another person from high school that you were ultra competitive with.  You decide to and check another profile.  His profile picture shows him with a puppy.  How cute.  You roll your eyes.   It is time to dig deeper.  You can not help but grin when you find out that he's actually proud of his job as a used car salesman.  You feel a bit smug for a second.  I did better than this joker, you tell yourself.  And his wife is ugly to boot.

You are feeling somewhat more tired, but you are on a roll.  Why sleep now?  After all, you do not have to work until 10 am.  So, you continue to look through the profiles of old friends.  Why not check out that girl that you had a huge crush on in college?  Sometimes she actually likes some of your witty posts.  It looks like she works at the post office.  Sadly, she is getting married to a guy who has two kids as baggage from two previous marriages.  What a catch...  Surely she could have done better.  She could have done me...

Do you sleep easier at night knowing that you are acquiring "likes" as you sleep?

You do this for a while longer and then wake up.  You realize you fell asleep with your phone in your hand.  Some of those profiles must have been a dream right?  Who knows, the only thing that is certain is your eyes are bloodshot and there is a streak of crusty drool running down to your chin.  It's wakey wakey time, and it's almost time to get to work.

I slept in until 9 am?  Reaching for your phone, you check to see if that post got you a like.  It did! Oh wow, who liked it?  Oh come on, my mother?!  She auto likes everything when she logs on once a month!  

On the way to work you are still thinking about Facebook.  You can not stop.  While others are eating breakfast, you are hungry for likes.  While others are spending time with their families, you are spending time wondering what to post, how popular you are, and what your life would look like if Facebook somehow disappeared.  What horror of horrors!

As you work, you are constantly looking behind you, to see if your supervisor is watching.  She knows you sneak on Facebook, but you do not know that she knows.  In fact, you are oblivious to the fact that your computer is being monitored while you work.  But do not sweat, almost every employee you work with also uses Facebook at work while the boss is not looking.  When the layoffs come, you can bet that those who were on Facebook the most will be likely to be let go of first.

I wonder if my ex girlfriend ever got into Stanford you ask yourself.  You really do not want to know, but secretly you wish that she was denied.  You never used to wish failure on others so much when you were not on Facebook, but now you feel that you have to compete with everyone.  You think back to when you spent three hours making your profile background picture.  It was time well spent. You got so many compliments on that picture.  The lighting, the angle, and the content were just so right.  It was a proud moment for you.

Your glazed eyes pass along your newsfeed.  You are exhausted.  Why would you not be?  Every night you have spent more and more time looking at your phone instead of actually sleeping like a normal human being.  Behind the wheel you check your Facebook profile every chance you get.  You actually pray for red lights and traffic jams as you sit there, phone in lap, waiting for the next chance to connect to Facebook and disconnect from the world around you.  If you could exist in the phone and erase your regular world existence, you probably would.  In fact, you wrote an essay about such a topic in college.  It got you a D- in college writing but at least 35 likes on Facebook.  Your friends agreed the professor was a douche; how could he not see it your way?  After all, you were not alone in your desire to make Facebook your permanent home.  Life, along with all it's hassles is a drag. You lost points for the bad grammar (use of it's instead of its) and for the fact that your essay sounded like it was written by an angry fifteen year old with a serious attitude problem.  How could that professor know anything?  When he was in college there was no such thing as internet!  

You have realized that your day has gone slowly and has been kind of depressing due to your post not getting any likes.  What gives?  Perhaps people are jealous of your awesome wit.  Maybe they are trying to come up with something better?  It is too much to think about.  Fine, you finally say, I will write something new.  I will give them something to LIKE!

However, you have always been bad at forcing something likable.  Sometimes it just comes to you. The witty stuff is often the stuff that just rises up out of that twisted and Facebook obsessed mind of yours.  You sit there, in front of the screen, as the Facebook shines its mesmerizing glow towards you.  On your lap your phone sits, also opened on Facebook.  Your fingers quiver, yet nothing comes forth.  You are somewhat shaking now.  You could care less if your supervisor sees you or is even behind you.  This is more important than your job.  After all, Facebook is consuming you.  It has become your life.  If you can not use Facebook at work, after all, you do not want the job anyway.

Meanwhile, your sister's post is gaining likes like a truck driver gains miles on a desert highway. "Those pictures are ancient!" you yell out loud.  Everyone looks over towards your desk.  You do not care.  How dare she be more popular than me!  Her Instagram is also probably ticking like an angry time bomb about to explode.  She may have 10,000 likes on that picture of her standing in front of the Pyramids of Giza looking like a doofus.  It's probably because she's a girl, you tell yourself to make yourself feel better.  It works.

Later in the night you find yourself enjoying a nice warm bath.  You have to just let go of the day. You have to let go of Facebook and all that stress.  Yet, right there in your hand is your phone!  You have been taking it with you to the tub lately.  You have been spending every second of free time, no matter where you are, on Facebook.  Whether it is on the toilet, in the bath (this is, in fact, why you do not shower.  You have not figured out a good way to shower with Facebook), or even at your last job interview, you are popping Facebook like it is a drug (and you wonder why you did not get that job you wanted).

"Zeus said that he will invent a website in the future that lets me do this in front of all my friends."
You may think that this type of story sounds unrealistic.  But I have found these aspects are true and honest for many people who use Facebook.  Most will quickly pop out the excuse that "I only have Facebook to keep in touch with my friends who I would not be able to otherwise."  Yet, at the same time, I see an obsession rising daily by those who are dubbed "users" of Facebook.  I see their social lives become so wrapped with Facebook that they can not keep in touch with those who are not on Facebook.  Their actions say "if you are not on Facebook, I do not want to keep in touch with you." So, then their excuse for using Facebook becomes moot.  If they were so interested in keeping in touch with other people, they would try to do so with or without Facebook.  The excuse "I only use Facebook to keep in touch with old friends" is an excuse to continue on with the destructive addiction.  You do not use Facebook to keep in touch with friends.  The real reason you use Facebook is to show off your life and your accomplishments.  The reason you use Facebook is to feel better about yourself.  If you wanted to keep in touch with others, you would e-mail or call others.  You would have one-on-one conversations with other people.  Instead, you opt to converse with everyone at once.

"I am not addicted to Facebook..."
There are many people out there that believe that Facebook does not cause them harm.  It may not seem harmful on its face.  However, when analyzed, Facebook causes great harm in ways of creating narcism, causing depression, causing people to compare their lives with others, and wasting vast amounts of time (in this sense, we are not talking about it as a hobby, but as the fact that many users of Facebook spend every free moment checking their phone or computer for status updates).

People were meant to be social creatures, to interact with their environment, and to live a full life with variety.  Instead of being social, we turn to our phones into an (a)social world. Facebook is not a social place.  The moniker, "social network" is a false moniker.  Spending your life alone on the internet is not social at all.  Writing to people who may or may not be listening through a screen is in no way the least bit social.

Many people combine every task with Facebook, whether it be work, cooking, driving, laying in bed, using the restroom, taking a bath, chores, reading, listening to music, or spending "time" with family. If you are this type of person, you are highly likely addicted (or beyond).


I have talked about my own use of Facebook in previous posts.  I have seen people become irate with each other because of something said that was of no importance.  I have seen people get angry with each other over political topics that probably should have not been said in the first place on the internet.  I have seen people become mean and hateful for no reason other than they feel safe on the internet.  I have seen people spend hours a day on Facebook and have the nerve to tell others (and themselves) that they do not have an addiction.  I, too, was addicted, and felt that I had to be honest with myself.  I had a problem.  The solution was simple (yet challenging): Leave Facebook.  Leave the site that the world wants you to be on.  Advertisers want you on Facebook.  It's where many peddle their products.  They want you to be seen liking their products.  Facebook wants you on the site, it's how they make money.  They are not providing the site out of benevolence or to create a better world.  By creating an IPO, Facebook is stating that their purpose is to bring in revenue and income, not to "make the world a better place."  Facebook does not make the world a better place.


Look at your life.  Are you a Facebook addict?  When is the last time you went a day without logging on Facebook?  Did you feel shaky?  Did you long for the blue glow of the screen?  How often do you think about what you say on Facebook?  How often do you lament over what someone else says?  Do you feel jealousy for the friends who got good jobs, have nice houses, or who went to better schools? Do you feel anger when you see that your sibling is living a better life (or portraying he does) on Facebook?  If so, you are human.  We are not meant to compare ourselves constantly to others, yet Facebook throws the lives and accomplishments of others right into our face.  No wonder we feel depressed.

It is time to move on.  Go, right now, and delete your profile.  Never look back.  You have to take drastic action to end a powerful addiction.   You have to say enough is enough.   It is a choice. Facebook has literally become an addiction to millions of people.  Do you want to share with the world that you too are addicted to Facebook?  If you are on the site you are basically stating that you are addicted and too weak to do anything about it.

Good luck.  I hope that you find a way out.

Interesting articles on Facebook Addiction: 

Signs of Facebook Addiction:

What Facebook Addiction Looks like:

Facebook Addiction

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hoarding People, Friends, and the Past Through Facebook

We have always wanted more.  Now it is easier than ever to have it.
Our society, in many ways, condones and even promotes hoarding.  Before us, we are shown images of huge homes stuffed with material possessions, garages loaded multiple vehicles, closets brimming with extensive pairs of shoes with matching handbags, endless yards loaded to the hilt with furniture and decorations.  It truly numbs the mind.  When you look around your brain is pulverized to such an extent that it is hard to focus on anything else.  We think that we need all we can have.  In the supermarket we load our carts full of everything we can find.  It's almost as if we have a fear of starving to death if we do not load our refrigerator with as much food as it will fit.  We are told that we are a better person if our bank account is loaded with money.  We, as a society, want to hold on to as much as possible.

Our grabbing hands do not stop at material possessions.  We want to have a firm grasp on the past. We want to document and save every small event that has happened in our lives.  We have computer hard drives loaded with images, documents, and videos that we may never even set our eyes on again.
We also save things out of fear of the future.  In our closets, we save everything that we can with the idea that we may need something again someday.  I have known people who save documents for decades because they may one day need to show that seven-year-old phone bill as proof that it has been paid.  There it sits, in a stack of fifty pounds of random papers.

This madness has also extended to (a)social media.  We have this idea that we need to hold onto acquaintances and friends, old classmates from high school and college, people we worked with over the years, and those who we would have, otherwise, never spoke to again.  For millennia when life changed, people moved on, and oftentimes people would never see or speak to each other again.  This was normal.  It is not natural to hold onto hundreds of people.  We do not have the time to maintain that many friendships.  Our minds are not wired to have relationships with hundreds of people in such a way.  Yet, we feel that we need to hold onto as many people as possible.  We feel that we will regret giving up old acquaintances and friends and we fear that we may never see or hear from them again.

Facebook takes advantage of the fear of being missed or losing a connection.

Facebook knows that people fear this and they take advantage of this fear.  When you go to deactivate your profile, there is a list of people with their names saying "___ will miss you."  Facebook than demands a reason for leaving, as if you have to answer to it for your choice of leaving the website (when you do leave, please put "" as your reason).  You should not give in to this fear.  It is natural to have a smaller, more intimate, group of close friends.  It is natural to have a manageable amount of people you speak to.  Life is about balance, and having too many of one thing is often detrimental to us.  Our minds do not work well with extremes.  Having five hundred friends on Facebook, each screaming their views, thoughts, and extreme emotions is not healthy for us to read.  We can not keep up with that many people, nor should we try to.  Doing so puts you spending far too much time on Facebook, and even a few minutes is too much.

There is a movement where people have begun to give up owning too many things or living in large homes.  This movement is focused on living in small spaces and simplifying life.  I have found, myself, that this is a very healthy way to go through life.  You do not need to sell your home and move into a 300 square foot home, however, simplifying life is something that works well for our brains.  We, as a society, waste so much, including time.  Facebook is by far the larges timewaster that I have ever come across in my life.  The world is literally screenlocked, looking at their phones every moment, waiting for someone to post something.  The Facebook app lets the user know just when someone likes their post or when someone replies.  Immediately the user grabs their phone and checks to see what was said.  Entire days go on like this.  Life passes.  Opportunities pass and many wonder where their time went.

You can let go of the hoarder mentality.  It is not easy, but only takes some courage and a few minutes.  Tell Facebook you are done.  You do not need to "miss" your friends, because you can still call, e-mail or actually spend time with those who you are close to and tell the rest "it was good.  I hope you live a great life!"  You will quickly find that life goes on when you leave. You will also find that you have a lot more time to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish.  Time is the most valuable resource in the world, infinite times more valuable than even money (after all, it is time that allows us to earn and create money).  Facebook is using your time.  Would you pay money to post on Facebook? Then why give Facebook something far more valuable than money?  Why give Facebook your time?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A World Without Facebook

Come look everyone!  They are finally burning the last Facebook servers!
If you could turn back the clock and erase one invention from mankind, what would it be?  Nuclear bombs?  Guns?  The cellular phone?  Porn?  The piano?  I have given it some thought and I think that the one invention that I would remove from the world is Facebook.

Facebook over nuclear weapons?!  Yes.  But first, hear me out.  I think that Facebook, on its (ugly) face, does more damage than nuclear weapons.  I mean, honestly, how many people spend their entire day playing with nuclear weapons while they would be better off doing something else?  Are you with me?

Facebook's cost to society is more massive than we can ever begin to realize.  At this point there could easily be a hundred million people either on Facebook, about to get on Facebook, dwelling on something that was said on Facebook, or experiencing negative consequences that Facebook has caused.

I could not get rid of my Facebook account so I burned the entire house down, computer and all!

John Lennon wrote a wonderful song called Imagine a while back.  It's a song about peace and getting rid of war.  If John Lennon was writing that song today, I would hope it would maybe go something like this:

Imagine there's no Facebook
It's easy if you try
No screen below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Talking to each other face to face

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And with Facebook we'll all be forever done
(2 minute drum solo)

Wouldn't that be wonderful? A world where people actually sat around and were, you know, social. A world where people did not have to check on the status updates of others or see if their post got liked? Wouldn't it be nice to go on a date with someone and have them listen to you during the entire date instead of looking at their phone and kind of half listening half ignoring you?  Imagine if your family actually would communicate with you outside of Facebook?  Wouldn't it be a lot easier to do things with people if you did not have to log into Facebook in order to talk to some of them?

To me that sounds wonderful.  We would not lose much at all with a world without Facebook.  We would lose some things, no doubt.  For example, we would lose an excuse to procrastinate and lose on an opportunity to waste huge amounts of time.  We would lose out on excuses to not exercise, improve our health, lose weight, build muscle, go outside, get better grades, have better relationships with family, be closer to God, accomplish things in life, be a better employee, start a company, get a raise, spend time with children, teach our children how to ride a bike, play sports, go for a walk, spend time in nature, go camping, learn a new language, start a new goal, learn a new skill, start a new career, learn how to go about buying a first home, begin to invest, and all that other stuff that Facebook replaces.  We would lose out on a conduit for bragging and narcism.  I imagine that would be hard to live without, wouldn't it?

Facebook created such anger in him, such rage, that he imagined himself burning down the entire world.  Later, he posted his thoughts on Facebook, to find that his post did not get even a single like.

Nuclear weapons do not make me a narcissist.  They do not make me a braggart.  In fact, I rarely think of them.  Most people probably do not either.  They can be scary, no doubt.  But so is a society where people are soself-absorbedd and so pacified that they do not care about anything but themselves and the time that they can spend on Facebook.  Isn't it kind of scary to think about how the world was fifteen to twenty years ago and how things are now, with people so hooked up to a computer, living their lives through a screen?

I am not a conspiracy theorist, and generally do not like conspiracy theories.  I tend to believe that things exist as they are seen for the most part.  With Facebook I think the exact same way.  After all, after a while it is easy to see how Facebook affects people.  It is easy to see how many literally live their lives through Facebook.  Every small event is shared for the world to behold.  Why would have we cared about what you ate for every meal twenty years ago?  Why do we pretend to care today?  Would have we posted every detail about our children on the internet two decades ago?  Why is that so important to do today?

Something has changed in the way we think.  We believe that it is important to share every minute detail about our lives and we believe that everyone wants to read about it.  It does not help that many people 'like' these posts.  Many people do it so that they, in return, may get a like on one of their posts.  I will give you a like for your chicken pot pie if you like the picture of my macaroni and cheese is the thought process.

How about we stop liking the chicken pot pie and instead you just eat it and be content you have food to put in your belly?

We have got rid of Facebook once and for all, but the cost to the world has been great.  Their minds... their minds are still Zuckerburged.

So maybe you think that Facebook is not much of an issue.  That is probably the case with many people who have grown up using Facebook or who are so sucked in that they can not let go.  Giving up something that has existed your entire life or for a very long time is scary.

But sometimes doing something that is scary is good for us.  For example, sometimes it is good for us to exercise even though it may not feel that great at first.  Sometimes it is scary to go to the gym and work out.  We feel that we may be judged.  Sometimes going for a long walk in the woods is scary.  Bears may be out and about.  Hungry bears.  But it is really good for us to go outdoors.  It is terrifying to go on vacation to the Maldives because there may be an earthquake followed by a huge tsunami.  However, it is good to free your mind and go on vacation.  Sometimes moving is scary, but better job opportunities and ways of life present themselves.  Talk about terrifying!

I am willing to bet that you can muster up the courage to leave Facebook if you have come to the realization that it is best for you to move on with your life and try living in the real world for a while.  That's right, I said real world.  Facebook is imaginary.  It is not really real.  It's a virtual world filled with skewed lives that barely exist.  Sure, that pot pie looked good, but did it really look that way or was it photoshopped?  Was the angle just right?  Did the picture show that dirty kitchen or the part that fell in on itself?  Does the picture show the dead bird?  Did it show the box it came in?  If so, maybe it did deserve a like for being honest.  Yet, I rarely saw anything of the sort while on Facebook.  Every pot pie looked scrumptious.  Everything looked just divine.  It made real life really suck.  No wonder everyone wants to spend time on Facebook.  It's like when you hide in the closet when you are six years old and pretend you are in rainbow country.  Everything is ponies and layered cakes, until mother calls and tells you to clean up that room.  You exit the closet and are forced back into the ugly real world where you have to face reality.

Yet reality is not always bad.  It gets worse when you ignore for a long time.  Many people who are on Facebook have ignored reality for a very, very long time.  They have ignored it for so long that they might not even know as much about their families, children, and themselves as they would have if they had just faced the world that was in front of them.  It's not a bad place.  Your children are better than Facebook, are they not?

I will let you think about that for a while.  Then you can delete your Facebook.  How does that sound?

I think it sounds amazing.  You sir, have a great future ahead of you.  Relish it.  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cultural Shift Due to Social Media and the Dark Aspects of Facebook

The following is a guest post by Jessie Elliott.  I had the pleasure of knowing her when I was younger and she just happened to tell me that she wrote this paper for college.  She has been kind enough to share this powerful and thought provoking work on this site.  

Our culture today has changed drastically from the world we knew a few years ago.  Social networking sites, such as Facebook, have altered how we live our day to day lives.  Most communication with your friends and family can now be done via Facebook from the comfort of your own couch. Our society is becoming increasingly narcissistic due to social media sites such as Facebook.

The mass success of Facebook is a result of people’s obsession with their own lives. There are many people who feed off of the attention of others so much that they crave it. These are the people who use Facebook as a personal diary, purging every mundane life event, dying for their friends to like their statuses and comment about them. Facebook is comparable to the experiment done in 1901 by Ivan Pavlov involving classical conditioning and his famous dog. The dog responded to the sound of a bell ringing by salivating, because he knew that he was going to be receiving food soon. The bright red notifications that appear against the cool, calming blue of the profile screen are similar to the food rewards. They shout out, “Someone cares enough about you to ‘Like’ your status or comment on it, you are a worthy person!” Some people live their lives waiting for these notifications to pop up and boost their self-esteem. It makes them feel like the popular kid in high school again. 

According to Pearse (2012), “People who score highly on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire had more friends on Facebook, tagged themselves more often and updated their newfeeds more regularly. The research comes amid increasing evidence that young people are becoming increasingly narcissistic, and obsessed with self-image and shallow friendships” (p. 1).

After a while, the positive response is expected every time these people post something on Facebook, and when they don’t get it, they feel actual rejection. They start to think that every boring, unimportant event in their lives needs to be broadcast publicly so it can be commented upon. They will start to post vague status updates that indicate they are having a terrible day or are feeling down, prodding their friends to ask them what is wrong or why they are sad. Most of the time the cause of their inner torment is never revealed, but they have successfully recruited a large number of their friends to join their little pity party and give them the attention that they have been craving.

There are also those who love drama, and enjoy having the opportunity to fight publicly due to the attention it calls to them. I have recently witnessed several Facebook fights among my friends. One fight in particular lasted an entire day and involved several girls from a few circles of friends. Some of the nasty comments went as far as to reveal that one of the girls had suffered a miscarriage a few years ago. The commenter was taunting the poor girl with it. The following quote is what was written on her Facebook page:
“Well I guess I wouldn't know how to spell "miscarriage" because I have never had one. What was it like knowing you "HAD YOUR LITTLE DAUGHTER OR BOY INSIDE YOU, LIVING AND ROLLING AROUND INSIDE MAMA AND YOU LOST IT!" Knowing you may never have another chance again. F*** THAT SUCKS! I bet you think about it every day of your life. Wondering what you could have done to save it or maybe if you would have had that baby, you might still be in that relationship”. 

My mind is blown that a subject like that was used to hurt another person during a public fight on Facebook. It shows how self-absorbed people are, they don’t realize how hurtful this kind of comment can be, and only care that they can one-up the other person to make them feel bad. 

Bragging on Facebook is another prominent form of narcissism. I’ve had several friends who have posted upwards of 300 engagement and wedding photos on their Facebook page. After they get married, they have a precious child and post another 300 photos chronicling the pregnancy, baby shower and birth. While parents, close friends and family might love seeing this excessive amount of photos, others view that person as incredibly self-absorbed. 

Facebook is a great public forum for people who are rich and want everyone else to know it. Pictures of expensive vacations, fancy cars and beautiful homes grace their profile, making their average middle to lower class friends feel the sting of their empty pocketbooks. These wealthy people most likely know that their egocentric posts make their destitute friends feel bad. They do it anyway because it feeds their arrogant, narcissistic side, and boosts their already dangerously high self-esteem. 

Facebook profiles are an example of self-promotion at its best. People get an entire webpage devoted to their own life, and depending on the privacy settings they choose, everyone can see it. It’s an electronic way for them to scream out, “Hey everyone, look at me!” It has never been so easy to quench our society’s thirst for attention from others. A Facebook profile can be manipulated so someone can appear to the public however they want to be seen. They can post as much or as little as they please on their profile, and everyone is forced to read it. They also receive responses to what they post, so they falsely believe that all of their friends truly care about it. 

Facebook can have many detrimental effects on a person’s life. Procrastination is a huge problem. Spending time on Facebook takes away precious time that should be spent working, studying, or paying attention to children. Work productivity is down across the nation due to the availability of the internet and websites, such as Facebook, at work. Employers end up wasting millions of dollars on wages because of this problem. School work suffers because of Facebook as well. All college campuses have internet access available to students, so students can bring their laptops to class and surf the web instead of taking notes or paying attention to the lecture. When the student is at home doing homework, it may take them longer, or they may not get their homework done at all because they are spending too much time on Facebook. This is an example of how people get addicted to Facebook because it offers them the reward of feeding their self-importance. 

Giving up passions to be online

According to Officer (2012), “An unrelated report by the Boston Consulting Group found that people would give up just about anything to be online. 77% would nix chocolate, 73% liquor, 21% would quit sex, and 7% would even stop showering just for that special connection” (p. 2).

Minor positive aspects of Facebook come with a dark side

Despite all of the negative aspects of Facebook, it also provides several positive advantages. Facebook is so easy and convenient that it offers a great opportunity for businesses looking for a free way to advertise. Almost everyone is on Facebook, so reaching a large customer base is made simple by creating a profile for your business. It is also an effective tool in sharing pictures, news, and life events with close friends and family. It can be used to open up communication with others that you normally would have lost touch withover time.

Easy access to past and current friends can often be a positive feature of Facebook. We can now keep in touch with others without the hassle of catching them on the phone or driving across the country to talk to them. Although it’s a great way to keep from losing touch with your loved ones, there is a dark side to this ease of communication. I have friends who have had relationships with their loved ones destroyed because of Facebook. My best friend’s mom reconnected with one of her old flames online and ended up divorcing her husband to be with her ex-boyfriend. Situations like this hurt your family and cause resentment. 


Facebook is changing the face of our country’s culture. Our society is becoming increasingly narcissistic because self-promotion has become so accessible. While Facebook has a few positive aspects, the negative seem to outweigh them. It is causing procrastination, egocentrism, resentment, and annoyance with others. None of this is beneficial to our culture, and hopefully won’t be the downfall of our society.

Please feel free to share your comments on this work.  How has Facebook impacted your life?  Also, if you have a guest post that you would like to submit, please e-mail me at