The Facebook Blues
1/28/2013 11:31:00 AM
There’s a study that’s been making the rounds that says social media – and Facebook in particular – is driving people crazy. It makes users feel frustrated and depressed. The theory goes like this: you see the fabulous lives of your old friends and acquaintances – and then you feel bad about your own shortcomings.
I first heard of Facebook in 2004. My sister was a student at Marquette, and it was the way everyone stayed connected. I remember saying “I’m glad this wasn’t around when I was in college because it would drive me crazy.” After all, you got to hear about all the parties other people were enjoying. You could easily fall into a funk thinking the rest of the world is having more fun.
Facebook jumped from college campuses to the real world sometime in 2006. I jumped onto the Facebook train in early 2008. Instead of driving me crazy, it was a lot of fun. I was able to connect with old friends, co-workers, classmates, and the like. It also allowed me to get in touch with the people who listened to WGN, FM News 101.1 (the few that existed), and even a few people who listen to The Loop.
But right now, my Facebook use is restricted to “Rob Hart – guy on the radio.” My personal life is off limits. I tend to post videos, news stories, Rob Report posts, and observations about the White Sox. It’s basically a social media version of the radio show I had on ‘GN way back when. I also try to keep it positive. There’s enough anger in the world. I want you to leave with a smile.
I can see why FB drives people crazy…because it’s designed to drive people crazy. In one corner you have people you used to know. In another corner, you have people who are passive-aggressively sniping at everyone and anyone (“I guess some people are simply too important to call me on my half birthday!”). Another area is devoted to people who are trying to develop a Mao-style cult of personality about themselves (Here are 400 photos of me in a dress. With my BOYFRIEND! Who will love me forever because he took me out to a moderately-priced dinner!”).
If we measure our accomplishments by someone else’s Facebook posts, we will always come up short. Did you get a job? Someone else has a better job.
Do like your apartment? Someone else has a condo.
Do you like your condo? Someone else has a house.
If you have a boyfriend/girlfriend, someone else is engaged.
If you’re engaged, someone else is married.
If you’re married, someone else is pregnant.
If you have a child, someone else has two kids.
You took your family to Disney World, they took their family to Aspen.
And so on, and so on. Facebook can ruin everything – if your mind allows it.
This isn’t an anti-social media post. Some people have a hard time interacting with other humans. Facebook allows people to come out of their shell. That is a great thing.
But have enough confidence to feel good about yourself in the face of your neighbor’s vacation photos.