Since I work out of my home, I spend a pretty big part of my day alone. That can get kind of isolating and lonely, at times, which is one of the reasons I enjoy Facebook.
I probably go on there a few times a day. Some posts and pictures make me smile, some make me laugh, and some of the links lead to interesting articles. But I have to say, some of the things I see on Facebook are horrifying, which is why I have such mixed feelings for the social media giant.
Here are some evils I think can come from Facebook:
1. People can hurt you if they want, whether intentional or unintentional. Think of your ex or an old boyfriend posting pics of he and his new girlfriend. Even if he blocks you and you block him, he’s most likely friends with all of your girlfriends, who will show you the pics on their phones.
2. You can feel excluded. Let’s say people post photos of a party you were not invited to. It’s hurtful, even if the host didn’t mean it. And, if it wasn’t for Facebook, you’d never have known about it. Furthermore, if adults feel this way, can you even imagine how kids feel when seeing Instagram photos of parties they weren’t invited to? It makes me sick.
3. It can make you feel like everyone else’s lives are better than yours. The Facebook feed can seem like an endless array of photos of perfect, happy families, smiling, looking great and having the time of their lives on a beach vacation. While I don’t begrudge anyone for taking trips and enjoying their families, let’s be honest, the photos almost seem like commercials. And that’s OK, as long as you, the viewer understand that the person who posted the photo is putting his or her best out in public. Can you blame that person? Should he or she post photos of the argument he or she had with his or her wife the night before, where doors were slammed and they went to bed angry? No way. Posting photos on Facebook is kind of like leaving the house dressed, with makeup on and with your hair done. You’re showing your best self to the world, just as you do when you go out perhaps to a restaurant or a party. But to the viewer, life seems perfect, causing him or her to doubt their own life, and think everyone else has it better. The best example I can give is a woman I know who has been posting pictures of she and her husband and their kids for at least 7 years (since I’ve been on Facebook), and writing about how much she loves her husband. “Happy anniversary to the best husband I could have asked for and my best friend,” she wrote just last year. Come to find out, she’s been having an affair for over a decade. But according to Facebook, she and her husband are in living in bliss.
4. Certain people only comment on negative news. I don’t post negative comments very much, but occasionally I find Facebook a great way to vent. There are certain people who will only comment if I post something negative or about something bad that happened to me. It makes me sad, because for every 200 positive posts they have nothing to say. One bad one and they are all over it. Kind of makes me feel a little icky.
5. People tend to get a little psychotic. I’ve had people get angry with me for not “liking” their posts. I’ve had people call me a liar because I posted something they thought was taking place during a time I said I had plans and couldn’t get together that night. (In other words, the picture was from a few nights earlier.) These are totally nice, normal people. I just don’t get it. Does Facebook bring out the worst in people?
6. You can find stuff out you might not want to know. This is sort of a good thing and a bad thing. Let’s say someone wants to set you up with someone. The first thing people do is look them up online, right? So, you might look at his picture and say “no thanks,” or you might go to his page and cringe at some of his posts, which can make you say “no thanks.” Saving time or giving up a great guy? You might find out the person is married, or you might see that you have mutual friends, ask your friend about him or her, and the friend says, “Stay away from him,” which is actually a good thing, but maybe not. Facebook is kind of like that friend you have that isn’t afraid to tell you the truth, no matter how badly it might hurt you.
7. We can post things that are damaging to us. When Mark Zuckerberg came up with Facebook, it was because he needed to vent about his broken heart. He wanted people to validate his pain. I get that. Honestly. I’m the queen of writing articles that stem directly from my personal experiences. When we are upset, we want to soothe ourselves by feeling like we are heard. We want to be validated and understood. And Facebook gives us that forum. But people go too far because they are emotionally distraught, and then they regret it later.
All in all, I have to say I am a fan of Facebook. I think it’s fun, it’s interesting and it’s entertaining. I love seeing pictures of my friends and family and their kids, and I get lots of laughs from some of the posts, articles and videos. Additionally, I think Facebook is a free way to grow your business, and I have benefited greatly from it in that regard. But I also think there are way too many ads and invitations to events I really am not interested in.
So is Facebook the devil? In some ways it is, but I think if you change your frame of mind, cut through all the crap, avoid taking things personally and just take it for what it is, Facebook then becomes pretty harmless. Oh, and I personally think one of the best things about Facebook is that you get wished a happy birthday every year from hundreds of people, which really feels good, AND you will never forget a friend’s birthday again.
Like this post? Check out my blog, “Know the signs of Facebook Divorce Behavior”