The Facebook Effect-your life is better than mine

Facebook: Friend or Foe?

Why do we spend so much time on Facebook?

Photo Credit: Michel
Photo Credit: Michel

A lot of us spend far too much time on the book-Facebook that is.

At first it seemed that it was just young people who had an abnormal obsession with the social networking site but more often than not I hear my mam summoning me from the next room, waving her phone in one hand expecting me to marvel at how lovely so and so’s niece’s new baby is, or how fabulous your one looked on Saturday night. And more often than not I do have a good nose with her and chime in with my oohs and aaahs.

Facebook has that effect on us, we are obsessed with knowing exactly what is going on in other people’s lives, and our Facebook ‘friends’ are only too happy to tell us. And realistically out of my friends on Facebook, I really only know a handful well enough to call actual friends-and keep the others around for nosing purposes.

Each and every one of us that has a Facebook account are guilty of having a good aul stalk on other people’s pages, ‘oh the state of her in that’ and so on and so forth. But let’s be realistic here-Facebook does far worse than it does good.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s an absolutely fantastic way of keeping up with the goings on of people we haven’t seen for a while, or checking up on friends who have moved abroad. But why is it that everyone’s life seems so much better than your own?

We can’t blame Mr Zuckerberg on this, we only have ourselves to blame and it’s about time we took a step back and realised that Facebook is definitely not real life-nor does bare any close resemblance to reality. For me, Facebook has turned into one massive competition-everyone wants you to see how great their lives are, and it’s hard not to get sucked into believing that you are in some way inadequate to your Facebook piers.

Photo Credit: Bolt
Photo Credit: Bolt

Picture this: It’s Saturday night, and you, like many others haven’t a single plan. You are lying in foetal position in the scratcher, quite content with a decent cuppa and the Father Ted box set for company.

So you decide to go for a mooch on Facebook, and at the end of your stalking session your left wondering why you even bothered in the first place. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE, even your 85 year old great-aunt who managed to get herself a Facebook account, is having a better time than you are right now.

Queue the influx of never ending Saturday night selfies, the ‘out with my girlos’ or ‘cheeky curry and bottle of vino with my better half’ statuses. Over the course of the evening you read about why Mary down the road is ‘so chuffed with life right now and everyone in it, couldn’t be happier <3 <3’. You see the group pics of the girls off out for the evening, dolled up and pouting to no end, the statuses about how great life is in the US or down under, and at the end of your little stalk on Facebook you can’t help but lament on how crappy your life is.

I mean come on, its 10pm Saturday and you are in bed. Do you write a little status about that? No way, instead you whip out your iPhone, artfully place the cup of tea beside your box set and your Twirl bar, take a pic and go on to tell all your online friends just how delighted you are to be having a ‘cosy night in’. Even people face booking about their cosy nights in seem to be having a cosier night in than you do.

The statuses and constant updates that have the power to make us feel so bad about our lives are, and in turn we are compelled to write about how fabulous our lives are.

I’m as guilty as anyone else, when I’m on holidays I am only dying to check myself in at the airport with a bottle of Bulmer’s in one hand, or take the necessary pool-side pic in an effort to show everyone the fantastic time I’m having away. In reality I’m actually hanging onto life after a night on the tiles and spent about 30 seconds at the pool, but sure look someone’s going to like my picture. If we think about it realistically, the photos and statuses are merely a moment in time, nothing more.

Yes I’m sure so and so had a great night, and your uncles meal at the local Chinese looked delicious, and your cousins friend who you met once in coppers is having a fabulous time in Santa Ponsa, but take into consideration that almost all of us live the same lives. We all get up in the morning, go to work or whatever, and have the odd night out with friends but for some reason Facebook has the power to make us believe that people living the same lives to us are having roaring time doing so, and so much better than ours.

Life is made up of little moments, and it is important that we embrace them without feeling the need to write a status about it. Maybe that’s the way the world is going, and maybe I’m just feeling a bit of a negative Nancy about the whole thing because I have just spent the last twenty minutes on Facebook. Who knows? What I do know is we all need to distance ourselves from the fantasy make-believe world that is Facebook. Too much of one thing is never good for the soul.

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