I must admit, the main reason I like this article is because of the fat cat photo. I like the idea of the cat cropping out all his fatness and even photoshopping off the extra huge cheeks. It’s funny.
The article feels true to me, but also, it feels right. I do limit my time on Facebook. Not exactly because I feel everyone has a much more fabulous life than I do, but partly. Partly also that no one wants to have a real discussion. You post something that someone disagrees with and they attack you or you disagree with something someone has written and they take it as a threat.
I once made a point of replying to a post that someone made about the vandals on May Day, he called them “deadbeat retards living off of the government.” I found it to be a lazy assumption about a group of people that were already getting too much attention when compared with the number of people who peacefully protested. I don’t agree with the destruction they caused, but I also do not see any point of posts like that when there are plenty of actual facts that he could have used. He told me that he wasn’t surprised that I was sticking up for them because “people that think like you do” always stick together. All I was trying to do was to elevate his argument away from silly name-calling. His cousin then decided to stick up for him by stating, “last time I checked, we were in America and entitled to our own opinions.” I explained that I agreed, but she continued to attack. I deleted all my comments and unfriended him.
Repeat a similar scenario about childhood cancer and another about gun control involving people that I used to know 20 years ago and reconnected over Facebook (but the most Facebook interaction we had was at the initial friend request), both resulting in me deleting all my comments and un-friending them. I am exhausted.
I know we all can agree to disagree, but at the same time, we don’t have to agree to remain Facebook friends. There are no requirements or etiquette that make you keep all your Facebook friends. Think about it as real life: you loose contact with people for any number of reasons, it just happens. Now, you kind of have to make it happen, but it doesn’t mean you are a bad person, and even if you think it does make you a bad person, fuck it, pull the trigger and un-friend. Unclog your Facebook feed of people that hold it hostage, stop diluting it with garbage. They probably won’t even notice.
Call it the unwritten rule of Facebook: People don’t post pictures about the parts of their lives that suck. And while you sit in your boring, old apartment and flip through photos of your buddy’s trip to New Zealand, you may start to wonder why your life is so dull. Turns out you’re not the only one, finds a new study from Utah Valley University.
Facebook is all about managing other people’s impressions, the study explains. Past research has shown that Facebook users carefully cultivate profiles that highlight positive attributes and associations, while downplaying or excluding undesirable traits.
Duh, right? But here’s where it gets interesting: The Utah Valley team wondered how these exaggeratedly awesome profiles might impact self-perception among regular Facebook users. To find out, they recruited 425 undergraduates and asked each to complete a questionnaire detailing their use of the social networking site and their outlook on life.
Their findings: The more time a student spent on Facebook, the more likely he was to believe that his friends’ lived happier lives, and that life itself is unfair.
Those feelings increased among students who had the greatest number of Facebook “friends” that weren’t really personal acquaintances. (Example: That dude in your econ class who you’ve talked to exactly once.)
Why does this happen? Staring at everyone else’s happiest times on Facebook gives you the impression that those people are always having a blast, explains study author Grace Chou, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist at UVU. As a result, you subconsciously start to believe that everyone is living a cooler, more exciting life than you are—even though you’d probably realize that wasn’t true if you really thought about it. This effect is magnified when you don’t know your “friend” personally because your perception of his or her life is based exclusively on a (somewhat bogus) Facebook profile.
Now, don’t get us wrong. There are plenty of benefits to Facebook. Studies have shown the site can help facilitate civic and political participation, and it allows you to stay connected with real-life friends and family members. But too much time spent in the Facebook utopia can be a downer, especially if your “friends” are really just random acquaintances, Chou says.
The students in the study spent an average of about 5 hours each week on Facebook. Aim to stay at or below that level, and restrict your group of “friends” to real friends, and life may seem a little sweeter, Chou advises.