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That other world called 'Facebook'

22nd January 2012

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During one of my increasingly rare moments away from Facebook, I stumbled across an ABC news article entitled 'Feeling sad? Facebook could be the cause'. This intrigued me, of course– but boy, did this article get me thinking...

According to the article, a Utah Valley University study showed that photographs portraying a “sense of happiness that may be inflated or false” are the causes behind the many apparently-depressed Facebook users. It is all a matter of comparison – seeing someone else’s deceivingly-happy photos makes us believe that everyone else is leading a much happier life than we are, when in fact, these photos are just a form of deception. 

Facebook photos are just one aspect of the Facebook world which deviates from reality. Facebook statuses are also guilty, they are often so over-dramatic that they cannot possibly be real. Most of the time we find ourselves saying (or rather, typing) things we would not normally say in real life. So what’s going on here? Why are we posting up material which is unexistant within the realms of our reality?

Facebook, despite its name, is a platform for socialising minus ace-to-face communication – causing normal social anxiety to be forgotten. Facebook is a shield and it is with this sense of security that we pluck up the courage to post photos which do not reflect our lives and post statuses which do not reflect our nature. We are, essentially, lying to our friends on Facebook. But it would seem that it is more important to us to live out this alter ego than it is to introduce ourselves as who we really are.

The study showed that those who spend less time socialising online are reportedly happier than those who do. So, perhaps it is time for us die-hard Facebookers to drop the Facebook act and actually start living with the living.

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