Is Facebook making us more insecure?
It’s not a new observation that social networks are making us more unsociable (in real life) but what I’ve witnessed in the last few years is the way Facebook is feeding the insecurity of it’s regular users.
The trouble is, if you use Facebook too much you’re in danger of confusing it with real life.
The majority of what people post is a by-product of their insecurity.
Let’s start with the photo’s.
Invariably, people only post photo’s that fits with the persona or image that they’re happy to portray to the greater public.
In short it’s an edited glimpse, into a small percentage of that person’s life and it’s not their normal life. It’s their extraordinary life, that’s why they’re taking a picture of it.
Nobody parties 24 hours a day, “with the best mates in the world” and if they did they wouldn’t have the time or energy for Facebook.
I often post pictures of my sons and yes part of me does this because I’d like to remember that particular time but I can’t deny another part of me feels good when these pictures receive likes or some nice comments.
It’s as if people liking the photo someway endorses the fact that I have good genes, which is a positive reflection on me.
When’s the last time you saw a photo of someone drinking a cup of coffee watching Eastenders, whilst wearing a stained t-shirt and baggy tracksuit bottoms?
The only time you see a picture of a cup of coffee on Facebook is when:
1. Its in a branded cup, suggesting success by association.
2. Instagramed at an arty angle, trying hard to give the impression that’s it’s a more glamorous object than a cup of coffee.
3. Tagged in some swanky location, that the taker of the shot would like you to believe they regularly frequent.
Next is the status updates.
There’s only one reason people post a status update.
To feel popular.
I’ll give you some examples.
1. “Can’t wait to go out with my best girlies tonight”
Roughly translated, this means, “Look everyone I have friends and a social life, aren’t I amazing?”
2. “Out with a bunch of mates having a great time”
Is really, “I’m not in my house on my own, I’m with other people who don’t mind me bothering with them, see I’m not the sad loner you think I am”.
3. “Thinking of getting the new [insert hip gadget here] any advice?”
Means, “Look I’ve got enough money to waste on a bit of tech that most people can’t afford. Aren’t I doing well?”
4. “Thinking of going to [insert exotic holiday destination] for a much needed break, anyone been there?”
Translates as, “I doubt you’ve been there as it’s very expensive. Admit it, I’m successful arent !?”
To add to the insecurity, Facebook came up with (or borrowed) the now famous, “Like”, which is like crack to the severely insecure.
It validates and confirms that other people agree with the version of them that they are publicizing, which lets be honest is not them.
So as their, Facebook, alter ego gets more popular and grows in stature, like a dominant twin in the womb, it pushes the real them into the background, becoming almost fearful about revealing itself.
The trouble with hunting for likes, is that it doesn’t satisfy the insatiable animal that’s insecurity. It encourages it to sniff out more, like a shark smelling its first drops of blood.
The more likes we get, for a status update or a picture, the more we want because it proves (or so we believe) how funny, successful, clever and more importantly how popular we are.
To compound the insecurity, when somebody likes your status update, it’s not because they like your status update, its because they want you to like them for liking your status update.
There’s no level we won’t stoop to to garner a bit of attention.
I’ve even witnessed, “friends”, using this status update to get a gain a bit of attention, “Goodbye Facebook – I’ve had enough!”
The next day they’ve deleted this status and are happily (or unhappily) boasting of their next movement, as if that status had been written by their real personality and therefore had no place on Facebook.
The irony, is that attaining likes, doesn’t make us any more popular, in fact it couldn’t be further from the truth.
If we feel our lifestyle or opinion is only worthy when it’s validated by other people clicking, “Like”, then we have no self worth and this is the most important like of all.
To help us not confuse real life with Facebook I think it would help if they relabelled Fakebook.
Ps – if you liked this article could you share it on all the social networks you’re a member of and get friends to like it otherwise I’ll have wasted an entire hour writing this.