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Is Facebook Bumming You Out?

via flickr user Ed Yourdon

Paging through the latest issue of Cosmo, an article caught my eye: “Is Facebook Bumming You Out?” Meh… mostly just irritating the crap out of me. Yeah, I’ve  got some beef with Facebook:  The vaugebooking (Attention seeking status updates like ”Wishing things would get better…” that absolutely beg for “What’s going on? Are you OK?!” comments); the passive-aggression (Usually combined with vaugebooking, a post might read “Why is it that some people just can’t be trusted?” Really? How about you have a real conversation with the untrustworthy jerk rather than fake pondering about it on fb?); the “spiritual quotes” (We get it, you’re so deep)– Oh, I could go on. But, aside from minor irritations, can Facebook really be a downer? According to Cosmopolitan Magazine, yes.

The gist of the article is that constantly comparing ourselves to others is a sure way to feel like garbage. Facebook puts our friends successes right up in our faces every time we sign on, and research is showing it’s taking a toll on our mental health:

“A recent Stanford University study found that Facebook causes us to underestimate other people’s misery and overestimate their happiness, which in turn makes us feel worse about ourselves… What’s more, experts say that women are most susceptible to these negative effects.”

Now, we’d all like to say that when we read the ”Big promotion! $$$!” and “Brad proposed! OMG, you gotta see this ring!” updates we’re totally happy for our friends… well, part of us might be, but we also might be just a little bit jealous. If we’re having a particularly rough day, we might get downright depressed comparing our lives to our friends’.  How do we avoid this?

“The trick is to be strong and not look at your News Feed as a contest– who has the most friends, the most ‘likes’, and the most interesting news about his or her life to share.”

Cosmo suggests defriending or blocking anyone that’s too braggy or sparks a crazy competitive fire in us. The article also reminds us that Facebook isn’t real life. It’s edited, it’s the parts of ourselves we choose to show– the prettiest, shiniest versions of ourselves. So we have to keep in mind not everyone’s lives are perfect and even the braggiest brag-o-sauruses could have some real crap going on out here in the real world.

Anyway, I think it’s time for the weekly purging of any “fat pictures” I’ve been tagged in. Yeah yeah,  for all my complaints, I’ve still got an account… Just try to avoid vaugebooking for me, OK? See you on Facebook.

Knoll, Jessica. “Is Facebook Bumming You Out?” Cosmopolitan. September 2011. 198-201.

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