Sunday 18 August 2013


[I have returned after a little hiatus! Hope everyone is enjoying their summer]

A new study out of University of Michigan claims that the usage of networking sites such as Facebook can make you sad, envious and even angry. Their primary reason, the voyeuristic nature of the site can make one envious of other people’s lives and make one feel worse about their own. People see their (so called) friends posting photos of their families, taking vacations, showing off their fabulous stuff, and by comparison (apparently) their lives suddenly don’t have that same luster (unless of course you’re a whiz with photo shop and post a photo of yourself sunning on a yacht in St. Tropez alongside Jay-Z and Beyoncé).

This to me has always been the funniest (and scariest) component of Facebook, the ‘this is what I’m doing at all times and doesn't it look great’ nature of the beast; the sharing (or showing off) aspect of the site, where people are compelled to post every single nook and cranny of their lives in the best possible light. Because the truth of the matter is of course, we all share the good stuff: the best angled photo, the superb vacation shot, the wedding day, the child singing at the school play, the happy memories we want everyone to see. It’s more rare of course to post the dishes piled up in the sink, or you and your husband arguing over the latest phone bill as your kid throws oatmeal on the ceiling. Then again, some have no qualms about posting the most mundane thing that life has to offer, which instead of making me envious and sad, makes me incredibly nuts and happy I am not compelled to discuss every aspect of my life (I don’t care what you had for breakfast or the fact that you’re sitting at the car wash and the guy in front of you is wearing green shoes).

The U of M (Go BLUE!) study is certainly not the first study on this topic, as social networking sites are now a hotbed for psychological study – ‘look at all these willing (and flawed) test subjects giving us all this information without any provocation, it’s utterly fascinating!!’ Most of the studies have come up with the same results, sitting on sites such as FB all day can not only lead to loneliness and feelings of anger and envy, but it can make you an incredibly dull person as you're holed up in a room staring at a screen instead of living your life. Sorry, that last part was my addition, but I'm sure any psychologist out there would come to the same conclusion (see how much money I've just saved you).

I suppose the moral of all this is if you do find yourself feeling blue about your own life after checking Facebook and seeing how everyone in your high school class aged so well (or knows how to photo shop those wrinkles right off their faces in a highly effective manner before posting a photo), get off your ass, close the laptop and get out there and live your life in the real world, not in the virtual one. And also, keep in mind that we as humans are peacocks by nature: we strut, we parade, we show off our best sides, but in the privacy of our own homes, we all have things we certainly wouldn’t post on Facebook. I mean really, what would ‘our friends’ think if we did?! 

Copyright © 2014 Anthea Anka - Delighted And Disturbed