Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook.com in 2004 as an online platform intended to capture the entire social experience of life on one website.
According to Facebook’s about page, the website’s “mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.” The purpose of the Facebook page is to “[celebrate] how our friends inspire us, support us, and help us discover the world when we connect.”
So Facebook, at heart, is supposed to be a platform that captures our social lives as they exist in reality and an outlet for connecting with inspiration, support, and positivity from family and friends. The founders created Facebook as a platform intended to uplift us.
All social media—at their best—are supposed to be outlets for uplifting ourselves and uplifting each other. But too often Facebook and all of the other social media sites and apps that we spend so much time on—Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest—do exactly the opposite.
In a lot of cases—according to research—that constant connection of having access to endless 24-7 updates on how well our family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances are doing can actually hurt or damage our happiness, self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence, and satisfaction with our own lives.
Spending too much time browsing through updates and posts on how incredible, enjoyable, satisfying, fulfilling, or amazing our friends’ lives are can create something called “Facebook Envy”—a feeling of distress and dissatisfaction with our own lives that results from over-comparing ourselves with others.
Social media are supposed to capture our social lives as they exist in the real world. But instead of capturing our real lives, social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat capture our “perfect lives.” Because rather than posting status-updates, tweets, photos, and selfies of ourselves as we actually are, many of us have a tendency for posting photos of ourselves in our best moments to impress each other.
So instead of inspiring, supporting, and uplifting each other on social media, we’re caught up in what well-known spoken word poet and rapper Prince EA calls a “pageantry of vanity”—a competition of constantly trying our best to outdo and impress each other with our “perfect lives.”
It would seem like getting constant feedback, attention, likes, and re-tweets for your social media posts would boost your self-esteem. But the truth is, no matter how popular and well-liked you are, there will always be someone else out there who is more popular, more well-liked, getting more attention, and receiving more likes on their posts than you are.
So in reality there’s a higher chance that social media may be killing your happiness, confidence, self-worth, self-esteem, and satisfaction with life through that “Facebook envy” of constantly comparing yourself to your friends’ “perfect lives.”
But thankfully, you don’t have to delete your social media accounts altogether to solve this problem. The following are:
2 Steps You Can Take To Control Your Facebook Envy
The simplest and best step you can take to alleviate your Facebook Envy is just to: UNPLUG.
Are you sick and tired of constantly browsing through 24-7 updates of your friends’ “perfect lives” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine? Need a break from that never-ending stream of status updates, tweets, photos, and selfies?
The best step that you can take to relieve your feelings of Facebook Envy is to simply UNPLUG. Shut off your smartphone. Power down your laptop. And cut yourself off from technology.
Take a walk. Go for a jog. Spend time with nature. Hit the gym. Meditate. Leave that online conversation behind and spend more time re-connecting through face-to-face conversations with real live people. Quit comparing yourself to your friends’ “perfect lives” and go see how they’re actually doing in real life.
The second step you can take to control your Facebook Envy is to: FILTER IN MORE POSITIVITY INTO YOUR NEWSFEED. Though its easy to forget, the posts that pop up on your newsfeed are always under your control.
Updates on how incredible, amazing, fantastic, and perfect your friends’ lives are will always be there. But thankfully, there is a simple way to filter out those constant updates from your network and FILTER IN MORE POSITIVITY INTO YOUR NEWSFEED without un-friending those people.
Spend some time searching through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine for like-minded, uplifting, optimistic, or positive-thinking pages and users to connect with. Connect with as many like-minded and uplifting pages as you possibly can.
Over time, you’ll be left with a Facebook newsfeed that doesn’t hurt your self esteem, make you envious of your peers’ “perfect lives,” or damage your confidence. Instead you’ll have access to a newsfeed that lifts you up, supports you, boosts your happiness, helps your productivity, gives you food for thought, and makes you feel grateful for how your life is going.
Facebook has been around for over a decade now. Though it’s been over ten years, it’s never too late to undo the negative side-effects that social media are creating in our personalities. It’s never too late to get our Facebook Envy under control and use social media to your advantage in ways that boost your happiness instead of hurting it.
As Prince EA would say, it’s not too late to “Autocorrect Humanity.”
For more food for thought on this subject, check out Prince EA’s spoken word video below on steps we can take to correct social media’s negative side-effects.
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