By BRITTANY KILPATRICK
Over the past few years, Facebook has become an ever-present facet in our daily lives. For some, going on Facebook is just part of a daily routine. It can be all consuming and at times very distracting. As Facebook continues to become a bigger feature in our lives, it begins to be questioned. Mostly, Facebook and other social networking sites have been questioned for how they affect our communication with other people, but what is it doing to us psychologically? How is it affecting our perceptions of others and ourselves? Can Facebook be compared to reality television? How are the two similar in what they portray?
We’ve all seen it on Facebook “Can’t wait for the party tonight,” “Just got back from Jamaica,” “Breakfast with my hubby ,” and similar statuses. With statuses like these, you may begin to think ‘I bet that person has the perfect life.’ As if words aren’t enough to jab at you, you look at pictures of the kinds of parties, events, or vacations you aren’t fortunate enough to be able to enjoy yourself. Some people are not affected by perceptions of others’ lives, but these perceptions can become a belittling cycle that brings down their self-confidence. Something as little as a relationship status can feel like a reason to criticize themselves.
The issue becomes more extreme, because of the lack of face-to-face communication in our society today. We often don’t get to know the full picture of someone’s life. We tend to only know random facts, interests, and thoughts that they post on Facebook. We are then deceived into thinking that their lives are so much more exciting, fulfilling, as well as happier than our own. You see, when you interact face-to-face, there is a chance that the person may tell you otherwise. In fact, our Facebook profiles are only an edited portrayal of our lives.
Much like reality shows, what you see isn’t always what you get, and you tend to only see a one-sided, limited view, into someone’s life. The side shown on Facebook and reality television tends to be sunnier than real life is. You don’t see that the party was a disaster, the vacation was ruined by storms, or that the “happy” couple’s relationship is on the rocks. With this in mind, why do we torture ourselves like this?
Why does the perception of others, based on what we view on Facebook, affect some of us on such a deep level? What can we do to not bombard ourselves with the perfection or faux-perfection that is the lives of others we know? Why do we care so much? Why do we belittle ourselves based on sometimes faux-reality?
My theory is that we are both too focused on others, and/or we are determined to focus on why our lives aren’t “perfect.” We are so convinced that our lives aren’t worthy of appreciation, because they aren’t filled with constant fun, exciting, and happy events. Instead of realizing, that the bad days help us to be appreciative of the good ones, we are focused almost completely on the bad. We feel the need to have others justify to us that our lives are “perfect.” The reality is that we need to stop taking everything at “Facebook” value. Empathize the good and realize that the bad is merely a temporary wall. Sooner or later things get better and this happens by looking at the brightside with a sense of humor. We also need to know when to back away from Facebook, and truly live our lives, because being on Facebook isn’t exactly living your life. Most of all, we need to realize and remind ourselves that no one’s life is “perfect.” Perfect, is in fact, overrated and boring therefore, perfect isn’t even perfect.