I Think That the Internet Makes Us Unhappy, Part One

Results from a study that were published last year indicate how more time spent on Facebook is correlated with decreased levels of happiness. The hypothesis is that Facebook- an avenue that allows users to share photos and status updates on their lives- leads people to compare their lives to others’. The problem is that, oftentimes, people only post about the positive aspects of their lives in an effort to come across as “fun” or “interesting” or to avoid revealing too personal of information to friends-of-friends. For example, one is probably more likely to post a status about receiving an A on an exam than failing it. People who post “emo” statuses or photos with captions such as “oh my gosh, I’m so ugly” tend to be, and I would probably agree, people fishing for compliments or attention. Yet, isn’t the person posting photos of a fun night out with friends also looking for attention in some way- a sense of validation, like, look world, I have friends?

I’m not immune to this either; I usually forget to take pictures of my life, but when I do, I post them on Facebook. Once I post them, do I walk away from my computer and let the photos be free? No, I relentlessly check to see if people are liking or commenting on them. It’s addictive, and I feel disappointed if a photo goes un-liked or un-commented on.

Facebook also creates a false sense of connection to other people. Passively (or even actively…) looking at someone else’s Facebook page does not compare to the sensation of being with him or her in the flesh and blood. Every so often I am reminded of what I think the meaning of life is, and it is something that cannot be replicated online. Want to know what it is? Crying in front of your friends.

However, I not only rely on Facebook to give me more than zero readers for this blog- I also use it to communicate with friends who live in other countries or to reconnect with friends from my past with whom I had lost contact. It’s really expensive to talk on the phone with people who live in other countries (well, I guess I could Skype with them… but that requires, like, effort… or I guess I could email them… well, who uses email for personal reasons anymore?). I also recently connected with two girls whom had I hadn’t spoken to in years but, through seeing their Facebook updates, realized that we turned out to have very similar interests to each other. In those regards, I think that the Internet is really cool.

I also fear deleting my Facebook in case I won’t get invited to cool events. Would people forget to invite me to things because I’m not just another box to be clicked? Am I worth the extra effort of being sent a text message instead?

I don’t have a smart phone- not because I think I’m so high and mighty, but I simply don’t want to pay for it and don’t feel a huge need for one. Consequently, I sometimes feel like there’s this whole club of smart phone users with their own language and lifestyle of which I am unaware or not a part. For example, the other day, I was taking a photo with some people, and someone shouted out, “IG worthy!” It took me quite awhile to figure out what IG was. It had me wondering how often per day people must think about or use Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever other social media apps exist. If I only go on the Internet at home, and Facebook is the only form of social media that I use, yet I still feel consumed by it… how must other people feel?

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