Saturday, January 21, 2012

My love hate relationship with Facebook

Something started off just as a tool to "keep in touch" and then overtook our lives. Facebook

Have you ever found yourself getting annoyed at your friend's posts : "Checked in - the amazing place" to have dinner with "the most amazing person". I have been a culprit of doing that numerous times in the past, mindlessly. But may be not completely mindlessly, because human ego was actively involved in such narcissist / "look at me" type behaviour. When I reflected on it, I found I was doing nothing else but certainly trying to blow my own trumpet apart from some occasions when I was truly trying to see if my friends are around to catch up. 

And we all or those who do such things in the name of sharing / expressing. Mark Zuckerberg calls it as "expressing". Is it really the new form of expressing your story ? How boring that is then !

After checking in random places where I was and with whom, I started questioning my behaviour. Why did I feel the need to tell the world where I was and how I was enjoying, who I was with ? I found it all a bit meaningless and so pretentious - pompous to be exact ! Some random information that I was forcing down people's throat without them wanting to know about it - like everybody else does to me.

Facebook is a great medium to reach the masses, promote your service/products, express your thoughts, spread a good message but certainly not a medium to be used to make someone else feel envious or make them feel like a loser. I hated that part although I was doing that (un)intentionally or let's say blindly adapting to what I thought was 'cool'.

Such things are never a positive social connection. I am sure that kind of behaviour is never uplifting for the readers.

I am certainly confused about where to draw the line between "show off" and "self - expression" but I do understand the psychology of low self esteem and insecure people, regardless of what they claim to be on Facebook.  

I also believe that "showing off" on Facebook is hugely related to low self esteem. 

Isn't putting a huge amount of self promotional content yelling out the message " Look at me ! "  sign of self obsession ? Yes !
Isn't bragging tacky ? Yes ! 
Isn't showing off in crudely constantly repulsive ? Yes ! 

We check our Facebook page numerous times during the day ( or within minutes sometimes - I used to, have reduced a lot recently !) - to see how many comments other people have posted, who commented & liked the photo I recently uploaded. Isn't that a sign of seeking constant external positive reinforcement ? The more people do it, the more you crave for it - the more narcissist you become. No, this is not just me telling you - if you observe your past pattern and be honest with yourself - you will also find it true.

I know some people who ask ( softly or jokingly sometimes ) their friends to "Like" their photo. I also know someone who I noticed strategising posting their photo and with immense vigour and attention so that their other friends get to notice the photo - and that behaviour tells me that the person has such a grandiose need of self-importance.

Then there are really sad stories, like the girl I know, who constantly feels bullied by one of her Facebook friends who she thinks looks much prettier than her. She succumbs to her quip remarks and feels pressured to come up with a better one next time in order to prove herself (Seriously !). She constantly deals with self-defeating feelings and words. It's actually a sad sight to see her going bad to worse and becoming obsessive about posting better photos, flaunting better outfits and shoes and all that on a very regular basis. ( If you want to see the bull fight, the virtual fight is live here baby ! ). 

I have another issue with Facebook - "Time". Time is precious and we are all spending so much time on facebook checking and checking back our same facebook page. Before we realise, we have spent 4 hours checking other people, their friends' profiles, photos and life etc and then 6 more hours gossiping about them. All we are left with is less time to do things we really aspire to do, dissipated of energy, random information spinning in our heads, which just means food for more gossip to put you in the vicious cycle of negativity. 

I personally have sacrificed the reading time, time with my best friend, my time to paint and sketch to spent time on Facebook. This article got me thinking even more.

And believe me this is not me just ranting furiously about Facebook as I truly believe it has some great things to offer too. But the control has been given in our hands

I love how you can keep in touch with people and control the contact with them, send out a beautiful & inspiring message to tons of people at the same time on Facebook, keep in touch by sharing mundane things with family and close friends which you may not talk about otherwise or simply forget, how you can understand about people so much by simply being a silent spectator, how you can market your products to the masses, how you can build communities of like minded people and learn and share. 

I have also come to love the 'timeline' feature which takes you back in the memory lane and indicates how far you have come in life. 

I have come to believe use of Facebook needs self discipline otherwise it can be a slow & silent deterrent in rising up to become 'the best you' because it poses the risk of you becoming so self absorbed that you may not reflect on what you are today and where you are actually going. The clutter and useless information added to the already overloaded generation doesn't help to keep the peace of mind either. 

The best remedy is "Self reflection" or "Introspection" and "Discipline". I will certainly keep doing that until I feel that I am truly living my values and not simply trying to conform or adapt or silently getting sucked into a behaviour that doesn't match the kind of person I'd like to be. We really can't blame "Facebook" - one man's idea to take over our life and rule it. We can't blame it just because we choose to let it overwhelm various spheres of our lives and lose our sanity - because we gave it permission to do that and participated in that actively.

There is a certain beauty in some esoteric details of life - and I personally like to share it with a few special people. Perhaps in something like a form of poetry beautifully written on a handmade card posted out to them. Yes, I believe there is something beautiful in the tangibles still.

I truly think we are all stories - wonderful stories, and we should all express ourselves through different means but let's keep in mind and question ourselves "Are we doing the things, saying the things to simply express and share? Are we being creative enough? Are we using the right medium? " or "Are we looking for external reinforcement and thriving on it ? Are we simply becoming a narcissist ? Are we doing it or saying it to make someone else feel jealous ?"

People remember and love stories which are inspiring, loveable, have substance, are nurturing & creative, uplifting. Why not create more of such stories ?

So you decide - what is Facebook helping you to become? It's not all black and white. 

Interesting or interested ?
Smug and snooty or humble and modest ?
Making you stronger or turning your egos fragile ?
Boosting your image or self depreciating ?
Proud or self absorbed ?
Productive or unproductive ?
Better or worse ?

I'd love to know ! 


  1. Very true Neha,you read my mind..thanks for this wonderful article

  2. How true. I haven't updated my personal facebook page in ages--I figure that my best friends and family already know what's going on in my life and the people on the periphery need not know everything. I did start a facebook page for my blog, more out of curiosity, but I find that I can't really put in all that time into connecting with my readers either........Loved your insight into the whole FB thing--you managed to articulate so many of my inner thoughts. :)

  3. An analysis of great depth....and it's so true.Like you rightly said,there is indeed an esoteric beauty in our lives which ought to be shared with the ones that matter to us in the most suited manner. Am probably an odd one out to comment on this blog post, since I haven't yet felt it important to have a Facebook Account and have often wondered when people around me give so much of importance to the ideas and pictures on their 'so-called-friend's' FB page. I guess we all have a little 'voyeur' alive in us. Great Post and refreshing insights!!

  4. Thanks GB and Sandeep. Glad to know that you also relate to this. :)

  5. Its strange.. and as I read this.. I figured.. when there is something serious happening in life.. I dont update FB.. its the rubbish.. that gets up there!! So I guess.. we really dont need it.. Plus.. ofcourse.. friends and family know whats happening in your life for sure!!

  6. I understand your point Patricia but certainly do believe it's a new and a cool thing which we never had before. All I have got a problem with that I fear that the users run the risk of becoming narcissists without realising it. So caution is recommended.

  7. Interesting... I can relate to what you are saying, although I think it is an excellent tool to keep in touch with family overseas. I guess the key is how one uses it, and whether you allow it to control your life. Very well written.

  8. Absolutely 'Mollers Down Under' - the key is self discipline as to how you use it to your advantage and not disadvantage. Thanks for visiting !


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