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Is Facebook making you bitter ?

Sometimes, I’m inclined to think that Social Media [Facebook prominently] – its peerless contribution to our lifestyle notwithstanding – isn’t making us more social. Instead I’ve observed a downward trend – of otherwise capable & happy people being consumed by jealousy & envy upon seeing their friends happier and more successful.


A quick research confirmed my hunch that this phenomenon is more widespread than commonly believed. And no, this feeling isn’t limited to those apparently at the receiving end of luck. The feeling appears to be universal given that no matter where you stand, you always have some people ranking higher in the social & professional ladder.


So apart from socializing us, Facebook is also burying deep into the recesses of mind and activating the most deadly sin – envy

Why Facebook is different?

In physical plane, we are either directly involved in an event or totally unaware of its occurrence except through stray mentions of others. Our engagement is either complete or zero – so either we’re glad to be a part of the enjoyment or blissfully ignorant of the same.

Interpersonal interaction in physical plane invariably is more direct & honest – giving us little scope to feel envious. The sheer intimacy is capable of warding off jealously to a great extent. Moreover, we put our feelings on guard lest our expressions betray our emotions.

Also, in everyday life, we barely stay in touch (offline) with more than 20% of our Facebook friends. We are spared from the onslaught of mindboggling information about irrelevant others – their recent vacation at an exotic place, their recent hi-fi car, their recent high-profile job etc. This jealousy-inducing information is sprayed on us with ruthless periodicity intimidating many of us and sending the lesser souls into a spiral of depression.

Another pertinent point is that most of our Facebook friends are mere acquaintances or those with whom we share faint recollections of distant past.  Whereas our nostalgia turns richer when we get back in touch with our long-lost friends, we must bluntly admit that nostalgia is a seductive liar too. The rough edges of memories are smoothened and glows radiantly through the passage of time – yet we must painfully acknowledge that they’re largely irrelevant in the present.

So should we just quit Facebook?

I’m privy to efforts by my friends who tried to improve their profile after they found it lacking in comparison with envy-inspiring profiles of their peers. Nonetheless, this only creates a vicious cycle with no foreseeable respite.

Quitting from Facebook is not the answer – since Facebook these days is a more powerful addiction than even smoking & drinking. The withdrawal symptoms are too strong and people end up becoming more addicted.

My friend had cleansed his profile of all random acquaintances with whom there was least possibility or interest of relationship revival. That way, he not only reduced access of his information to irrelevant people but also safeguarded himself from the updates of people he’s least interested about. This I think is worth trying.


But, minimizing the use of Facebook itself is the best antidote – for much of lives are better found in real world than a virtual one. Let us hope that a source of joy doesn’t become a breeding ground for envy.

Others’ activity regarding us is in direct proportion to our own – check it for yourself. Your notifications will come down drastically, once you reduce your activity regarding others. Facebook activity runs mostly on symbiotic grounds – you scratch my back, I reciprocate – once you detach the source, your activity, the reaction stops too.

Happy envy-free Facebooking ! :)

Comments

  1. Crisp and awesome article! I second u Madhav. I would request you to send this article to some newspaper and make it available for a wider audience. I have observed this trend among my friends too. They envy looking at others profiles, but unfortunately all the information in those profiles comes form fake world!! As you have correctly pointed out it becomes a vicious cycle.

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