Oh Facebook! The ever controversial public platform where people choose to share either very special moments in their lives, display their own self indulgence or seem to find it necessary to share what they’re having for tea. Although I admire the access to which Facebook provides to share what’s going on in my life with family in foreign countries or family and friends I don’t get to see too often, I have to admit it has only enhanced my attitude of cynicism towards people. Not only is it bad enough to be cynical about strangers, but it’s unsettling when you become cynical about your nearest and dearest.
Amidst the spectrum of detrimental effects and positive aspects of Facebook, I think most would agree the biggest aspect of anyone’s lives Facebook has the most effect on, are relationships. Now, don’t automatically presume I’m simply talking about marital status, but also your relationship with friends and family. People can login to Facebook and one of two things happen, they change into someone they’re not usually or they reveal more of the person they really are. Sometimes even sarcastic or purposefully pessimistic status’ can spark judgement or concern which can have an effect on your relationship with some people who take what you post seriously. Although people do post rather serious and personal information in statuses, I’d like to hope people who know me personally and tend to invite my company can see my clear attempts of humorous posts for I believe Facebook is not a place people should air their dirty laundry. Yes, I’ve been in a dark place where I may have been guilty of all the things I judge now, but that was a period of 2 months when I was in my early twenties. There’s people who continue such behaviour in their late twenties, thirties, forties, even fifties and have done for years. What is it about Facebook to attract people’s current state of mind to be expressed so publicly, instead of in the comfort of the person you tend to confide in?
Through updating their status, people express cynicism, anger, sarcasm, horrendously obvious subliminal messages, passive aggression and sadness. Each cause influencing an effect resulting in, a majority of the time, regrettable action, leading to a post being deleted one or two comments later.
People clearly indicate their marital situation through their relationship status by either single, married, in an open relationship, in a relationship or my personal favourite ‘it’s complicated’. I don’t understand the logic of ‘it’s complicated’ being an option. Not only is it insignificant to know the complications of someone’s relationship, not only is questionable as to why some people advertise it, but I also think that a relationship complicated enough for the parties involved to inform others publicly their relationship is complicated is only complicating an already complicated situation by showing others their relationship is complicated.
Facebook seems to have quite an inscrutable influence on people. It encourages some people to share every living moment of their lives with the people on their friends list, which probably consists of old schoolmates you haven’t seen in 10 years, people you’ve previously worked with whom you make no effort to meet up with and the rest are your friends and family. Vented frustrations such as ‘I’m so p****d off’, followed by a few empty attempts of nosey people wanting to get the gossip on why their friend is p***** off through responses such as “aww what’s up hun?” followed by a response by the so called p***** off person which consists of “I’ll inbox you”. I perceive this as being an alternative way of saying “I’m going to publicly display my anger for reasons I tend to complain about on a daily basis but I’ll privately explain to my friend that I could easily call just to arouse the curiosity of people because I’m the only person who has problems”.
The pride of parents is expressed by a million pictures of their child being uploaded before they’ve even got out of the front door to venture out for the day, where, of course more photos follow.
People upload photos of what they’re eating?!! Why?! I’ve seen food, funnily enough, I encounter it on a regular basis but I don’t feel the need to share what I’m eating with people who also eat themselves. I can slightly understand if you’re in a Michelin star restaurant and you’re amazed at the level of presentation neither you nor your friends get to see very often but the presentation of a Sunday Dinner can only stretch so far so why share it?!
People go on holiday, and seem to spend most of it on Facebook. Uploading pictures they’ve just taken, checking into a restaurant or bar, showing images of the novelty gifts they’ve picked up at a flea market. There’s a growing trend of people fortunate enough to go on holiday every year, even more than once, complaining about the daily strife they have to endure just the same as everyone else yet still express their yearning for escaping the pressures of life which some people don’t have the luxury of by stating “I really need a holiday”.
Women, most of which congregate in packs consisting of the same people at every social engagement, uploading pictures all of each other and name 20 individual other girl friends as their ‘bestie’. I’m sorry; I don’t even have that amount of friends, never mind ‘besties’.
Lads, (unless you’re like me and couldn’t give rat’s rear end about 22 multi millionaires diving over a football for 90 minutes), if people need the commentary of a football match, most people who have Facebook, tend to have a TV or radio, no need for the updates on every pass of a game.
Couples. Some feel the need to display their happiness every day, sometimes through expensive gifts (if price represents love or admiration, I genuinely feel sorry for you), the simplest of activities, ridiculous posts with arm length photos showing two people completely consumed and indulgent in their own happiness eating cornflakes with complete disregard of other people I’m sure they’ll be friends with dwelling in loneliness and low self esteem. Again, I believe the value of a relationship is within the intimacy two people share between themselves not with others. Also couples who tend to communicate over Facebook even when, more than likely, they’re sitting next to each other…erm, wow!
Gym goers, love to let people know when they’re in the gym having their “beasting sessions”. They go to the gym to apparently to take many photos in their designer gym gear, vests and ensure everyone knows what muscles are getting the beasting today. These people who go to the gym 5x a week yet they check in every time, here’s a message from the rest of us who like to keep in shape yet don’t feel the need to share it, “WE GET IT! YOU GO TO THE GYM!”
Last but not least, selfies. Some people have taken this too far. Now, it’s ok to have a couple, but when 90 percent of your photo albums have yourself as the subject and photographer there is no end to your vanity. “Here’s a picture of me, in case people who clearly know what I look like or else they wouldn’t be friends with me wanted a photo to show what I look like in varying situations wearing a variation of different outfits”. That’s all I can perceive a selfie to be. People who claim to do these “I look like a train wreck, I don’t want to go anywhere today so I’ll just upload a photo to the 400 people on my friends list”, please, think before you selfie.
You’ll find of all the descriptions of the social media crimes they have one thing in common, self indulgence. 90% of my news feed is nothing but people displaying nothing but being consumed by their own feelings, their own current state and of their happiness. Don’t get me wrong, I like to know people I’m friends are happy, but I find it more exhilarating when I see happiness pouring out of people yet it’s not officially said because it doesn’t need to be. That sparkling glint of contentment, that genuine smile that has a blinding quality, all of the subtleties of happiness yet it’s visibility is at its peak.
Facebook, a majority of the time, tends to withdraw a certain ugliness out of people that includes myself, whether it’s a regular thing or even just once. Somewhere along the line, the whole purpose of Facebook’s existence has got lost for a majority of people but not all. If it wasn’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t see the image of relatives who live abroad on a regular basis. I wouldn’t be in contact with family I’ve never even met and I wouldn’t see new additions to the world who are important to me. The beauty of Facebook is tainted with an ugliness of people through their attempts to display their self indulgence, this insistent need to reach out to people to create the illusion of happiness to disguise what’s happening under the surface, people showing their extreme materialism and lack of morals. Facebook can also at times make you develop an aggressive bitterness, transforming you into a seething mass of self loathing because you’re overloaded with the happiness of other people. Especially when it’s via people you know have been a lot more privileged than what they admit and they tend to have a life you work so hard to strive for. Parents paying for houses, new cars, holidays for their child that’s in their twenties. Debt being paid off by a relative, they’re on an average salary yet walk around in Louboutins and carry a mulberry bag yet complain when work’s been a bit stressful yet they go on holiday 4x a year.
The beauty of Facebook has become nothing but a glimmer, I hope the spark comes back to fuel the initial intention of Facebook. I hope they show restraint to display any self indulgence, and remember those that don’t share the same luxuries. I hope the spoilt stop sharing philosophical quotes which they don’t even understand the true value of the words. I hope people re-evaluate the value of special moments rather than just everyday garbage. I hope people remember why Facebook is there in the first place.