We all do it. We know how it makes us feel. We all keep doing it. Social Media is our template; mainly the Facebook newsfeed. There we all are, lined up next to our closest friends, worst enemies, and the occasional pretty stranger we like to ‘take outfit inspiration’ from. Is it just me? Oh well maybe it’s just me.
Mark Zuckerburg’s first try at an online sensation on a college campus was essentially putting two girls pictures side and voting who was prettier. According to the movie “The Social Network”, that is what the actual Facebook stemmed from.
Mark Zuckerberg was Time’s Person of the Year in 2010. The interesting article delves deep into who Zuckerberg is as a person, and how that transfers onto what Facebook is and what we should do with it. “Zuckerberg loves being around people. He didn’t build Facebook so he could have a social life like the rest of us. He built it because he wanted the rest of us to have his.” (Time 2010)
Something my mother, a strict Facebook critic, always says: “You kids are going to be really disappointed when you realize in real life nobody really cares about what you’re doing every minute of the day”. But the sad thing is, this has become our real life. Facebook is a part of our reality. Scary but true.
But we do it to ourselves. “Like everything on Facebook — like Facebook itself — it’s voluntary.” (Time 2010) “As it turned out, that, more than anything else, was what people wanted. They didn’t want to organize their photos by folder; they wanted to organize them by who was in them.”
We as people, are and always will be fascinated by other people. Facebook takes our fascination to the next level. As Zuckerberg would say, that’s how people parse the world.
Now I know it was not Mark Zuckerberg’s intention, but he created something that tapped into the core of mankind. I believe it is really human nature, and Facebook is the perfect platform to default back to comparison every time.
My favorite quote of the entire article:
“Facebook runs on a very stiff, crude model of what people are like. It herds everybody — friends, co-workers, romantic partners, that guy who lived on your block but moved away after fifth grade — into the same big room. It smooshes together your work self and your home self, your past self and your present self, into a single generic extruded product. It suspends the natural process by which old friends fall away over time, allowing them to build up endlessly, producing the social equivalent of liver failure. On Facebook, there is one kind of relationship: friendship, and you have it with everybody. You’re friends with your spouse, and you’re friends with your plumber.”
I have noticed this pattern of comparison in myself, and I am trying to change the cycle of comparison to unhappiness. The simplest thing would seem to be to delete my Facebook, but I still want to ‘exist’ to my friends. I want an outlet to express myself through photos and the other things Facebook allows you to do. Facebook has some real benefits, and really can help become an actually more social person in ‘real’ life, if I make some changes. I made a group on Facebook that is now just my close friends. I found myself knowing more about someone I met once then the people that I really care about it my life. So I put them into a group and now only have those close friends pop up in my news feed. This decision really has helped a lot with spending too much time on Facebook as well. ‘De-friending’ people I don’t really know is another step in the right direction.
I personally, but also we as a society, need to be more present mentally where we actually are physically. Become more aware of your thought life. Every time you find yourself wishing you could be more like (fill in the blank), recognize it and decide to let it go. If you’re not afraid of feeling cheesy, develop a positive mantra for when those negative thoughts arise. i.e.: “It’s better to be a first rate version of myself than a second rate version of someone else.” (Thoughts on Social Media 2012)
The last and most important thing to remember it to always project who are as a person in everything you do, not just online. Every conversation you have, every opportunity you have to express yourself, project who you truly are and who you want to be together to make the best version of yourself. “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity,” Zuckerberg said in a 2009 interview with David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect. This is a popular attitude among the Silicon Valley elite, summed up by a remark Google CEO Eric Schmidt made last year on CNBC: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity,” Zuckerberg said in David Kirkpatricks book The Facebook Effect. Remember, it is you that has to live with yourself at the end of the day. Be true to who you are, but always strive to be a better person as well – in everything!
Kirkpatrick, D. (2010). The Facebook Effect (pp. 287-333). New York: Simon & Schuster.