Facebook Hurts You Says Facebook
At the dawn of time before the internet, you only saw your old high school/college/early adult friends at reunions or chance meetings while out shopping at the mall and you put on your best face, your best foot forward and all too polite with your old friends. After all, a high school reunion is only one weekend, anyone can smile their way through that.
As the technical sun rose on the internet as we now know it, old friends began hooking up via web boards, blogs or chat rooms designated for a specific group, hobby or interest. There were, and still are websites for looking up old classmates for instance.
Then along came Facebook with its real-time interface, unlike its immediate predecessor MySpace, one could immediately make his thoughts known to the world, or at least his several digital friends. Remember back to those early Facebook posts in the days when people were still wondering "what's the benefit of this whole thing, what do we write on it?" Those early posts included letting the world in on minute to minute details of mundane life. Posts consisted of a lot of- I'm getting into the shower, brb., or 'going to eat a salad', and other sometimes way too graphic detail of the minutiae of one's day-to-day boring private life filled your news feed.
You couldn't beat the BRB (be right back) at the end of a status update. Yes, we the world will sit breathlessly until you return from getting a loaf of bread and a jug of milk to hear about your awesome adventures and conversations with the bag boy.
Then in addition to the people you actually knew, you began collecting 'friends' whom you only barely knew, or hadn't seen in decades, and many whom you'd never met at all were now on your Friends List of 1,300 people. Thirteen of whom you actually interact with on a daily basis, six of those, family.
Then it happened, we truly discovered that opinions, like noses, are possessed by everyone and the devoid of tact electronic social media platform was the perfect place to scream your opinion without the fear of a punch in the nose and you could call or be called ugly names for what you wrote and you were shocked at the vitriol of your best friends. At least we found that the pen is mightier than the sword as we found the people we grew up with since kindergarten were now our sworn and ignorant horribly uninformed enemies and defriended and blocked from our lives forever.
Now after these many years, Facebook tells us they've finally figured out that using their platform is bad for us.
After a decade of ballooning use, 4 billion users worldwide and the amazing collection of marketing metrics about you and everybody you know and every product you eat, wear, live, drive or dream about, a new study reports that those that spend a lot of time passively consuming information report feeling worse afterward. Students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day. Those that clicked on four times as many links as the average person had worse mental health in the survey, as well as did those that clicked 'like' more than four times the average person.
Really? They spent a ton of that aggravating pop-up ad money determining that if you're on Facebook a whole lot, just scrolling through and liking cat videos and peoples babies and stuff, throwing out a comment now and again then you're wasting your life away and depressed? It's nice of them to tell us.
Kind of like the warnings the tobacco companies gave us.
However there's some good news, simply interacting with people is linked to improvements in overall well-being. So sharing, commenting and remembering the good times past with people you know is a good thing. Older people that are confined to home also benefit from being able to keep up with their extended families, grandchildren and so forth and that's very helpful to their overall health.
And that's what Facebook says they want to be, an augmentative feature your real face-to-face handshake and hug life, not supplant and be that no handshake, no hug keyboard, and mouse life. Just there a little bit to help out the real-life relationships.
Facebook wants you to go out into the fresh air and see People and talk to them and have real friends and really, actually laugh out loud in person. But they did have a few nuggets of advice if that's too much effort.
If You're Going to Stay on Facebook
You can keep your esteem in good health by looking at your own profile. A Cornell experiment noted that students instructed to scroll through their own profiles for five minutes rather than those of strangers felt boosts in self-affirmation.
Take a break from people that annoy you. You don't want to block them or slice them from your friend's list but their baby's every single minor accomplishment stopped being cute when he was ten years old. You can put them on "Snooze" which kind of hides them from you for 30 days without having to unfollow, unfriend, etc.,
There's also a feature that allows you to control access to your account or what they can see, etc., of one of your exes. It also lowers the number of times you'll be exposed to them to make the painful transition easier. This feature is called Take a Break and also limits them to the pasts posts of yours that can be seen.
Or in the true Facebook tradition, you can Block and Unfriend them. You've still succeeded in getting that real human connection FB has always hoped you were reaching out for.