Friday, December 14, 2012

Self-Expression and (a)Social Networking

Facebook's claim to fame: manufacturing jealousy.

With the holidays approaching, I have been hearing how (a)social network sites like Facebook and the highly-worthless Twitter (scourge of the internet) are replacing greeting cards.  I have noticed, over the years, that Christmas cards are not as popular as they once were.  I am not a huge "Christmas card" fanatic, but it is interesting to see that people are taking to using (a)social media to say "happy holidays" instead of sending out a card or taking a, what one might call, more thoughtful approach that singles out another individual and shows that they care.

(A)social network sites also seem to be devaluing expression as a whole.  I have taken particular notice in the last few years that people are spending less time on expressing themselves on a deep level (such as through creating) and instead use (a)social networks to "express" themselves.  This may not seem like a big deal to some, who are busy with their lives, or who feel that there is no time to express one's self.  However, I think that self expression is an important part of one's life.  Limiting one's self-expression through (a)social networking, or even the internet, is not good for a person's psychological well being.

Self-expression is key to understanding and asserting yourself and your own uniqueness to the world.  While some may argue that it is fine to limit all of your self-expression to Facebook, the truth is, that is not good at all.  In fact, it's very limiting, and is, frankly, somewhat depressing.  Facebook, contrary to what some may say, is not much of a form of self-expression.  Being on Facebook is more akin to trying to yell louder than everyone else to get yourself seen by more people.  Why else did Facebook roll out a way for people to pay to have their post at the top?  People exist on Facebook largely to assert that they are living a better and more exciting life than others.  That is not healthy self-expression.  That is oftentimes no better than bragging.  Further, many people have reported feeling down on themselves because they feel that their lives are not as exciting as others on Facebook.  That is sad, because everyone is unique, and anyone can have an exciting life. 

I have found that the people who claim to have the best lives on Facebook are the ones who are on Facebook the most.  That does not sound like a very exciting life to me.  The idea of living my life on Facebook terrifies me.  One can not do much with their time on this Earth if they are busy posting status updates and trying to outdo others on an (a)social networking site. 

There is nothing wrong with spending time alone.
One's self expression should not always be put on stage.  There is something about expressing one's self through writing or drawing, or in other forms of creating, even if nobody else sees that creation.  We live in a time where one feels that they have to share everything with the world.  One should not feel compelled to have to share every small thing in their life with the world on Facebook.  However, many do.  Many are obsessed with the idea of the world being more "transparent" (one of those current buzzwords which is overused).  Many people are alright with there being very little privacy in the world.  For these types, there is nothing wrong with Facebook, only something wrong with those who are not on Facebook.  Many think that if you are not on Facebook, you are a sociopath or have something to hide.  Some people can not comprehend that some people value their privacy enough to not be on Facebook.  While many think that not being on Facebook is devious or somehow unhealthy, others are aware that being on Facebook and other (a)social networking sites is unhealthy.  There is nothing good about feeling compelled to compete with people who otherwise would have probably been strangers.  There is nothing good about having to "prove" yourself to the world when you should be happy with who you are. 

Yet, I have found that many people who are on Facebook are often unhappy with themselves.  This is not true of everyone, but for those heavy users of Facebook, I find that they judge themselves in a negative light when compared to others.  Many people do not think that they are an alright human being when they compare themselves with the so-called "exciting" life that others try to project.  Yet, the "exciting" lives that others project is often a façade.  Contrary to what you hear from many, the heavy users on Facebook are the ones who are often (a)social (hence the apt term, (a)social networking).  These are the ones who are the most unhappy with their lives.  They could get a lot out of leaving Facebook behind and coming back to the real world, where they can learn to love themselves again.  They would be perhaps happier with themselves and their accomplishments if they put the amount of time they use on Facebook towards to building a better life for themselves. 

I have seen Facebook destroy many a person's creativity.  I have seen people join Facebook to become lethargic about the outside world.  They let the lives of others end their life.  If they would leave (a)social networking behind and come back to the world that they were once creative in, they would no doubt be happier with their life. 

7 comments:

  1. Gone are the days of handwritten greeting cards via snailmail. In the digital age, the personal touch is vastly lost.

    Smartphone sales blew past PC sales

    More people will waste their time on FB, twitter instead of reading a good book be it on trains or airplanes.

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  2. I agree with Xianlong about snail mail greeting cards. However, even a personalized email or e-card sure beats a mass Facebook holiday greeting.

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  3. Maybe this can be interesting to you. Another reason to quit FB. http://calnewport.com/blog/2010/01/29/an-argument-for-quitting-facebook/

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    1. That is a great article. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Maybe this can be interesting to you. Another reason to quit FB. http://calnewport.com/blog/2010/01/29/an-argument-for-quitting-facebook/

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  5. As an ex-Facebook user, I agree with each and every word you said.
    ---> "Like" to your post, sorry old habits rarely die.

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  6. I recently decided to leave facebook as I could see that it was unhealthy, plus I questioned the privacy. I admit when I first started on there in 2007, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and updated every little thought in my mind, am ashamed now! I went from being a heavy user, to just recently not posting at all and only using it to look at other peoples profiles, but then I started feeling bad about that! I mean, stalking is illegal in real life, so why should it be any different online! So it was then that I decided that facebook adds no value to my life and that looking back, I was a much healthier person mentally before I joined, so I deleted it! I can't say I miss it either!

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