Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Manufacturing Envy through Facebook


Manufacturing envy is perhaps the main reason why Facebook has become so huge. The fact that one can so-easily create envy using Facebook is in part why the site is incredibly addictive. The website, AddictionInfo.org states that such envy has a profound effect on other aspects of one’s life.  It can lead to severe depression, self-loathing, rage, hatred, resentment, feelings of inferiority and insecurity, pessimism, suicidal tendencies and desires, social isolation, among others [3].  A study which was published in December 2012 found the more time college students spent on Facebook, the worse they felt about their own lives. Yet many people refuse to let go. The website has a hold on many lives, even though people are starting to understand that psychologically, being "on" Facebook is not healthy.

When one sees the accomplishments of people in their day to day lives (outside of Facebook), they see them in the light of what they actually see before them.  However, what one sees on Facebook are distorted versions of those accomplishments, worded in the light of the author who has "accomplished" them.  Such events are often warped in a way which alters them from the realm of truth to the realm of fiction.  This means that the person who talks about their accomplishments is often no more than a bragger, trying to get themselves positive exposure. We often see our own accomplishments and lives in a positive light, and we definitely want others to see us in a positive light, therefore, people will and do advertise and talk about their lives as if they are perfect -- even if they are not.  There is often a cascading effect on Facebook where individuals will compete for the imaginary title of who has the best (or most enviable) life.  This leads to a lot of competition between certain individuals. A bystander is often a friend with one of these competing individuals, but not friends with that other person who the individual is engaged in direct competition with.  The bystander sees a grandiose but fictional account of this person’s life and feels intense jealousy. There is no basis in reality for many of the claims that are made on (a)social networking.  Some claims are outright lies.  

Facebook Prostitution?

Such outright lies include the emerging trend of purchasing romantic partners via Facebook
.  Services have begun to emerge that allow a Facebook user to purchase a fake girlfriend (or boyfriend) for a short duration (usually a week) for a monetary sum.  This individual’s sole purpose is to create jealousy in the lives of other Facebook users.  For a period of time, such as a week, the purchased romantic interest will post on your wall and act like one’s romantic partner.  Many have reported that the service indeed does what it is intended to do - make one’s ‘friends’ jealous.  To add insult to the matter is the fact that the purchased girlfriend is no more than pixels herself.  The real individual is generally not who appears in the picture.  In reality all one has purchased is a fraud.  The person in the picture may not realize that their image and likeness is being used in such a matter, or the picture itself could be merely found on the internet and distorted in such a way that the individual does not even exist in the first place.  

It is quite easy to distort reality through Facebook.  This is due to the fact that we all see the world through a different lens.  We all have our own experiences and thought patterns that paint the world in a different light.  One perceives their life in a different manner than they perceive the lives of others.  Many people outright believe that their life is more exciting than the lives of their friends.  This is natural.  After all, we have only lived one life -- our own.  However, when we look at the fictional lives of others on the internet, we start to have our worldview distorted.  How can we expect to live up to the fictional lives of others?  In the end,
one exists in a fictional universe while on Facebook. The danger is not in the fact that Facebook but is mere fantasy, but that many (and almost all) perceive this fictional world to be real. People believe that others lives, even if in a state of detritus, are actually made of solid gold.  

One's existence on Facebook has real consequences.  Unhealthy consequences.  The psychological trauma that Facebook causes exists in all of its users -- whether one will admit it or not.  The cold hard reality is that those who deny that Facebook is damaging are in cold stark denial.  Trading one’s real living hours for hours spent in a virtual world where many are duped into believing they are seeing truth and reality is not beneficial for anyone.  

3 comments:

  1. Facebook promotes pathological narcissism as well as voyuarism which lead to an OCD behavior such as posting numerous flattering pictures of yourself, fishing for compliments, collecting "likes" as well as stalking other people at the same time - ex boyfriends/girlfriends, former co-workers or high school classmates, and trying to compete with them on superficial things like who posted a picture of the biggest engagament ring. This all becomes very addictive and sucks in otherwise normal pleasant people and turns them into attention seeking loosers. Let's measure our self-esteem through our contribution to society instead of our fake online persona!

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  2. Yes, it's all so fake. I just deleted my Fake-book account. I never wanted to be on Fake-book anyway, but I did it for a friend (after agonizing over it for weeks). I used to tell people that I didn't need a Facebook account because I already had a face. No kidding. I feel sorry for all the people who upload multiples self-portraits per week, trying to be liked and accepted. It's really sad. I refuse to try to post my life on Fake-book instead of live it! Absolutely ridiculous. I was right in the first place. Plus, my real friends are not even on Facebook. It's just another marketing system for fools.

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  3. Everything that you have said in this article is true. I found Facebook thoroughly exhausting and meaningless. Facebook is like being in a cult.....once you leave and move away from it, you begin to regain your sense of what is real. I believe that to continue in the practice will harm your life. You are in danger of losing your identity.

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