Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Living Double Lives on Facebook



Sometimes people want the world to think that their life is better or more exciting than it really is.  For example, there is a member of my family who is having a hard time in her life with her third marriage.  She outright stated that she purposely makes her life seem perfect on Facebook although in real life it is far from what she wants it to be.  While those who live close to her realize that her life is, in many ways, shattered, family members and friends who live far away see her life as being something to envy.  In short, many of those who view her Falsebook profile are only seeing a false life that has been, in short, made up.

They are seeing a life that exists only in the deepest sanctums of her imagination.  And they believe it is reality.

Many people live double lives on and off of Facebook.  I found that, when I used to be a user of the site, that my life often seemed more exciting on Facebook.  I would sit back and ask myself how others must view my life.  It made me feel good for a while, knowing that those who I knew in the past and generally no longer talked to that much probably thought I was living an amazing life.  Although I am very happy with my life, it is not all glamor.  For example, while I do travel very often, I oftentimes stay in places that many people would probably never set foot in.  Yet, I would rarely show those places when I had a Facebook profile.  Most people, I found, were envious of my life, as if it was something unattainable.  I realized that I did not like people thinking this way about me, but I found it almost impossible to not live a double life on Facebook.

Most people want to be viewed in a positive light.  It is very easy to be viewed this way when you are twisting and morphing a Facebook profile.  Unlike real life, which is full of challenges and ordeals, one can paint their life in any color they choose while on the kingpin of (a)social networking.  While it may be very challenging to have a perfect marriage, one can create such a thing at the push of a button on Facebook.  No wonder many people would rather live their lives in front of a computer instead of in the big bad real world that exists just beyond the screen.

But living one's life on a computer comes at a cost.  First, it is incredibly addictive.  Second, when a person spends an inordinate time in the fantasy world of Facebook, real life issues invariably emerge.  It is not uncommon to see people gaining weight and encountering serious health problems because they neglect their bodies, instead opting for the computer.  While one posts about their double life they may find that they are instead ignoring their real life.  Many ignore their families, friends, skills, career aspirations, and dreams.  Sure, you can pretend to live your dreams on the internet, but it will never result in you actually achieving them. 

Unplugging yourself and staying off of Facebook is the hardest part.  Many people get to the point where they can deactivate the beast, but it's not coming back that most fail at.  Even I have battled the want to go back to the site that the world is obsessed with.  It is only through reminding myself of what my life was like when I was glued Facebook that makes me stay away.  We are told we are sinister or somehow unsavory for not being on Facebook.  Yet, that is not true.  Do you see the biggest creators and achievers in the world glued to Facebook?  Facebook is a pacifier for the masses, nothing more.  It is the biggest waste of time in the modern world (and, in the end, it is truly a waste).  When people can not go a series of minutes without checking the site, you know there is a problem. 

Don't get swept up living a double life on Facebook.  Instead, resist the temptation to spend your life on the site at all costs.  You are not a bad person if you don't use Facebook.  You are not somehow unsavory or socially devious just because you realize that there is a real world beyond the computer.  Don't give into the hype or peer pressure.  A life without Facebook is the optimal life.  Many of those who say otherwise have not lived a life free of Facebook in years. 

3 comments:

  1. Really interesting and insightful! Since I closed my fb account I have done so many things! And I don't mean extraordinary things... It is just that I feel more in control of my life, and it feels great. Looking forward to your next post :)

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  2. "A life without Facebook is the optimal life"
    So true! I feel so good every time I think about not having FB anymore. I have made the right decision. You are right, the highest achievers are NOT glued to FB all day. I have witnessed this. I had a friend who dreamed of being a doctor and running a restaurant in the US. But, his dreams never became a reality. He was glued to FB and living a fantasy on there. I have heard his real life was miserable. He was lonely, had to take care of his dad who was sick, and had to put his life on hold. He was depressed and said he was so sad and hated himself on FB. So, he tried to escape that by surfing FB for hours, posting pics online of having fun all the time, tried to drain my energy because I was positive and lying about his life. Yes, he post pictures of traveling, but he was still depressed, no matter how those pictures appear he was living the life. He wanted to escape so badly. I remember, he said he wanted to meet but when we brought it up, he canceled. We believe the reason why he canceled was because he lied about his life. It is not what it appeared to be on FB. I felt sorry for him. When I unplugged, I was able to fulfill my dreams and live life to the fullest. I use to waste so much time on there, get stressed out, angry, jealous, and get into drama no matter how hardI tried to avoid it! I would compare myself and people would compare me to my sister. It was an unhealthy and addicting environment to be in. My cousin tagging me to a nasty meme for no reason was the last nail in the coffin!

    I also have a friend who has the perfect life and marriage online. Always posting the positives and never struggles. I am curious to see how she is REALLY like offline. Thanks for posting!

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  3. I have a cousin who is a Facebook addict. He always posts photos of himself with his colleagues, family, and friends because he had a lot of corporate meetings and get-togethers. My mom and siblings think he takes too many group shots and is too active on Facebook. (Don't worry -- he had a good corporate job until he resigned from it recently.) They think his tendency to create a happy profile online is to compensate for his loneliness, which was caused by the separation of his parents when he was a kid, resulting in him not having a family to spend time with every Christmas because his classmates would go on their respective family vacations and he had no one whom he could spend time with.

    He succeeded in persuading me to return to Facebook when I deactivated it a few years ago because of envying others' FB profiles and becoming depressed as a result. So when I decided to delete Facebook this year, I made up my mind not to allow him to sway me from my own decision. As expected, he kept trying to persuade me to return to Facebook, telling me that he could not tag the photos with me and him.

    I had suggested that he could come to my home and log on to his Facebook account so I could download the photos, but he refused. So I have decided that I'd rather sacrifice a few photos in exchange for long-term peace of mind.

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