I opened my Facebook app yesterday morning, took a quick whizz through my news feed and then, with a sense of gloom, logged out feeling just a smidge depressed.
I think it was a bit of a grey day anyway – you know how it goes – not enough sleep and a few grumpy moments, conspire to create an underlying crankiness. To then look at Facebook and Twitter & see a bunch of smiling, laughing, large groups of shiny people sharing, perfect, unblemished lives….well, it left me deflated.
Facebook envy….that’s what it is.
Facebook envy is looking at another person’s life on Social Media and coming to the conclusion that your life doesn’t quite measure up. Which is essentially why, on a blue day, I found Facebook to be rather depressing.
The truth is, my life does measure up. No life is perfect but it’s got enough of the right ingredients to be a good one – so why does Social Media sometimes make me feel like it’s lacking?
Social scientists are telling us that we use social media for two main things now; we post pictures and statuses in order to say, ‘look at my GREAT life’ or, we look at others’ pictures and think, ‘I want their great life’.
But the truth is, it’s a bubble, it’s not real. Someone I know described Social Media as a ‘showreel of our best bits’: a re-run of highlights, with all the bad bits edited out. And maybe there’s nothing much wrong with that….after all, no one really wants to read about others’ problems and stresses online.
But the point is, what if this false picture of life is creating a social problem? I’d hate to think someone looked at my news feed and thought I’d gotten life all figured out and was never sad or scared. We all get that way sometimes but Facebook can lead people to think they’re the only one. Facebook envy leads to Facebook isolation. Scary stuff, really!
What started out as a fun way to share pictures and thoughts online has become a huge cultural beast which has the ability (if we let it) to shape our mood. Perhaps we need to start questioning our own deep motivations about why we post in the first place? Is it to add to the illusion of a perfect life? Not a comfy thought, really.
I don’t want to be complicit in that. Neither do I want to look at someone else’s life and believe that it’s problem-free and better than mine.
My life (and yours) was created for a purpose…and each person’s life is unique. It’s not a competition.
“You knit me together in my mother’s womb … Your workmanship is marvelous … You watched me as I was formed … in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (Psalm 139:13-16 NLT)
I’d rather my days were recorded and seen as worthy in God’s book – not just on Facebook.