‘if you like us on Facebook, you get 10% off’ said the guy as he took payment, ‘I’m not on Facebook’ I growled back, hoping that my admission of not being on Facebook would not incur further questions or demand a full blown explanation of why I choose to live my life offline and for myself as opposed to online on Facebook, constantly needing the approval of others. To clarify, writing a weekly newspaper column which details the overtones and undertones of my daily life for a widely distributed newspaper is a completely different thing to being on Facebook.
It would be inaccurate to claim that I do not have any involvement whatever with Facebook, admittedly over the years, I have developed a sporadic morbid fascination with the platform. An avid people watcher in the actual world it does tend to spill over into the online world and as I don’t have a Facebook page of my own, I do from time to time ask friends and close family, what’s going on, in the land of Facebook. The response to this is usually one of three:
‘Nothing going on I’m sick of it, people keep posting rubbish’, this response is usually delivered with a heavy sigh, as if Facebook was a noose around their neck and not an online account that is deletable at any time.
‘Why don’t you get Facebook, come on, you’d love it’, these people just want to see more people drawn in to make them feel better about their own dependence.
‘Well I don’t do much on Facebook, I’m just on there so I can see other people’s profiles’. Now either that’s downright nosey or else these people haven’t the confidence to speak up among their own hand chosen online friends, like throwing a party, inviting all your friends and then staying silent.
The only thing that all Facebookers seem to have in common is that they all hate when someone posts that they had a yummy sandwich for lunch and support same statement with a picture. If everyone hates it, then who posts it?
More and more people are relying on Facebook as their main source of social interaction and personal vindication and as a result are not offering their non-Facebook friends the pleasure of receiving an e-mail, text message or telephone call, anyone remember those?
Anyway, we are where we are, as they say on the political shows and now ten years old, it’s clear that Facebook is here to stay. Ten years of likes, shares, pokes and yummy lunches have been embedded in indelible font for all ‘friends’ and ‘friends’ of ‘friends’ to see and studies show that it is not making people any happier, in fact, it’s the reverse. A series of studies carried out over the past two years show that LONGTERM USAGE MAY CAUSE UNHAPPINESS.
How can you be unhappy with 4,307 friends and a photos page like Hello Magazine, I hear you ask, well, it seems that therein lies a myriad of stresses. For example, Sally posts a wonderfully posed static snapshot of her life (like everyone she puts her best foot forward and doesn’t upload images of hemorrhoids or ingrowing toenails) she only receives 8 likes, it is pitiful. Particularly when she can see that there were at least 63 other people online at the time that could have liked the photograph and 64 if she includes her sister-in-law, who should have liked same photograph, out of sheer courtesy, after all Sally ‘likes’ all hers. So, if they didn’t ‘like’ it, did they hate it? Did everyone think Sally was being boastful about the glorious afternoon she spent on Robert’s Cove in the middle of March and the amazing air and the yadda yadda yadda. Hours later, Sally sees Donna’s post, from Disneyland Paris, Sally ignores the goofy picture and scroll straight to the likes, 23! Sally becomes sad. Not only does Donna receive more likes, but Disneyland is way better than an Irish beach in March, everyone knows that.
Hard not to get a complex when faced with that level of adversity and difficult not to compare your lifestyle to that of your counterparts and completely understandable how thereafter you might become dis-satisfied with your lot.
The solution, pay the additional 11.1% levy on non-Facebook users and count it cheap for the price of happiness.