Keeping up with the Jones'?

Is being social on Facebook hurting you?

The social downside to our beloved social network.  

To say Facebook has had a significant impact on the culture of our lives is a pretty obvious statement.  As a connector, I do value what Facebook brings to my life.  It helps me to stay in touch with people.  It adds joy to my day when I can read about someone’s new baby or promotion at work.  It’s a helpful way to organize people for a party and receive information about everything from hiring a painter to finding your kids a summer camp.  

Despite its many benefits, I seem to find myself having similar (in person) conversations with friends and clients about how Facebook has been leaving a negative footprint in their well-being. 

Here are 3 ways that being social on Facebook may be hurting you –

1.      Production zapper.   I know I have developed a bad habit of hopping on Facebook to “give myself a break for a moment” when really I’m avoiding writing an email (or even a blog post).  The challenge for me is that moment easily becomes 20 minutes and afterwards I typically feel some level of regret for wasting valuable time that rarely contributes to my day.

2.     Likes = social worth.  How many of you take note of who and how many people liked your last post?  I do.  I have heard from many people who feel compelled to check their phones in the minutes and hours of posting an update just to see how it’s trending.  That is reasonable if we stay fairly rational about the matter.  The trouble begins when we start to expect that our friends and family will like everything we post and when we connect the number of likes we receive as a measure of our self-worth. 

3.     “Keeping up with the Jones’.”  Most of us like to share good news on Facebook.  But I think we all have that “person” in our Facebook network that seems to have the perfect life.  You know the one I’m talking about.  The person who expresses nothing but unwavering and profound love for their spouse, while their children are top students in their preschools, has the perfect job, tidy home while leading social change and has six-pack abs.  Facebook posts represent a moment in time and there can be varying motivations for sharing what we do.  It is normal for us to compare ourselves to others and so we may feel slightly inadequate beside certain people whose posts suggest exaggerated achievement.  What’s important to note is that we always compare our inside (our feelings, hopes and fears) to what we see of another person’s outside (their appearance, job and other accomplishments), which is never the full story.

Facebook is a tool that we need to make work for us and not the other way around.  Being intentional about our posts, when and how we read our feeds and using perspective about how we engage with friends and the meaning we attach to those interactions is how we can be both social and happy. 

So, let’s be intentional together and remember that we’re so much more than a virtual ‘like’. Give it a try and let me know how you make out!