In a recent article in the Huffington Post, author Daniel Gulati postulated that the most dominant communication platform, Facebook, is making us miserable. Regrettably, I have to agree. (Of course, I don't have the courage to post this on my Facebook page... LOL).
Facebook, and social media such as Twitter, along with text messaging and constant access to smart phones, means that we suddenly have instant access to everything and everyone all the time.
How many times have you gone to a meeting or a party and noticed how many people were on their smart phones? As Mr. Gulati discusses in his article, our thoughts become splintered. Suddenly we're not focusing on what we're doing, we're focusing on other things. We're not 'present in the now' and end up not participating in our lives. We become observers. Observers in other's lives, and observers of our own. (I wonder how much of this creates adult attention deficit disorder...) We can't concentrate on the here and now.
And, then come the comparisons... You see photos of people on beaches, their nice homes, comments about trips to the gym, how great their kids are etc, and you start to compare yourself to them. In this sometimes glowing Facebook world, we never see the late nights, the struggles, the fears - just the things on the surface. We're often comparing ourselves to this false ideal of what other people's lives are like, and inevitably coming up short. Facebook can be the Photoshopped models in magazines... an impossible ideal, a plastic world.
Then, there are those who use Facebook to gripe. Gripe about EVERYTHING from their kids, to in laws, to their homes and more. You have to wonder if this is a cry for attention, a way for their `friends` to notice them.
Or they might use Facebook for passive-aggressive comments and behaviours. It's easy to hide behind the text. You don't have to say the nasty things face-to-face.
Words can't hurt? Cyberbullying via Facebook is now becoming more common. Tragically, this has driven people to suicide, as has been publicised in the news lately.
Is there a solution? In today`s society, you can`t avoid Facebook, social media and smart phones. Unless you become a hermit, it is a daily reality. Mr. Gulati suggests we spend more time talking to people in person and limit our interactions via Facebook to one visit a day.
I agree, in theory. In reality, this is hard to do. But, I think that in order for our society to have healthy children and adults, we need to spend more time with people in person, not on the computer.