I have a scenario for you- let me know if it sounds familiar.
It’s evening and your kids are snoozing and you decide to indulge in a little FB action.
So you log on.
You intend to look at your friends weekend pictures, or to stay up to date on the happenings on the coast that is opposite you, and you’re just
And you’ve only been logged in for 5 minutes.
You can feel jealousy rising, you can feel frustration rising, you can feel this absolute anger wiggling inside you – and you can’t figure out why.
I’ll tell you why:
Information overload and false-identity.
Our brains aren’t supposed to be able to handle the negative world around us in the amount that we are fed daily. The stress of the modern world takes its toll without remorse, but to add on top of that the hardships of others is a huge, huge, huge, huge, huge stressor. We are given news from across the globe. We hear of devastation and it is hard. It is extremely hard to remember that you cannot physically help every single person you want to help. Though sometimes helpful and eye-opening, information overload is something that causes the normal Facebook-er to stress, and the false-burden-bearer to become very weighed-down. Lots of information and sharing experiences can be a good thing. It provides community to those that experience divorce, miscarriage, postpartum depression, and so many others a community of shoulders to cry on. It gives those suffering from anxiety a safe haven to write their deepest fears and struggles *cough*. But when not used sparingly, it can be a very suffocating experience. You feel incapable, you feel not-knowledgeable, you feel blinded by things you had no idea were happening and now you have to be an activist, you have to choose a side, you have to do SOMETHING.
There is one version of ourselves on Facebook. And that is the best one. We don’t take the chance of being judged or side eyed, because there is constant fear of rejection. We compare our real selves to the best selves of others and are immediately discouraged.
Here’s a great example:
I took this photo at the park on Saturday afternoon.
I didn’t post it anywhere but if I would have I would have felt pressured to say something along the lines of-
‘We took the kids to the park, today!’
‘Perfect day to get out there and climb something!’
‘Drew and I took the kids to the park and had such a great time.’
I forced Cade to climb this rock. If you look closely enough, he is legit crying. For real. Zoom in and check it out. I wanted to leave after 10 minutes. I hate the park, I love my kids but man, I hate the park. I climbed up the rock to get Cade down and slipped and looked like a total ham. Under that zip-up is a dirty t-shirt I pulled out of the laundry hamper because I haven’t done laundry in a month. I’m going through a little bout of depression and I’m not sorry about it.
The bottom-line is this:
Through the over-abundance of information, we get an overload of negative, and an overload of positive in other people’s lives. The positive things make us question if our parenting is even good at all. The negative makes us question if we’re doing anything right for society. A lot of times, we feel guilty. Guilty that we aren’t doing enough.
So instead of saying that, we post pictures of our kids with a lame-ass caption to feel like good parents and to make people who didn’t take their kids to the park feel like total shit about themselves. Or at least, that’s how I feel when I notice other moms posting photos at the park while I’m at home with Day 1 period and a backache the size of Texas. But why do we do this? Why do we waste time being fancy versions of ourselves?
We do this to be recognized for living life better than our friends and family.
We want to be better than the others.
We want everyone on our friend’s list to say things like, “WOW. YOU ARE THE BEST OF THEM ALL.” And when they do, when they do tell us that we are the best of them all, we get happy feelings and we feel better, and we get Social Media High.
What is Social Media High ?
Social Media High is the feeling of fulfillment that comes from getting attention on social media.
Lots of likes, shares, comments, and double-tapping hearts and you experience:
- Increased heart rate
- Incorrect time perception (you spend 4 hours on your newsfeed but it feels like 10 minutes and you look at a clock and feel like crap about yourself because you just wasted 1/6th of your day on Facebook)
- Obsessive Tendencies (Checking for new notifications)
- Priority Confusion
- Increased/Distorted sense of “Fame” (thanks for the addition, BA.)
We basically feel like we look like this:
But in reality… :
I know that several of my closest friends have had to edit their Facebook Privacy settings to insure they don’t lose their minds with over-information. I know that I feel GREAT when I get a lot of likeys on the Facebook and I know that some of my statuses take more time away from my family than I’d like because I’m so obsessed with responses. I know the real version of my friends and family and it hurts me that they feel they can’t express themselves realistically because of fear of rejection.
So I put together some tips for myself and I’m sharing them with you.
Here are some tips for staying humble and sane on Facebook, because home-girl, you are not as cool as you think you are and neither am I.
1: Utilize your privacy settings.
Check out the options for customizing what you see on your newsfeed. If you are feeling bombarded by certain family members or friends, take them out of it. That puts the ball in your own court for communication and can completely save a relationship. I can specifically remember my sister-in-law giving me some great advice a couple years ago. “Sometimes, you need to love someone from a distance.” It is very true. Social media has negatively affected my relationships in the past and honestly, had I just gone about using social media a different way, a lot of heartache would have been saved for everyone involved.
2: When you feel negative emotions BOW. OUT.
Don’t just continue to scroll when you start getting pissy. It will fix nothing. Put yourself in healthy habit-forming mode. At the first sign of something frustrating you, take action. Log out. Put your phone down. Chill.
3: Social Media should enhance your relationships, not be the basis of them.
Dudes, be good friends to each other. Good friends don’t just write on your Facebook wall. Facebook is a place to be virtual friends, LIFE is a place to interact, enjoy each others company and encourage one another to freaking live the best way they can. If you’re one of those people who spend more time communicating with the people you love on Facebook? Please stop it. Stop it right now. Woman up and be a good friend. (Points at self.)
4: Sometimes you need a social media break.
You’ll know when you need it the most, but it can be extremely beneficial to reset how you communicate online. Sometimes we get in that habit of over-sharing and don’t realize we’re doing it. A social media break can help you reevaluate which places you should have input and which places you shouldn’t.
I want your social media self to be just as fabulous as you are.
Try to make the time you spend on social media beneficial to your life-if it isn’t, then why are you wasting your time.
Rock it, babe.