Why I Won't Be Sharing My Facebook End of Year Review

23/12/2014 18:23 GMT | Updated 22/02/2015 10:59 GMT
Sean MacEntee/Flickr

It's that festive time of year again - when everyone posts the 12-monthly highlights of their fabulous lives on Facebook.

This year, Facebook has created an interactive slideshow thingy that actually puts your 'highlights' together for you and tonnes of my friends are sharing it willy-nilly as the last days of 2014 fall off a cliff.

It's kind of an online version of those dreadful round robin letters you get in Christmas cards, only minus the latest update about Gerard's piles and which swimming badge Jemima won this year.

If you click on one (invariably one long photo opportunity of your beautiful friends having amazing times in fantastic places), Facebook have cleverly made it virtually impossible to click out of again too unless you paste your version on your own wall.

So I've seen that my "It's been a great year - thanks for being a part of it!" post seems to exist of cannulas stuck in the back of my hand, my cat at death's door, my condemned boiler and my trying holiday in Tenerife, all without my (hopefully) funny captions. It's going nowhere near my Facebook wall.

There were none of my best bits, like having lunch at Buckingham Palace or when I DJed at the top of the BT Tower and on the main stage at the Secret Garden Party before Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. That's the kind of stuff I wanted to celebrate about my year.

Then it made me wonder - is it a bad thing that Facebook only really consists of the airbrushed highlights of everyone's lives and that no one is ever really honest about their day to day reality? Why people tend not to write status updates when their life is a bit bobbins but just boast post instead?

Is social media making some people feel inadequate because their lives are less than perfect?

A study by charity Anxiety UK found that Facebook can indeed increase feelings of inadequacy and feed anxiety, with some people feeling less confident when they compared their achievements against those of their online friends.

The study found that for people already prone to anxiety, social media can act something like a prism and prove to be a tipping point.

However, you can of course, always block the people bringing you down, or you know, just log off altogether. Or as a mate of mine said, just acknowledge on the whole that: "Facebook is where you lie to friends and Twitter is where you're honest with strangers."

More interestingly, research by the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, found that while indeed, Facebook is not such a good thing for people with low self-esteem, it's because users with low self-esteem tend to behave counterproductively by repeatedly having negative status updates which just makes themselves less likeable.

It also depends what you want from Facebook and the friends you have on there. While some might only post things on Facebook to impress others, I like to think they're not the kind of people I'd be friends with.

And if some of my friends are suffering from depression or having a bad time, I'd like to think that they will reach out to me personally rather than rely on me catching a status update (Facebook's weird algorithms mean you're not going to spot them all anyway).

While sometimes it may be hard for folk to separate the reality from fake when it comes to social media, which can lead to those feeling negative about themselves feeling even worse, you can view it in much the same way as we view the debate about the airbrushing of images in magazines.

I suppose it's the same reason as why a lot of people prefer flicking through the otherworldly pages of Vogue rather than read Chat magazine (tagline Life! Death! Prizes!).

Me? I like reading both as I find the former pure artistic escapism and the latter unintentionally hilarious. But I mostly use Facebook for staying in touch and having a laugh rather than as an online diary - life is hard enough without burdening your mates by sharing the bad bits on social media. Staying positive in all areas of your life is important and hopefully, you get back what you give out. As the late, great Joan Rivers said: "Laugh and you can deal with it."

As long as you realise that people are posting an airbrushed, edited highlights version of their lives or themselves - in the same way that generally, you don't look like models in the pages of magazines (unless you're very lucky) - you can accept that it's an altered version of reality. But a reality nonetheless that can be hugely enjoyable if you only take the positive. Basically, don't take social media too seriously.

So I'll still be keeping status updates positive in 2015, regardless of anything negative going on in real life. And fingers crossed, I'll have a Facebook end of year round up worth sharing next year...