Every time I wander onto Facebook, I find myself feeling utterly depressed. As I grind down the day chained to my desk, I am constantly reminded I have no girlfriend, no money and am forced to work such long hours for such little pay and as a result I have no social life.
By escaping onto Facebook, all the pages, status updates and hilarious comments posted by my "friends" in the Facebook Universe remind me just how boring and empty my own life truly is.
That was until I had a shocking realisation.
Moments ago, I was cruising down the Information Superhighway, making good time getting to 5pm until I detoured to check out a photo gallery on Facebook. Straight away I was envious of this person's magnificent life! It looked like somewhere, this someone had attended the party of the century. I clicked out of the gallery and further examined this person's page. Their life was one big holiday; they were either partying at all the trendiest hotspots around the globe or always travelling to far off remote and exotic destinations for work.
To rub salt in the wound, scrolling down their time line, I saw that they were time and time again snapped with their arms draped around girls who wouldn't look out of place at a Victoria Secret Lingerie Parade ... After this I immediately thought;
"Geez... This guy truly does have it all!"
That is when my curiosity caused me to look at whose page I was on... And that's when I discovered... I was looking at my own!
Why does everyone's life always look better on Facebook? I can only think back to Ben Elton's novel Blind Faith, and I ask have we become so self-absorbed and so shamelessly self-promoting that we are leading the world towards a meaningless dystopian future worse than anything Orwell could have dreamed up in 1984?
Behind the pictures of 'My Great Life', I remembered what the moments really were like... That 'awesome party' was in reality, the worst night of my life. Shortly after where I am photographed laughing and dancing, my then girlfriend and I got into a fight, which ended in her calling a cab and in the morning 'us' parting ways.
Or all those incredible overseas trips to places like Mykonos, Ibiza, Bali and Prague... As fun as they look online, all I can remember is lost luggage, fist fights, hangovers, missed flights and in one case, a rat infested hostel! Work trips weren't much better, whizzing around the world, trying to fight unwinnable battles against time zones and deadlines and losing consciousness as I play the game of "how many hours my body really can go without sleep?"
And as for the long list of girls I've been snapped with... Well, some are ones I've tried to conquer... and failed, others are simply those met on a night out, never to be seen again... Then there are my friend's girlfriends... As for the rest? I don't even know... They must have been just walking past!
So understanding this, from now on, I won't be upset or jealous looking into the lives of others on Facebook anymore... Because, it's not really what our lives are... Facebook is simply what we want people to think they are. In reality, we're all just as boring as the next bloke. Facebook is nothing more than the greatest self-promotion vehicle ever constructed!
Once you get your head around the fact Facebook is only an aspirational platform, then it's not hard to see what type of people your friends really are and what they want to be seen as... Already, I've put my friends into six categories... You should have a look at yours to see where they fit, and also see which category you fall into, because like me, you might not like what you find!
1) The Soapboxer:
This is perhaps the MOST annoying 'Facebooker'. They status update no less than 100 times a day, offering their 'expert' commentary on everything from national sporting selections to exit strategies for Afghanistan. This friend has an opinion on everything and just wants to be heard. In another life before Facebook they called Talkback Radio stations... That was of course until all of them finally blocked their number.
2) The Liker:
This is the person has their finger permanently stuck on the "Like" button... Selling a car? "Like"... Going on Holiday? "Like"... Just wrote something heartfelt about your family pet that died on this day last year? "Like"... Got sacked from work today? "Like"... They "Like" every post ever written, no matter how inappropriate "Liking" something may be... Seriously... "Liking" some comments, it makes no sense! If you can't say something, sometimes you shouldn't say anything at all. These are the people you want to take out to a bar one night and say they cannot say anything in any conversation for the entire evening except "Like"... Only then, will they see how stupid they really are.
3) Little Mr. or Miss "Look at Me":
A stalker's best friend, they insist on keeping the world updated with where they are, what they are doing, who they are with and how awesome it is... My question is; if they are really having such a good time, while would they be feeling the need to take time away from the fun they are having, fish out there smart phone, and log what they doing? Previously, this person was the one in your group who would spend a whole party telling tales about the last party they were at and what relatives of semi famous C-List celebrities may have been there.
4) The Hoarder:
Perhaps the loneliest person on Facebook... They're usually a combination of 'The Soapboxer', 'The Liker', and the Little Mr. or Miss "Look at Me". What makes them different is they usually have over 1,000 Facebook Friends compared with your paltry 217. They're more active than most on Facebook, making them exceedingly popular in Cyberspace. In real life, they usually have no meaningful relationships and no friends good enough that they can ask them to help move house. They "Hoard" friends to satisfy their insecurity... Look for the Hoarder in your Facebook Friends... It's probably the person you haven't spoken to since High School!
5) The Philosopher:
The internet can't be all sunshine and free porn. It has a downside... The internet also allows stupid people to think they're smart. As philosopher's cannot come up with any of their own Status Updates, they pinch memorable, witty and famous quotes from history's greatest minds... They are usually annoyingly frequent and out of context. Think Ron Burgundy saying "When in Rome".
6) The Traveller:
This is the wealthy cousin of Little Mr. or Miss "Look at Me". They are always travelling around the world on fantastic, exotic and exclusive holidays. They feel the need to give you hourly updates of where they are and how much better they are than you because you are not there with them. The more humble traveller might try hiding their bragging by checking in at airports overseas saying "can't wait to come home"... Or; "Geez... Italian Drivers are Crazy"... But still, they're not really complaining, it's only to let you know they are not at home. Hopefully, because they befriended your convicted criminal brother... They will arrive back from holidays to a burgled home and have that smug superior looked wiped straight off their face!