The social milieu has a lot to answer for. Since its inception it's bred paranoia, sucked a huge amount of our time and indoctrinated us to think that what appears in our feed is worthy of chipping at our esteem. And now the latest algorithmic intrusion is going to max out all of the above.
Back in the primitive days of MySpace- my first foray into social media, I remember wracking my brain for some very clever, epitaph style bio: "exuberant, funny and sensitive" filled the "about me" section. As if it was an official declaration of selfhood that others would admire.
It was such an exciting and new way to say Hi! to friends; a way to jazz up the time between homework and bedtime where you'd lather each other's profiles with gushing affection. During MySpace infancy, I remember waking up with shuddering anticipation one morning: "I HAVE to see what people have written."
Fast forward to Facebook and this bogus validation is worryingly, a dependable drug. And now the way our news feed will be presented to us will produce even more systematic jealousy than it already achieves.
I've never been one to care about what others think- especially at face value. But I have fought with feelings of what others might think of what I'm doing with my life.
When you get onto Facebook, the pop up feeds are tailored to the timeliness of what your friends are talking about. It is usually awash with the most sinfully boring trivia; bear with:
"X Factor on, feet up with a cuppa and some biccies....don't mind if I do!"
"Having a really bad day <3 xxxxxx"
"Cheese and wine night. Things are going to get messy!"
"Will this weather just do one!"
And unbelievably, "Enough is enough, it's time to take care of ME. That is all."
You can unclench now.
All that is vapid in this world is written into these none statuses. People actually think these make headlines in people's bedrooms. On the reverse of that, you get your prophetic, two paragraph minimum, warm and fuzzy life updates that bring an onslaught of oo-ing and aa-ing from people you don't really know followed by automated 'likes' from relentlessly loyal poodles.
People treat their Facebook profile as a fan page, involving some very insane administration.
1. Strategic snapshots when out and about for the sole purpose of a photo update (that has to look good in both full and thumbnail form)
2. A matching cover photo
3. A solid amount of check-ins
4. A visual log of "my life is better than yours".
5. Keeping up appearances by foaming friends with comments and submitting to global challenges.
When I was job-hunting, I'd see posts from people about their new positions and how great it was and how much they #lovemyjob. For the record, a # has no place on Facebook. I stupidly felt obligated to join in and update my life, but I really didn't have much to share except my fair-weather freelance pieces. And I did. And I felt so high when people would 'like' it and then love it with comments. That lasted as long as it took people to see it and forget it. It's always welcomed to get nice comments from people about your work but to do it with such a hunger for mass appeal made me ick and stop. Sharing work to generate critical conversation is all well and good but Facebook is just a fairy tale feeding machine.
To be mindful is to exclude the judgment of others. Why does the otherness weigh heavy on our mind so much? Being a twenty-something with an impressionable disposition makes us perform a certain way online: it makes us paint a picture while stupefying ourselves to believe we are on a pedestal. All for getting the unfeasible 1021 friends to agree.
Facebook courts you into thinking you're failing or overachieving. It will never bring you lasting happiness. Waiting for the total 'likes' to succeed the likes on previous posts only curtails happiness. How do I know this? I've been that 'like' whore. I have given the likes and waited for them. Refresh, nothing, refresh, boo, refresh.. ....oh! Who?"
But just remember, nothing actually happens on Facebook. I've gone without it intermittently and found that time away sheds those insecurities. All I missed out on were a steady and tactical stream of people telling other people how "ggoooorrgeouss" they look.
Here's the hypocritical part: I haven't gone t-total. I still use Facebook for messaging distant relatives, keeping abreast with people's evolving hotness and the saving grace that are the birthday reminders. However, my presence is reclusive. I only hope that you, dear reader, are not wasting your energy into feeding egos and worrying about what people think of you, like I did. Who cares? As long as you're at peace with yourself and what you're doing, why get the approval of others. Is it your life or theirs?