Premise: The content of this article, like all the others, is RELATIVE. I would urge all of you to not feel pulled in due for any reason in particular. But it’s welcome, as always, who wants to discuss different points of view, arguments and other considerations regarding the article. Have a good reading (:
I felt that this moment would come and I’m sure that many others before me, have dealt with the same subject, and perhaps even in the same terms…but I feel I must give voice to my thoughts about it.
It’s finally my moment to talk about FACEBOOK.
I think all of us know quite well how this social network works and I won’t certainly be here to rehash on its modes of operation. I will however point out, in particular, the effects that these modes create. Effects found by me on myself but that, in my opinion, often involve many of the users of Facebook. The points to be addressed are many and I honestly don’t know where to start (I won’t even treat all of them), but I think it’s right to start from the feeling that led me to write this article:
I have been realizing for years, but few days ago more than ever, how Facebook has got the power to produce negative effects on me, on my psyche and on my personality. Among the other things, however, the one that made me saddest was my pathetic counting the number of “Likes” that I could collect for each status, photo, link…or whatever! And, above all, from time to time, I was paying attention to WHO had clicked that damn button (Y)! COUNTING THE “LIKES” ????? Then I said to myself: how have you reduced yourself, Martina? Realizing that a “Like” could have so much value to me, it made me sooooo SAD!
And not only that.
I often found myself devoting so much time flipping through photo albums of COMPLETE STRANGERS or people of whom I DIDN”T CARE AT ALL, analyzing the virtual life of people with whom I wouldn’t even have said “hello”, or people to whom I would have said “hello” (a real one) but of whose lives (especially the virtual ones) didn’t interested me at all. And all this for what? Maybe just to see how those people, on Facebook, were dressed, if they were happy or sad, or to see how much they were ridiculous… Until I realized that I was the most RIDICULOUS one, doing what I was doing!!!
I was losing then, inexplicably, the conception of time and hours passed by simply counting “Likes”, flipping randomly through photos of random people, with no particular motivations, or commenting on links and status for which I haven’t really had interest and then, maybe, finding myself bogged in virtual and futile conversations, debates and quarrels to which, in real life, I would have NEVER taken part or, in real life, I would have tackled in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT way. And here I take this opportunity to emphasize my bad relationship with debates on FB: during debates face to face, the person in front of you cannot escape, drink a coffee or go to the toilet before to answer you, he/she cannot search for clever answers on Google to reply to you, he/she cannot wait for you to lose your patience before giving you an answer, nor he/she can avoid to do that (even if he/she did, you would read, however, a response through his/her attitude). I love watching my interlocutor’s reactions and paying attention to his/her looks, uncertainties, firmness, rhetorical skills, his/her insight, stability, instability, coldness, warmth, wisdom, his/her superficiality, restlessness, calm…and so on! I love don’t miss anything of my interlocutor! Instead, I found myself there on Facebook commenting random links and status and often waiting entire days for an answer, whose waiting was ruining me inside…and in the while, I was thinking of the thousands likely reactions, of my virtual interlocutor, to my opinions.
And not only that.
In the case of public debates, i.e. through public comments, it was strong even the thought about what people (ANYONE) could think about my comments (how many “Likes” will earn my snappy sentence??? Will I look pretty smart to the eyes of intelligent people???)…people who had nothing to do with the conversation, but that could take part of it in ANY WAY & ANYTIME, with or against me. That meant only one thing: ANXIETY! This has engendered in me just a lot of fucking anxiety, apprehension, worry, restless curiosity, impatience and so on…with attached OBSESSIVE CONTROL, minute by minute, of any updates!!
Another fundamental point, which made my FB (& real) life infinitely sad, was the fact of “suffering” because of the publication of happy posts by strangers or people that I didn’t really like. A sort of envy mixed with latent selfishness & with annexes thoughts of ill omen. Why is that ????? I was doing that even if…I was happily (or perhaps only apparently?) satisfied with myself and my life. Unfortunately this is one of the most evil psychology of Facebook: whether you like it or not, the protagonist of a happy photo or a positive status of which you are witness, will always seem happier than you, in that moment, when you looked at it. Maybe that person is the saddest person in the world (and maybe you know it), maybe that picture is at the only party to which that person has been in the last 6 months (and maybe you know it), or maybe the same person has staged that fake smile with 42 teeth to deceive the people of Facebook, and maybe even his/herself, of his/her happiness (and maybe you know even this)…but it doesn’t matter because, in a corner of your subconscious, you’ll always think: “Look how he/she’s having fun, lucky him/her!” or related & similar thoughts…BECAUSE, IF IN THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT, YOU’RE THERE CHECKING WHAT PEOPLE DO ON FACEBOOK, IT MEANS THAT “YOU’RE NOT REALLY HAVING FUN”! If you were truly happy with yourself, doing things you love to do, alone or with people you really love, YOU WOULD IGNORE FACEBOOK! When your real life is full of joy and of joyful people, the thought of seeing on FB what people do, it doesn’t even tickle you.
Your incomplete life leads you to seek refuge in Facebook…but Facebook, in turn, makes your life incomplete..because it keeps you bound to a virtuality that won’t ever allow you to reach your completeness!
It’s like a fucking dog that he is trying to bite its tail! It was indeed tested that Facebook makes people SAD because the emotions of its users are often influenced by what they read…and the most positive post makes readers negatives.
My feeling of sadness was even deeper because of my uncontrollable need to share my goals & personal (dis)satisfactions with FB world: PEOPLE, I DID IT! PEOPLE, I UNDERSTOOD ALL ABOUT LIFE! PEOPLE, I’M DIFFERENT AND I’M PROUD OF IT! PEOPLE, I’VE GOT A JOB! PEOPLE, I’LL NEVER GET MARRIED or PEOPLE I’M SAD & MISUNDERSTOOD! PEOPLE, I SUFFER AND I’M SICK OF EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE! PEOPLE, MY COUNTRY SUCKS!
PEOPLE, I’M NOT SATISFIED ABOUT MY LIFE AND I WRITE SAD STATUS LOOKING FOR AN HELP FROM ALL OF YOU, EVEN IF I DON’T KNOW YOU, EVEN IF I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU AND YOU, EVEN LESS, ABOUT ME! And so on.. I couldn’t keep my happiness to me, or at least, to share it, in a friendly and private way, just with the dearest people..I COULD NOT! I absolutely wanted to see HOW MANY “LIKES” MY HAPPINESS COULD COLLECT!
I had, as I usually do, many programs in mind for my days: reading books, writing or translating articles, doing researches, playing, drawing, running…but 70% of my projects almost always failed for LOOKING AT FACEBOOK FOR HOURS WITHOUT ANY REASON! Moreover, in addition to my mental health, I was damaging also my physical posture, my sight etc..
The thought of deleting my FB account has appeared several times in my head, and I’ve also tried to do it in the past…but with very little results. Because, whether I want it or not, this social network is useful to me for various reasons (blog, friends abroad, news, job, etc.). I’ve had for long time the idea of creating a profile where I say a little or nothing about myself (that’s what the real life is for!) and, instead, to use for practical, useful and immediate purposes (that’s what the virtual life is for!)…that’s why I created a profile to be used only and exclusively for my blog, a profile that, however, always keeps alive the possibility to keep in touch with close friends, relatives and so on.
And here I take this opportunity to talk about another FB aspect that I would like to share with you, and that is the COLLECTION OF FRIENDS, like figurines of an album of players (thankfully with no duplications). I just say…if in the real life we don’t speak or we speak reluctantly, why should you be in my virtual life?? I state that I don’t deny anyone the opportunity to know me virtually (although even this new approach of meeting makes me very sad), but if after several attempts, it doesn’t arise any kind of connection between you and me, why should you be offended to not belong anymore to my list of virtual friends?
I take this opportunity also to unveil the second reason that led me write this article.
It was also written for all those who, in one way or another, felt or will feel offended by me to have removed them from Facebook. And to all of them I say: “The fact that I have deleted you from Facebook doesn’t assume that I hate you or that I don’t esteem you or that I want to tease you! I just don’t find necessary my VIRTUAL relationship with you, but it doesn’t mean that any real relationship is excluded (as well as, I repeat, it doesn’t mean that you cannot contact me anyway). The fact that you are not among my FB friends doesn’t presuppose that I wouldn’t say hello to you if I met you on the street or that I wouldn’t willingly exchange a few words with you if I met you in the pub while I drink a beer. On the contrary!!! (If I was you, I would be offended if someone added you on FB and then he/she wouldn’t say even hello to you when you meet her/him on the street – which happens in 70% of cases, because VIRTUALITY IS EASY). Damn, don’t you think that we can be friends in real life without being friends on Facebook ?? (Damn…. people have survived without FB before!!). Also, if you, like me, do not find a real interest to relate with me, for which reason you should feel offended?!?!?! On the contrary, you should thank me for having had the sincere courage to have cut a sterile relationship like ours! If you feel offended by the fact that I have deleted you from my FB friends, despite your estimate/interest/level of friendship towards me is equal to 0.3 %, then I assume it’s just because this hurts your frivolous pride, or because you worry about the fact that what happened will make less populated your home/wall..or, perhaps, because you risk to lose a position among WHO HAS GOT MORE FRIENDS.. Mmm no, maybe it’s simply because you cannot longer know my “private” life/business or, even worse, because you cannot show me how much you are HAPPY & SATISFIED ABOUT YOUR LIFE! In that case, I’m sorry to tell you that I DON’T GIVE A DAMN! ”
Honestly, I respect me too much to see myself as a victim of these stupid psychological games that the little evil man behind FB plans, second by second, to make all of us miserable and drugged virtual automatons, like puppets in the hands of a sad “virtual reality”. Don’t tell me that you have never felt, at least once, to be victims of all of this crap, or that you don’t think that all of this (you feel part of it or not) is terribly SAD!?!?!
FACEBOOK SERIOUSLY AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH!
Don’t get addicted!