Social Network Suicide

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A friend of mine asked me this week to explain my reasons for committing social network suicide:

I’m not going to bore you to death with the details of how
FB got started or how it works -I’m sure most of you have watched “The Social
Network” and probably all have facebook accounts yourselves. Facebook has
revolutionized the way humans interact with each other. With a few clicks you
can message your cousin in London, fill your friends in on how you scored on
that Finance mid-term, or even find out whether that girl who sits next to you
in into the same bands you like. Facebook has more than 500 million users, each
with an average of 130 friends, spending a total of over 700 million minutes on
the network each month. If you haven’t noticed it yet, the unique thing about
Facebook is that rarely will you find a profile that displays anything less
than only the best moments of that person’s life.

When I was on Facebook, I had close to a thousand friends,
easily more than as many photos, and everyone of them depicting a concert I
went to, a party I was at, a ceremony, that time I went to Greece, that time I
went to Venezuela; you get the picture. Anyone who looked into my life from the
window of a web-browser would probably think that I’m the man, that I have more
friends than they do, that I have a more exciting life, or that I’m more
popular than they are. As sweet as that would be, it simply isn’t a holistic
view of my life. Instead of presenting myself for who I really am -flaws,
fears, frustrations and failures -I chose to create a more popular, more
successful version of myself. If you’ve ever sat around at home on vacation for
more than a day, you may recall how easy it is to subdue your boredom by
surfing the internet, and updating yourself on your “friends” lives. Very
quickly, you may begin to compare your own life to everyone else’s profiles. Maybe
you’ll feel bummed that you don’t travel as much as they do; maybe you wish you
were more athletic, maybe you’re jealous that someone else has an internship
for the summer and you’re still waiting for one. And then maybe you feel better
about yourself when you finally come across someone’s profile that’s more
boring than yours. For me, I realized that there really isn’t any benefit from
being connected to a bunch of people that I’m loosely “friends” with. I also
realized that comparing myself to my peers is dumb -especially when it’s done
through a biased lens -and that I’d rather pursue real friendships with people
that I care about enough to see in person, rather than just creep on every now
and then.

Ultimately, Facebook causes people to be self-conscious,
envy others, feel bad about themselves, or feel good about themselves by
judging others. Ask yourself this: to what degree do you compare your life to
peoples’ “profiles”, and do you believe that false social approval is something
worth striving for. Would you rather people know you for who you are, or as the
person you’d have them to believe you are?

Think of it this way; if you were to die tomorrow, will it make
any difference what people thought of you?

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One thought on “Social Network Suicide

  1. DAVID ADEYALO ADEWUMI says:

    I shared this on Facebook.
    I’ll have to add your blog to my pulse reader; I enjoy your insights.
    Thanks for sharing.

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