I’ve taken an admittedly small look around to see what kinds of articles have been written about the pitfalls of social networking sites, specifically Facebook.
I see a handful of the obvious things discussed about the pitfalls of it, and perhaps I’m just not typing in the right keywords to trigger the focus I’m looking for. Or, perhaps, it hasn’t been really written about (which I highly doubt).
I’ve noticed over the time since I first heard about MySpace, and then Facebook, and I’ve watched one essentially die while the other started to flourish, or from a different perspective, one fell to the teens and tweens and the other matured a bit. However you’d like to look at it.
I noticed (even experienced) the rush of “friending” and the different views on “status” when it came to who was on your list, or how many, and all that.
I noticed a shift in the way people socialized both online and in person.
I eventually noticed an incredible amount of social pressure that became of social media websites.
It’s something I very quickly outgrew back in the days of MySpace, and left it. I eventually made a profile on Facebook, and it took quite a while to really get into the way it was set up and how it was generally used. It remains mostly as a way for family and friends that may not be in close geographical proximity to keep up on things going on in our life.
It became very interesting to me to find out that some people actually do add random people from all over the world as “friends” on their pages, and it seemed like such an odd idea to me. (I do tend to get a bit tunnel visioned in my own ways of using some things, admittedly.)
Other trends I seemed to find over time as I watched different things unfold, mostly on other people’s pages, were fascinating in a kind of “rubbernecking” kind of way.
Political, religious, you know, the typical stuff you see people getting all self-righteous about. And of course there has been the selfie phenomenon (which I’m just as guilty of doing for a while), things like Foursquare, different trends.
One of the oddest I think I’ve witnessed is the amount of pressure, the weight, the strange importance of being hyper-involved in other people’s lives on a social networking site. The weird and misplaced validation that came from getting tons of likes on something, or other types of attention.
The pressure to constantly keep up with every last little thing on a social networking site, especially with the massive boom of smart phones and the instantaneity of posting, updating, sharing, pictures, videos. As we’ve all heard, it seems to have taken over such a large part of people’s lives and not just the young ones, either. The sheer amount of times some people spend skimming through their feeds, or adding things to their own feed for others to see, to comment on, to like. Constantly checking for new updates.
Sure, that’s an issue in and of itself. But one of the other things I’ve noticed in all this is the validation that it creates for some people. And the pressure on others to offer up that validation through liking, commenting, offering so many platitudes, or pop-phrases, or pats on the back, of siding with said person. It seems to have grown exponentially online as opposed to what I’ve seen in face-to-face social interactions.
To me, that validation seems so empty, and I can’t figure out why it is so heavily sought after. Or why it’s so defining for some people and what their view as their relationships or friendships. They use it to try to quantify the quality of their relationships, and set themselves up for some pretty big disappointment when people don’t magically know what is suddenly expected of them.