Facebook can be a great media connection eliminates the physical boundaries between people: you can find friends from high school you didn’t see, you can be involved in the life of people you can’t meet. However, it can also make you very frustrated to see how other people enjoy their life while you need to go to work and hardly go out. This is what happen to Din…
Facebook and You
Din (26) considers deactivating his account on Facebook, but he cannot. Din is working for a computer company and spends most of his day connected to the Internet. At the beginning, he felt great; he found himself in touch with childhood friends and even went out with girls with whom he was in contact with in the past. Din began to spend more and more time on Facebook, checking what others were doing, and trying to keep up with his “newsfeed,” even during meetings at work. He received many “like”s and felt blessed that so many people wanted to be his “friends”.
Din met with me because he began to feel more and more frustrated and angry to see everyone traveling and having fun, while he was sitting at home. “See for yourself!” He said, “Look at all the gorgeous photos people post on Facebook and then write about happy events in their lives. They all look great. It is frustrating to a guy like me who works most of the day and hardly goes out in the evenings because of exhaustion. Look at how their world is great and mine is gray.”
There are still no long-term studies on the social media revolution, but it was found that we know that it changed the world to a global village, allowing fast connection between people. At the same time, people spend time in front and with the computer more than they spend with people, and the social context becomes mostly virtual. Even when we are around people, we tend to spend more time taking photos to upload to Facebook and less time devoting to the social connection itself. So despite the constant virtual social interaction, people remain isolated and frustrated.
After our first meeting, Din began to realize how he lives more and more of the “virtual social life” and has fewer “real friends”. For therapy homework, Din was asked to call one of his “virtual friends” and try to set up a meeting with him face to face. It took him a while to muster up the courage and call his friend. He even mentioned how he wasn’t “used to calling—just texting.” He was asked to use social media during the meeting and post pictures of him and his friend. After the meeting, he checked his newsfeed and his newly posted pictures. The feedback was great but Din felt disappointment from the poor interaction with the friend.
The next time Din was asked not to use any social media during the meeting with the friend and asked the friend not to use it as well. In therapy reflection, he describe the situation as odd in the beginning, but after a short time the conversation flowed—he felt a touch of intimacy and was able to communicate without having to go through Facebook.
Facebook is an excellent social media tool. However, if you find yourself most of the time scrolling down your newsfeed and feel frustrated to watch others having fun, put it on the side, expose yourself to a “real” social situation, and remember that life is not a post on Facebook—it is a “face to face” interaction. Good luck !