The first major complaint is the time that is sucked away by facebooking, tweeting and the like. With smart phones and other mobile devices, the Facebook or Twitter app is a constant presence. Whenever there is time to kill, people like to go online and check what’s new with their friends.
The time spent online sometimes even becomes an obstacle to real life friendships. Already exhausted and depleted by too much computer usage, some internet users don’t have the energy to then call a friend and talk to a real person.
But what seems to be the most damaging dynamic is the constant comparing: users who already suffer from depression or low self-esteem find themselves bogged down by the stream of updates and events in the lives of their friends.
They start to feel like they don’t live up to what is presented online, and that their own lives are somehow boring or uneventful, which makes them feel even more depressed and lonely.
There have even been a number of studies about the phenomenon: teens have shown to become depressed when other peers don’t respond to their posts or ignore their friendship requests. The same goes for adults. Nobody wants to be left out of a social circle or even a conversation.
People who find themselves in the role of the pleaser or caretaker of others can start to feel overwhelmed by the demands made online. They feel that everyone requests that they “like” their posts, while they tend to not post as much themselves.
Friendships that seem on an equal footing in real life can easily start to feel unbalanced in cyberspace, and not everybody is able to communicate about the issue straight on.
Most people on Facebook make an attempt to make themselves look good. They will brag about professional achievements, new babies, new girlfriends, milestones their kids have reached, and so on. Those who aren’t quite as lucky feel inadequate and left behind in the face of all these apparent success stories, and stop engaging.
The opposite seems true with people with fewer friends because there isn’t the same need to compare and show off. Users with less friends don’t have the same competition online and have less of a need to stand out in the crowd.
Which points to the next problem – the rampant narcissism. “Look at me” is the M.O. of Facebook, and the more output there is, the more attention you may grab.
And while the garnered attention may (or in the case of there not being enough) or may not feel good for the poster, the recipients of the endless stream of messages won’t appreciate it as much if he or she doesn’t have the same need to show off.
If all these obstacles are true for you and there is little to be gained from social networking, it may be a good idea to ponder quitting.
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Cuándo dejar las redes sociales (May 22, 2012)
Last reviewed: 16 May 2012