The Facade of Facebook

By Anthony Gold

In any given month, over 1,310,000,000 people use Facebook. That’s 1.3 billion people. Billion!

In other words, almost a quarter of the entire human species is using Facebook. It’s a remarkable achievement to have that level of connectivity.

Or is it?

Several social-psychology research studies have explored the benefits of Facebook which include reconnecting with lost friends and sharing in one another’s joys.

Paradoxically though, one of the challenges with the social media giant is the ease with which social comparison quickly leads to envy and isolation.

Researchers have developed a theory known as FOMO – or Fear of Missing Out – which is basically a side-effect of watching friends having fun at parties or on vacation while we are sitting at our computer.

And while Facebook enables us to learn what’s going on in other people’s lives, it turns out that we may develop resentment not only for their lives but for our own image and how we compare.

Furthermore, many people post only the positive aspects of their lives, choosing to leave their failure, sadness, and anxiety for less public consumption. But our victimized self chooses to ignore such realities.

When Anna Freud was about fourteen years old and walking through the streets of Vienna with her esteemed father, he said to her, “You see those lovely houses with their lovely facades? Things are not necessarily so lovely behind the facades. And so it is with human beings too.”

And so it is with Facebook as well.

Behind the lovely profile pictures and beautiful life experiences lie the same sense of lack, loneliness, and lament. As we become aware that everyone here is walking the same road, we can transcend the misery and see the shared purpose and deep love that connects all of us. A connection that far exceeds any number of friends, posts, likes, or comments.

Join us in Monday’s class where we will explore the concepts of isolation and envy, particularly their source and how we can overcome them. In the provocative words of Workbook lesson 5, “I am never upset for the reason I think.” We’ll dig into exactly why. I look forward to seeing you then.

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