We all know THAT person on Facebook. The one who posts vague woe-is-me tales then turn down support in the name of privacy. The one who over-shares important personal information with every random acquaintance they have, and the one who indulges themselves in long-winded rants few others actually care about.
There will be no argument from me that the social media site has its benefits but people are abusing the access it gives them to instant attention.
Dozens of photos of the same babies posted daily get repetitive, charged political stances grow predictable and tiresome and not everyone needs to know every single random thought that passes through your head. (Editor’s note: And please stop with photos of food you’re about to eat. Nobody cares.)
With such a boundaryless look into other people’s lives it’s not unreasonable to assume people are comparing their own lives to those of their peers. These comparisons and what you see on your Facebook new feed does affect your moods.
In the spring of 2014 Facebook copped to the fact it manipulated a random number of user’s new feeds and changed the number of positive versus negative posts they were able to see as part of a psychological experiment.
And this type of incident could without a doubt affect people’s relationships with each other, in large part stemming from a change in how those people felt about themselves.
But corporate manipulation aside, becoming a more trashy than classy Facebook will negatively affect relationships you hold.
When it comes to the infamous Facebook rants, just stop, there are more mature ways to deal with those feelings.
Bottling anger and other negative feelings can lead to aggression, distance in relationships, chronic stress, stress exhaustion, depression, hypertension, mental health problems and poor work performance, according to Suzanne Smith, a clinical associate instructor of psychiatry with the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University.
In an online forum copyrighted to the University of Cincinnati, Smith says many people find positive release in exercise, talking with supportive friends or journaling.
But posting your life’s troubles on Facebook isn’t journaling and it certainly doesn’t qualify as speaking with a trusted friend — unless perhaps it’s through private messaging.
Venting is different than whining and unfortunately Facebook has become a breeding ground for insecure, self-absorbed, self-righteous, shameless attention seekers.
What’s really got my goat these days are the people who post rants full of personal information and feelings not appropriate for the world to relish — which they will.
One particular rant has the author announcing to the online world how they are cleaning out their Facebook harem and if you’re lucky enough to make the cut feel grateful; and how they’re cutting all the lazy people who don’t know how to be a decent friend and spend time with them out of their life because they don’t need that negativity. To me that seems like a fairly obvious bout of self-inflicted negativity right there.
If you really are going to let go of a bunch of negative influences, good, just go and do it without announcing how strong and self-empowered you are for doing so because it really just proves the opposite.
Unless what you’re really looking for is your Facebook friends to come crawling to you hoping and praying they are not the demons you speak of and publicly declaring their friendship. If so, mission accomplished. However, you’re making the rest of us sick.
And doing a little relationship trimming isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact it’s an expected stage of life. Growing apart as lives take different paths, evolving into new people is natural. It doesn’t need to be shamed, it doesn’t mean any of those involved are bad people and it doesn’t need to be turned into a Facebook soap opera.
Amelia Naismith is the new reporter for the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.