Envying Fakeness

January 20, 2012

“Facebook: Friends’ Happy Pictures Make You Sad.”

According to the study, Facebook is making us sad. Why? It’s all about the kinds of pictures people to post on their pages.

Facebook photos generally depict smiling, cheerful people having good times, conveying a sense of happiness. Of course everyone likes to smile for the camera, so that good cheer may be inflated or false. As others view the photos, they may believe this conveyed sense of  intense happiness is real, making them think that their friends are much happier than they are.

After controlling for race, gender, religious beliefs and whether the volunteers were unattached or in a relationship, the researchers saw a pattern: The more time students spent on Facebook, the more they thought others had it better than they did.

Admittedly, that’s the point of Facebook: to create a persona, a fake you to express the “real” you.  So people smile more, bury their problems so they never have to deal with them.  Facebook is fundamentally about self-expression, and most of the time are not who they think they are, nor are they who they want to be.  Facebook is a fantasy-world, the new Sim City, a version better than the rest because reality is so intermingled it is difficult to separate from fakeness.

So people smile more, just like the Joker.  People publish their good side, their fun nights, their cool happenings.  Yeah, you see some bad news spring into the news feed every now and then, but most just scroll by and see what cool stuff is getting posted.  Facebook is no place for real empathy.  It’s not serious enough for that.

Like Mal Cobb, people confuse the dream world with the real.  The more time they spend in the dream, the more real it becomes.  They truly think people are as happy as they seem on Facebook.  They believe the plastic smiles are genuine because they don’t spend a lot of time looking at genuine smiles.

Sadly, this can make them launch themselves out the window.


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