The Darkside of Social Media

I’m a social media junkie.  I blog, I tweet and occasionally I update my Facebook status.  Social media to me is a lifeline to people back home, friends scattered across various countries and fantastic people I have never met but one day hope to. However, I had a conversation with a friend last night who isn’t a social media junkie.  In fact, social media is something she can’t bring herself to get involved in at all as it brings out feelings of major inadequacies. It should be noted that, in my eyes, my friend shouldn’t have these feelings at all, but she does and it was something I never really considered about social media.

We use social media to update our friends and complete strangers about our lives, our passions, our loves and whatever inane thoughts we feel we should share. To me, an internet junkie for 18 years, it seems so natural to have social interactions this way.  Whilst I’m aware of cyberbullying, the dangers of having your life online for anyone to view and other negative things, I never really thought about how social media could make people feel inadequate. I just saw the good side of social media – the ease of sharing your life with people who, for whatever reasons, were unable to be there to share it with you.  I never saw these life updates as almost a tally score of how other people’s lives are so much better than your own and the mental anguish that could bring.

How do others feel about this? Is this something that quite a lot of you feel either all the time or every now and again? I’m just wondering if I’ve been completely blind to this darkside of social media that perhaps everyone else experiences.

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About Meg

A thirty something queer Aussie geek girl who now lives in Germany.
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5 Responses to The Darkside of Social Media

  1. Andrew says:

    Not what I expected when I read the headline, but an interesting idea nonetheless.
    I feel like this sometime, but mainly in relation to reading a lot of travel blogs. It is the same feeling as reading travel magazines. “Ooo I would like to see/do that.” There is an urge of envy to read what others are doing.
    I am usually able to keep this in check and not letting it get so far as to keep me away from the Net. Sometimes I have to remind myself to stop getting distracted by what everyone is doing and do my own thing. I can see how it could be an overwhelming thing though. There isn’t a NEED to be in the internet circles, and maybe life would be better without them, though I think they are really helpful venues for certain types of people to express themselves in a way they do not feel able to in face-to-face interaction. It would stand to reason that the reverse groups exist as well.

  2. outoutout says:

    I think it can be that way for some people, especially those with friends who seem to post nothing except happy-braggy news. My aunt and uncle are like that. Looking at their Facebook pages, you’d think their lives were picture-perfect: “Look, we got a new car!” “Look, Bratley made the honour roll again!” “OMG, we won the Lotto!” “Isn’t life just WONDERFUL??” Admittedly, I had to turn all that off when I was going through rough times. So yeah, I can completely understand the feelings of inadequacy that might arise via social media.

  3. Jen says:

    Hmmm, very interesting point! And I just read this yesterday about teens facing Facebook depression because they feel inadequate.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42298789/ns/health-mental_health/

  4. Benz says:

    The ones who seem happy all the time annoy me. Especially when I’m in a low mood. So I can understand if reading happy/cocky/show-offy FB statuses may make one feel inadequate. This is where people need to realise that there are different types of FB users.

    Where I don’t tend to filter what I post based on how I feel, I find a lot of my friends will never post about how rotten they feel. FB to them is a good-news-channel. To others it could be an outlet to vent some not-so-happy thoughts without really directing it at anyone in particular.

  5. Pingback: How Social Media Evolved | Garticles

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