– by Angèl Nijskens
Dear European brothers and sisters. It’s so nice to meet you here again, online. I’m pleased to use this wonderful platform to share some thoughts with you. Thoughts that occur in my mind on a daily basis while watching the news, surfing the web or reading the paper. These thoughts often include the question ‘why’. I think that’s because I’m a part of ‘Generation Y’, or as I like to call it, Generation WHY. So I would like to share some of those Generation WHY questions with you now and then. I’m very curious to hear your thoughts, opinions and ideas. Please share them and join the conversation via Twitter using #AskGenWHY.
So for this week… Generation: Why does Facebook make us unhappy?
R U on Facebook?
Being a Gen Y’er, of course I’m on Facebook! But if you ask me, do I like it? Ehm… honestly? Most of the time…nahh. The only reason I’m still using it is because of my work. I need a personal page to access my client’s fan pages. Actually, that’s the only thing I like about Facebook.
This got me thinking. Why, most of the time, do I not enjoy my Facebook visits? I asked Google and found some answers. Seems I am not the only one…phew! Actually, 33% of Facebook users appear to feel unhappy while scrolling their timelines. Are you one of them? The main reason for this unhappiness is ‘envying our Facebook friends’. I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg thought about that when he created his vision for the world to be more open and connected. Don’t think so.
Why a picture hurts more than a thousand words
I can relate to these feelings and I bet you can too. Imagine you’re craving a summer holiday but cannot afford it right now. Then you really love to see all those wonderful pictures of your friends enjoying a hot summer day at the beach, boat or swimming pool. Or what if you see posts of your friends having a great time at a party. For you (lying on the couch bored out of your mind) to find out that you weren’t invited. Or for you to lose your job during a company reorganization and find out through a happy Facebook post that your annoying, lazy colleague can keep his. Let’s unfriend that one.
These things are just annoying but I can image people getting really depressed over Facebook. What if you’re a couple desperately trying to get pregnant for a long time, but it simply won’t happen for you. I can only imagine what feels like to look at all their friends’ photos showing everything from the ultrasound scans to the baby’s first step. Frustrated to say the least.
Unwillingly giving the wrong impression
Of course we mean no intentional harm with our post. Not to others, neither to ourselves. Sometimes we post things without realizing what they might cause. Recently I spoke to a close friend (in real life 😉 ) who has his own business. I was talking to him about his business and asked him if everything was going well. He replied to me it surprised him that so many of his friends asked him that question recently. ‘I had some though times starting up my business but I’m doing just fine now. I don’t understand why people think I’m not,’ he told me a little frustrated. That got me thinking. I noticed this guy posts, likes and shares a lot on Facebook during the day. Businesswise, but also on his personal profile. I can image this gets people thinking ‘doesn’t this guy have better things to do?’
So I decided to be honest and tell him how I thought. ‘Wauw, that surprises me,’ he said. ‘ Of course my friends (and customers) can see my every Facebook move. All my ‘likes’ often take one second but still I can imagine people think I’m on Facebook all the time instead of selling my products. I wasn’t aware of that. What people don’t realize, is that Facebook is actually the place for me to do just that.’ Another example of Facebook causing frustration.
I am curious for your thoughts on this one. Please share your own examples of Facebook posts that frustrate you, I know there are so many out there! Or maybe you are one of the people who actually gets a smile on your face scrolling your timeline…