Fill in the blank: Facebook and Pinterest make me feel ___________.

Sometimes when I check Facebook, I laugh.  Sometimes I roll my eyes and sometimes I just feel depressed.  The range of emotions with Pinterest range from giddy excitement to agitation to a general sense of being overwhelmed.  As I reason I am not alone in responding to social media this way, I am determined to get to the bottom of this.

My reflection on social media began when I checked Facebook (which I do approximately one time per week, less frequently in the summer) and commented to my husband that Facebook made me feel bad.  When he asked why, I didn’t really have an answer except to say that everyone was doing fabulous things in fabulous places and looking fabulous while doing it.  He replied that it was me who was making myself feel bad, not Facebook.  Okay, he’s right.  But it piqued my interest.  Why the hell was I letting Facebook make me feel bad?  I never even post dammit!

A pair of social scientists named Jones and Harris took a stab at this concept well before social media.  In fact, before I was even born in the year 1967,  and the field of social psychology subsequently emerged from their work.  They ran experiments which determined that our brains, particularly our friend the amygdala, are responsible for whatever attributes we may ascribe to a given person based on their behavior.  This is called “attribution error” or more recently by Dan Gilbert at Harvard “correspondence bias.”   In plainspeak, this means that the driver who cut me off this morning and then gave me the finger on the way to soccer camp may not have actually been an angry asshole, as I pegged him at the time.  He may have been a perfectly lovely gentleman who was having a bad morning.  Our behaviors at any moment in time are just that, and rarely indicate the vastness of who we are.   Our brains, as we have talked about in previous posts, stereo-type the person based on the action.  Have you ever seen a mom yell at her kids in the grocery store and immediately assume she is a bad mom?  Have you ever done the same thing?  We tend to neurologically assume things about another person even if we ourselves have been guilty of the exact same behavior in the past.  (By the way, I still think that guy was an asshole).

So if we continue in this line of thinking to Facebook, when we see a photo of mother/daughter lunch date, we assume they have a great relationship.  If we see someone’s photo after they finish a race, we assume they are in great shape (and if you have low self-esteem, that they are fitter than you).  Maybe there’s a gorgeous photo on a guy’s page of his lovely wife and adorable kids and we assume they are a happy family.  Only to find that mother and daughter fight like cats and dogs, that race day photo was the last time they exercised, and Joe Schmoe is cheating on his wife and has declared bankruptcy.  They don’t post that shit.  Of course, it could be true what we attribute to what people post on Facebook.  But in suburbia,  your dirty laundry is not usually aired on the pages of Facebook.  We rely mostly on gossip for that!  It’s plausible that if you check Facebook in the wake of a divorce, job loss, binge or other perceived downfall, that a status update like, “Feeling great today!  The world is full of possibilities!” will make you feel pissed.  This is not a reflection that you are a bad person, a narcissist or anything else.  It’s just how you feel at the moment.  Just go to the next post about cute kittens.   No doubt there is something that will make you smile.

Pinterest brings the vision board concept to a whole new level.  Remember when we took out scissors and old magazines and cut out pictures and glued them to our vision cardboard?  Man, that is so 2010!  There’s a digital version now, and the photos and quotes are better than ever.  Pinterest is the quintissential time suck and it is both inspirational and overwhelming.   If you have glass jars, a glue gun, permanent markers and about 5 hours to kill, damn, you can do just about anything.  Your house can be straight from Crate and Barrel and your kids’ rooms directly imported from Land of Nod.  You can look as cool, rested, well-traveled and fit as the best of them.  Or maybe not.  But the idea is to be inspired, not burdened.  LA Weekly blogger Ali Trachta recently wrote how Pinterest made her feel like “a dejected loser” because Pinterest boards are the “visual equivalent of a pile of mail I keep meaning to get to.”  While I completely relate to her feelings of not being able to muster the female heft of being the ultra-crafter, dresser, decorator and bearer of witty quotes, I see Pinterest more like the lofty goal.  Rather than the expectation.  But man did this gal get slammed.  People wrote to her saying things like, “you’re doing it wrong,” or “you’re too insecure to get it,” and “you’re buying into stereo-types.”  Social cognition tells us otherwise.  So Pinterest makes her feel bad, so what!  Some days it makes me feel bad too.  Like when I purchased a store made birthday cake for my to-be 11 year old daughter that I could have easily made myself with step by step instructions on Pinterest.  But here’s the thing.  She just wants a cake with dolphin on it.  No matter who makes it.

So there it is, suburbia.  Feeling like a failure really is on you.  Stereo-typing is a natural function of the human brain.  Emotions can’t be changed in the moment, but thoughts can.   So go forward to Pinterest and Facebook!  I need a new salmon recipe and a good laugh from my sister across the country.  That’s why I use social media.  How ’bout you?

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87 comments on “Fill in the blank: Facebook and Pinterest make me feel ___________.

  1. Wendy Zake says:

    I think your husband had good advice…..we do make ourselves feel this way. This morning while reading Daily Om on the topic of jealousy…..we all do feel this way at times, envy, the green monster, wanting what someone else has and asking ourselves why isn’t my life just like that. I had a little talk with myself while doing my yoga. I created the situation I am having right now and everything I planned as come to be……Time alone to think, to work on my web site, plant a garden and work on landscaping my front yard…..all done! 3 months of living on a budget to get through the summer until a new teaching position came up this fall. So, the interviews are coming in, I will get a new position…..So now, I am manifesting the rest of what I will be doing this year…working, hopefully a little vacation to my favorite spa in November for my birthday and I need to buy a newer car…my old one is tired.

    My life is ok, I’m happy…..and yes, Facebook does make me sad sometimes, seeing everyone manifesting their dreams, publishing their new e book, signing a book deal, a new love interest……so I took a break, I mean, no could post or tag me, I deleted people because of comments they made. I looked at the home page and shared things to my own wall that no one could see….with almost 4000 friends…no one emailed, or even seemed to care and I was deleted as a friend from a few people.

    Everyone seemed to be there for themselves…..and I guess so am I…..cause sometimes it just makes me think how grateful I am to be alive.

    Great Post…Thanks

    • suburbotypes says:

      I love how you have “cleaned up” your Facebook account to make it more manageable for you. I plan on doing the same thing. 4000 friends, wow! I can barely do it with 100 or so. You must be an awesome person if your birthday is in November, mine is too. I am grateful, too. Thanks.

    • kellyjdrummer says:

      Wendy, although I understand your “we all” implication, I never wonder why my life is as it is or why it isn’t like someone elses life. I am very happy with it and what I have, but, as I stated, I do understand your implication.

  2. Mari says:

    I pretty much gave up TV a few years ago……but now I find that I have replaced in with even more hours of screen time trying to stay current with my email, facebook, and my favorite blogs. I looked at Pinterest and see all the great posts about it. I know I would love it and seeing all the beautiful, inspiring things, but I decided that I literally do not have enough time to go there. So I
    have left it alone.
    There is so much cool stuff going on, and great things being made, and art projects being accomplished on all my favorite sites. It can make me feel like a slacker sometimes…..but I’m trying to use all that info as a “nudge” to just keep on doing the things I love.

    And reminding myself constantly to be grateful (“Hey…I have running water……in my house!”
    and to be kind to myself and others.

  3. suburbotypes says:

    Again, a mention of gratitude. Thank you for making me think about all I am grateful for, and how I use my screen time as a way of expanding my brain. We need to avoid thinking of ourselves as slackers, because no one can do it all. I can go there too, but I keep willing myself to think of all the possibilities as just that, not expectations.
    Thanks so much for your thoughts!

  4. PrettyGee says:

    Facebook makes me feel happy and excited. 🙂

  5. ephesus431 says:

    Great post. I don’t think anyone’s life is as awesome as the try to make it look on Facebook, which perhaps should be called Fakebook. I can think of specific examples of people I know whose lives are not how they try to make them look. They say 85% of people suffer from some type of self-esteem issues, and they say the greatest fear that people have is of being judged negatively. Since we are all unique and unrepeatable, it makes no sense to compare ourselves to others, because we are not like anyone else.

  6. memsan says:

    This just repaired my cat-dog relationship with Facebook. Thanks for posting! 🙂

  7. I wrote about this same topic on my blog. My post wast titled “The Battle for Contentment” because that’s exactly what we face when we constantly see what everyone else is doing. It’s always accompanied by coveting and comparing. I love so many things about social media, but, at the same time, I think there’s a ton of downsides as well. (I also wrote a separate post about the fact that so many moms are constantly ‘plugged in’ to their screens… it often pulls us away from what we should be doing and can be difficult for us to find the right balance. It can get so addicting!)
    Our family is actually not on Facebook and I’m ok with that… we just exchange pictures through email and talk in person!
    It’s ok to pull away from the social media when you need to… life goes on just the same! (And I think you’ve hit on a popular topic. I’ve seen so many posts on this subject lately.)
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it and great job getting Freshly Pressed! Best wishes!

  8. scribblechic says:

    Absolutely. These are edited glimpses, incomplete snapshots, that project an image crafted consciously or subconsciously for an audience.

  9. Chels says:

    This post is right on! exactly how I feel, I have done the same as the first commenter. When I feel overwhelmed with fb or pinerest I take a break for a while, and delete unnecessary people, and keep the friends I know in real life on the list

  10. cartoonmick says:

    I don’t really use social media very much, so I can’t comment, but I do enjoy a good laugh, as my cartoons (check my blog) will testify.
    If social media ever blows a fuse and shuts down, laughter will still make the world go around.

  11. Bob Hypes says:

    As a non-Facebook or Pinterest user, I must say that you hit some of the high points as to why I am interested in neither. I post a couple of moderately successful blogs, I email, I research, write, etc. on the internet, and have been involved in the internet community since the 1980s when we had to use DOS and such arcan sites as Genie and Compuserve, So am no technophobe. I just don’t see a need to put on airs and misdirect people about who and what I am, and give glimpses into my personal life. No one cares. Nor should they, anymore than I care about what flavor of jelly used on their English muffin this morning.

    Anyway, in response to your headline fill-in-the-blank question: Facebook and Pinterest make me feel – bored.

    Thanks for the forum where I could rant.

    Bob

  12. Jesse King says:

    Thanks for sharing. I thought Pinterest was marketed to middle-class American housewives; who, in essence, were very human – who – were looking for a sense of fulfillment in a world where human needs are becoming commodified into ‘uploaded pics,’ ‘status/check-ins,’ and other multiplicities of confused expressions of superficiality. I had imagined that what this demographic was missing was a good old fashioned read of a poem to put them more in touch with their feminine feelings – allowing them to be more intimate with their children and husbands. Social media is not “social” as one would likely believe. It is an expression of solitude. I use it to gain insight into the human condition; to meet people; or, to learn about a culture which is significantly different than mine. Thanks for sharing your experience. There is meaning to it.

  13. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!

    Wow, on my personal Facebook I don’t see anyone getting book deals or vacations where I want to be in their place, just things like close-up photos of a cousin’s big mouth WIDE open, consuming a super-sized piece of pizza. I really didn’t need to see that the size of my monitor. Now I wonder if I need new friends and family for Facebook; are we all slackers? So yeah, actually Facebook CAN make you feel bad.

    This is surely what underlies how careful everyone is with blog posts, and Pinterest pins, and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. We’re all trying to show only the prettiest, wittiest sides of ourselves to the world. Could be true with comments like this too! So it takes two to tango this game. I’ll post a photo on my blog of a DIY or nice arrangement in my home, but you won’t see the pile of dirty laundry on a bedroom floor because I just don’t wanna deal with it. We know everyone lives with dirty piles of laundry, and that’s healthy to remember even if we don’t see it!

  14. aparnauteur says:

    I am not a big fan of Pinterest either. Something about it’s over-the-top visual appeal makes me feel I could never match up to it. It could very well be a mental block. Also, I take refuge in writing as it does’t expect too much from me. Just a book and a pencil. Pinterest is not exactly writer-firendly. But, I do like Facebook, despite the fact it rubs a lot of facts in my face. Unlike Pinterest, it doesn’t intimidate me!
    Nice post. Congrats on being freshly pressed 🙂

  15. Elizabeth says:

    I have the same feelings towards social media as you. I use it for what I think it’s good for and mostly that’s marketing. I use it to advertise my business and get the word out. Other than that, I don’t have much use for it. I’ve read a couple of studies done on what people post and why and the funny thing about it is that even when people are going through a rough time they will post “Hey everything is GREAT” because that’s what they want people to believe. I guess that’s up to them but why can’t we be honest? For those that are honest and put it all out there I think want to have the attention… or we can call it support.
    Facebook isn’t real. It’s a site where people go to pretend they have the life that they want everyone to believe they have!
    As for Pinterest…let’s pin all the things we wish we had or could be for no reason at all. I have it and once I figured out how to use it… I stopped!
    I like social media for what it is!
    Great post!

  16. Alli says:

    Congratulations on being freshly pressed! I’m really glad you posted this. I love to hear people talk about their emotions/relationship to social media. It’s a little “meta,” but as a society I think we need to be reflective about how (if?) we are using these tools or how they are using us.

    I am active in social media including email, blogging, Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is my favorite tool. I don’t really understand Pinterest. And even though some of my friends, and ‘peers’ in my online ‘sector’ (food porn) use it, Pinterest does not enter my daily web/social media time very often. That said, this is how I feel when I check into my social media life:

    1) That I am about to waste some time – whether it’s 3 minutes or 3 hours, I know I’m about to give up some time I will never get back. I point this out to myself so I will try to use it well.

    2) That I am using it as a crutch or a shield – I am well aware that I am often checking my email or a social media site to get that little reward. Did someone email me? Notice me? etc.

    3) Successful – I’ve embraced the ‘You are your own brand’ ethos of the internet. I’m not technically myself online (except for email). Allison Baker is an alias. Many of my Facebook friends and almost all of my twitter followers are people who follow me because of my ‘product’ (what I write). That makes me feel like I have a ‘brand’ people are interested in.

    4) Responsible – I have to put out positive, honest stuff.

    I sometimes feel bad when my friends’ perfect lives look just so wonderful and I feel like I’m barely scraping by, but that’s human. I usually just write them a note of joy or congratulations (and feel good/righteous about rising above my jealousy) and move on. In a few minutes someone else’s post, pin, tweet, etc. will surface for me to think about, or not 🙂

    • suburbotypes says:

      I think you should post what you just wrote! Awesome! I hope you don’t mind if I quote you on a couple things you said. Especially that you are not going to use it as a crutch or a shield. You made me think about this again and in a new and intelligent way. Thanks.

      • Alli says:

        Thanks. Perhaps, I will post it. I don’t mind if you quote me at all. There’s a lot to think about in this (abused cliché) Brave New World. I’m glad I could provide seeds for more ruminations. Have a great week!

  17. This is a great post. I know a lot of people that feel the same way, including me and my girlfriend. I agree a 100% that feeling like a failure is on you, but I also think social media (Facebook in particular) make even the most confident person insecure at times. Before social media, the people you ‘followed’, read about or gawked were famous, rich, royalty or basically not on your average social circle. Sure, people envied them but at the same time we instinctively knew that what we were reading was nothing more than entertainment. Basically unrealistic for us. We also knew that most of the time it was written by a tabloid journalist or shot be a clever paparazzi. With Facebook, you get to see all the same enviable things but from people you know personally (with more or less your same background and opportunities). Like you pointed out, everything they post creates a faux reality in our minds of them that we come to believe it’s true because THEY posted it. Now, people get to see in real time how other people like them turn out and even if your happy with your life, Facebook makes you ask: “What if?”
    Anyway, I’ll keep an eye on your blog. Good job!

    • suburbotypes says:

      Thanks, W.J. I really felt vulnerable putting up this post (actually I feel that way with most of my writing that I share) and it’s nice to know others feel the same way. FB skews reality. It makes me worry sometimes that kids are going to grow up thinking that other people have perfect lives and they don’t.

  18. AC Lundin says:

    I think a healthy balance of everything is the best way to go, and to always keep focus on yourself rather than everyone else. The main focus should always be you own happiness first and secondly the people around you.

    Taking FB and other social networks for what they are, an outlet place for people from all over, and not dig into deep on the mechanisms behind it, will make your life spent on them easier.

    When I first changed my priorities to being me, I thought I would become a selfish b***h, instead it has become the complete opposite, in making an effort with my own happiness, I have accidentally dragged my friends into it as well.

    We all know that the grass is greener on the other side – a healthy life lesson is to learn to appreciate the less greener grass at home.

  19. I use social media (facebook) to keep in touch with my college buddies. As for Pinterest, I have no desire to take the time to make my own account. I do look at other people’s from time to time.

  20. themils says:

    I love the info on the research about “attribution” and how, without even thinking, subconsciously even, we label things, and ourselves in relation to those labels.

  21. S.C. says:

    If I had to fill in that blank, it would definitely be occupied by a pretty bad expletive. Only there isn’t one strong enough for what I feel about Facebook. For too many people, Facebook is one big popularity contest, as if the more friends you have on your page, the better a person you are. Maybe it’s the fact that I have just a few friends, since I’m a pretty solitary person, but I really hate Facebook.

    Besides, if you want to start a new life – reinvent yourself completely – how do you do that now? It’s near impossible if you’re a social media user. Another reason I don’t use it.

    Sorry this is so negative. I do like social media sometimes, but only when I can use it on my terms. I have a Twitter account, but it’s under a pseudonym. Same with WordPress. I just hate the way things have gone and how there’s no real regard for privacy anymore.

  22. patricemj says:

    If you look at information like food, we have all turned into gluttons. We are fat and lazy, stuffing ourselves with prepackaged images and information.

    There’s a lot of research coming out to suggest FB and most of other forms of social media do much more harm than good and are in fact rewiring our brains to resemble addicts. If the online life isn’t balanced out by life in real time the effects are particularly bad. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about it in the years to come.

  23. In general women are constantly judging one another. Not just on facebook but every time they feel threatened in any way. It really is quite unbecoming. Before you jump or judge, stop yourself for just a second and ask yourself are you happy with where and who you are, then remember the best advice I ever got in life, I even use this as the last line in my e-book. “Never sweat the petty, just pet the sweaty and life will treat you fine.” Stay focused and not mad, there is plenty of mad in the world, prove it to yourself not just on facebook but everywhere. Please check out my e-book “A Fly on the Wall, A Bartender’s Perspective” and I hope it puts a smile on your face. http://secretsofabartender.wordpress.com

  24. ursulamarie says:

    Yes, I agree, sometimes FB does make me feel sad. My pastor talked about that in a sermon — he said it made him feel depressed to see that people’s lives didn’t revolve around him! Another thing I don’t like about FB is that I think it makes our relationships more superficial. Instead of calling a friend and talking to them about their day, we just “like” their status on Facebook. A little strange if you think about it.

  25. I found myself rather depressed when checking Facebook much of the time too. Exactly why I closed it more than a year ago. I miss my old friend FB though… Thanks for reminding me. 😉

  26. ChiefAaron says:

    I quit Facebook last Thursday and haven’t regretted it yet. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to return without caring so much about the number of likes and comments I receive. I’m tracking the challenge on my blog, if you’re at all interested in seeing why and how it’s affected me so far. Great post here!

  27. Thx for the honest insight. I just posted a piece on sabotaging Pinterest a couple days ago, so you arent alone in how u feel about the site. Fun reading.

  28. Impybat says:

    I quit Facebook and Pinterest because they were opening up floodgates of negative emotions for me, for many of the reasons that have already been mentioned. Social media should not be able to have that type of power over me!

  29. Mona says:

    Agree completely. In fact the depression over seeing others’ wonderful lives became a reason of frequent arguments with my best friend who wasn’t actively using FB. He used to point out my growing dissatisfaction with my own life. This March, I deactivated my account, and a couple of months later, deleted it completely.
    Funny part though, these wonderful lives aren’t exactly wonderful. Only if people would share their difficult times and ugly photographs too, FB would become genuinely true to its nature as a virtual reality. But nobody does that, why would they? I wouldn’t shy away from blaming FB as one of the reasons for breeding a fair bit of narcissism in some people, if not all, as well.

  30. Jennifer M. says:

    I often feel the same way about Facebook – everyone seems thinner, has more money, and is doing more fun stuff than me! But I’ve learned to laugh at the funny stuff, ignore all of the political stuff (a post on FB is not going to make me change my views), and enjoy the truly great stuff (weddings, new babies, etc.) At the end of the day, Facebook is still a great way to keep in touch with people.

    As for Pinterest, I quit – really, I had my account deleted. That’s just too much like “keeping up with the Joneses” and I don’t need that. Now I spend my time learning to improve my own photography instead of “pinning” someone else’s.

    Thanks for the perspective…

  31. halfwayto50 says:

    Facebook and Pinterest make me feel anxious! I’ve always been a girl who’s confident with herself. But now I often feel this pang of anxiousness or could it be jealousy? So and so bought their dream home at 26! 26??? Oh as it turns out they’re also in debt up to their eyeballs (left that part out though.) Everyone’s having babies! Should I? I’m not ready but I’m feeling like I missed the boat. I give up Facebook every year for Lent and guess what? It’s awesome. I have no idea what other people are up to in their private life and I love it! But I won’t get rid of it completely, because it’s too nice of a communication tool for those I really do miss!

  32. wanderer says:

    Make me feel like Big Brother is constantly watching over me. No privacy.

  33. Good post! I’d fill in the blank with “inadequate” or “curious” or “motivated” depending on the day and my mood in general. And, yeah, sometimes I have to remind myself that things aren’t always as rosy as they appear in pictures and status updates, that I’m sure there are times when mine have caused feelings of upset and jealousy in others, and that if these people really are my friends, I should WANT their lives to be rosy and wonderful 🙂

  34. changeforbetterme says:

    I find this post interesting because I am closing my facebook down on Sept 1. Well the one I have had for almost 3 years! I started a facebook page for my blogs recently and that one is for concentrating on my writing and my recipes. The old one I have over 1600 “friends” but only interact with a handful. It got to be too much of a time killer trying to do all the games so I’m shutting it down and doing the blogs instead which I love! Pinterest held my interested for a short time, but that too is a big time killer that I could spend working on my writing. So stopped that also. Taste change with time, a person can’t stand still and expect to evolve. At least I can’t. So I’m pretty much leaving that behind. I am grateful for the things I have learned about myself during that time. Now it’s on to better and bigger things!

  35. I think it’s a good reminder that there are ways to use Facebook and ways not to use it. Assuming people are posting the whole truth about their lives, would of course, be a wrong way to use it. And while none of us would consciously assume that, I think you are right that we might be subconsciously assuming that. And, more worrisome for me as a parent and teacher, I think that kids are more likely to make assumptions like that–and the corresponding negative assumptions about themselves. We might not be able to convince our kids to use social media to find salmon recipes 🙂 but hopefully we can convince them of some kind of adolescent parallel.

  36. Personally, I never get depressed checking Facebook because I only check it if one of my kids tell me they posted a new picture of one of my grandkids. To be honest, I really hate Facebook and think it’s dangerous for the way they collect personal information.

  37. Cindy Wu says:

    Facebook is one of my daily activities. I cant go without this. Facebook and Pinterest make me feel love this world.

  38. NoSomebody says:

    Reblogged this on IND Bureau and commented:
    Another excellent reason not to have Facebook, but instead to have Twitter and fill your life with chat and challenges. I love my Twits, they support me in so many different ways. Dammit, I’ve gone all American reality TV program, but yeah… “Fakebook” can go twizzle on one, I’m a Twitter-bird.

  39. NoSomebody says:

    I refuse to have Facebook for so many different reasons, but this is in the Top 5. Its for sharing how you want people to see you, not how you are, and in moderation thats good, but when you start believing in your own hype, it can be so very dangerous. Great post.

    • suburbotypes says:

      I don’t have Twitter and now am wondering if that would be the best of social media choices. I so think you are right about believing your own stories, especially the “I am completely happy and fulfilled!” ones.

  40. ocnlvr83 says:

    Facebook angers me sometimes. It’s always fun seeing your friend wish someone happy birthday, but when your own comes around she doesn’t. Pinterest makes me happy. I am rarely jealous of people who can concoct beautiful food or decorate homes, but it totally gives me ideas.

  41. Kate says:

    This is a great post. I closed down my facebook for a few reasons, I was spending a lot of time on it and it wasn’t rewarding. Partly for the reasons you outline – it’s hard not to look at it and spend some time comparing yourself to your friends and their friends, which is a bad habit that doesn’t need any encouragement – but mostly because I was listening a radio documentary about people using facebook and social media as personal PR and I realised why it wasn’t rewarding. I was putting literally hours into being ‘social’ and losing sight of what it means to be a friend.

    Maybe I will be a Gen Y luddite, but since getting rid of FB, the quality has come back into my friendships. I call people and ask how they are, and I’m genuinely interested in what they’ve been doing because I haven’t had a front row seat on the news feed – it’s great to not have the conversational killing sentence “oh I saw that happened on your facebook” in a conversation. When something is not going well, I’m a lot more likely to hear about it and have an opportunity to be supportive rather than just an observe. My social life has slimmed down to events where people have actually thought they might like me to be there, and called me to say so, rather than just ticking the “Invite All” box on the event invite. Sure, it was rocky and awkward to begin with and you can feel very left out when people don’t realise you won’t know about the party unless they tell you, but you get through that (are those the friends you want?). The end point is that I don’t run around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to please everyone because I’ve applied ‘old worldly’ rules to facebook invitations

    And with all the free time I’ve gathered? Well I’m doing the things that make me happy – reading books, painting, studying productively, sleeping well – writing a blog and thinking about what I want to publish rather than posting status updates like they’re going out of fashion.

    Social media is great but you can get swept up in it and its customs quickly, whether or not they are a good fit for you personally. I liken it to be being back in highschool and trying to keep up with the cool kids – nobody needs it and it’s a lot more fun when you stop trying.

  42. iRuniBreathe says:

    Great post. I find social media depressing when I am looking for some kind of self-verification. And if I am doing that all I will see if happy, healthy, amazing, fit people on my FB site. We present ourselves the way we want to be seen, regardless of if this is how we honestly feel in that moment.
    I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with FB (I don’t do Pinterest) and found that when I stopped incessantly checking it for some sort of validation of who I was, then it got easier. Now I check to see people’s photos and leave it at that. (I only post my blog on my FB site.)
    Congrats on the FP!
    Cheers,
    iRuniBreathe

  43. lifepsychleofastudent says:

    It’s so true – Facebook and other social networking sites can make you feel awful! I wrote an entry about it a while back ( ‘Facebook not-so-friends’) and found some really interesting research. I think it’s just a form of trying to be the alpha and showing off only your best bits!

  44. maiseylou says:

    I cannot get over how Facebook turns people who were cool, creative and fascinating on MySpace into raving, blathering self obsessed idiots who just throw out trite garbage on top of trite garbage.,.. why is that?

  45. There are a few people on my facebook friends list who make me angry or jealous because they are having a much better time than I am right now. I used to live in Spain and have some of my former students and my former flatmate on my friends list. So yeah, when my former student posts pictures of their fun times on his yacht and more former flatmate posts pictures of their great time in Sevilla or when she goes home (to Ibiza 😐 ) I sigh and wish I could do that.

    But then there are lots of other people who are posting some of the stupidest shit I have ever read. Things that are only going to come back to bite them in the ass, or for drama purposes. To this I shake my head.

    I am also of the age where my friends are starting to get married and have babies. So when I get multiple posts about someone talking about their kid’s poop, doctor’s visits, shopping for kids clothes or doing other kids, I tend to laugh and say, good for you, that’s all you’ll have to talk about for the next 20 years. Have fun.

  46. I am totally guilty of making myself feel bad when looking on Facebook. Even though I’m doing interesting and fun things in my own life, I can’t help but feel jealous of the people who are also doing awesome things. So I’ve decided to stop going on facebook (at least stop looking at the news feed) and instead focus on blogging.
    Blogging allows me to take time and focus on the good things in my own life instead of the good things in other peoples’ lives which makes me a happier person 🙂

  47. Blankistaken says:

    You hit the nail on the wood! Last week while I was on Facebook, I was like I feel so awful but then realized it’s me not facebook. You brought up so many things that I didn’t think about when I go on Facebook. I don’t go on as much as I used to and I probably won’t. It’s so much…. work.

    Pinterest, I don’t think of it more as projects that I need to do but that’s mostly because I stay away from the DIY stuff not really interested. If I want to cook something that I am in the mood for, I either know how to make it or look it up. Pinterest is more to me as looking at pictures that inspire and a house/apartment ideas that I will use one day.

    Anyways, this post rocked!

  48. like crap. like everyone else’s life is moving forward and mine is going backward. It’s actually true. I don’t assume that everyone is happy, but I do know they have life velocity and I don’t. Seeing it makes me sad.

  49. Had one long comment, but it was too much so I deleted. Started another, finger slipped on the mousepad, and I lost it. So I’ll just say this. I hate Facebook (it’s feeds my depression) and haven’t even looked at Pinterest because I don’t have the time to get another online interest. Plus, I’m not the magazine type. I feel like Facebook is forced upon me and I don’t like it. Not at all. I feel sad, angry, anxious and embarrassed after I look at it. I check very infrequently and rarely post. It is convenient and somewhat required so I keep it. But . . . just thinking about it bothers me.

  50. Facebook for me is how I keep up with my old classmates, and most of them I can’t stand,, so sometimes on Facebook I feel like moving 5 states away, and other times I get a good laugh at the popular boy who now looks like death! Lol

  51. Lost. Facebook makes me feel lost.

  52. noemi9 says:

    Thank you for your lines…it is a very interesting article. I think your husband gave a very wise advice saying that it is not facebook that makes you feel bad. However, i can completely relate to your story, and maybe it is something we – social network users – all have to go through. With moderation facebook and pinterest can be quite useful. When I started using facebook I only had not more than 10 ‘friends’ for almost two years and I used facebook for sharing photos and updating my family and friends about my whereabouts. Good old times…now it is different, it can be overwhelming..to me it is the amount of useless information that sometimes make my brain explode. Sometimes you can read and see interesting things, but it is just the amount of information that I shouldn’t be aware of…it is wearing.. that is why I started blogging because on this ‘platform’ I might meet people who I don’t know personally, but share the same interest. while on facebook there are lots of people I ‘know’ from school, work.etc..but don’t have common interest.
    And as for pinterest, I just use it as a virtual candy for my eyes:) I am very visual and it always puts me in a great mood if i go through my favourite photos..and it is only up to me what on my board is…in a way pinterest is the antidote to my facebook ‘hangover’. 🙂
    Thank you again for your article, and enjoy blogging!

  53. Thank you for a most enjoyable read. I’ve never really warmed up to Facebook for a couple of reasons, the biggest being that it makes me feel like a peeping Tom (my apologies to Toms everywhere), and definitely labels us all as voyeurs. For some people, their lives are open books; mine is not, so I don’t share like most people out there; hence, I don’t think it is appropriate for me to spy on others via Facebook. Pinterest, however, I find enjoyable and relaxing. I’ve made dozens of the recipes, crafts, and most recently, homemade limoncello (an Italian lemon liquor). I’m single now, after 32 years of marriage, and I spend about an hour an evening looking at that public bulletin board. Once you’ve learned how to navigate the site, it’s great. I’m not one for long bubble baths; I’d rather spend an hour learning how to do something new, and Pinterest really fits the bill. I know your blog was not about dissing those two sites as much it was to explore why we are so fascinated by them. I’ve always been a believer in examining what makes myself tick, and your blog skillfully does that. Thanks, again.

    • suburbotypes says:

      Hey, I am a pretty private person too so I don’t regularly post on FB either. When I have, it makes me feel icky and I know it’s because of that voyeuristic quality you were referring to. Thanks for your thoughts.

  54. This was a great read. Yes, the pitfalls of Facebook….but….it allows me contact with family I have found in Italy recently. Until I can get there, it is my way of getting to know them. Only 100 friends for me, I’m happy with that. Facebook ( unlike Pinterest ) is a valuable tool for getting the word out. Recently here a family friend with a special needs ( Anglemans Syndrome )daughter was able to get the word out about the school refusing her Service Dog into the school. Local news/radio picked up and ran with it. An Attorney has offered his services for free. Facebook is part of our landscape now, good and bad. I just pick and choose and once in a while post. I have not interest in Pinterest.
    http://www.facebook.com/dogfordevyn

  55. moiandthecity says:

    This is great. People who constantly post updates about how happy/how amazing they are really annoyed me for a time. I have come to see the opposite is true for a lot of those folks and I read the constant stream of updates without thinking too much about them. The more people are spending time updating facebook, the less time they are actually out there paying attention to the real people/things who are right in front of them!

  56. […] made-in-China mentality.  We can’t always get what we want if it costs $1000 dollars, but as Suburbotypes said in her recent Freshly Pressed post about Pinterest, “f you have glass jars, a glue gun, […]

  57. Managing social media and incorporating it into a healthy lifestyle, and oftentimes profitable professional life, requires a true balancing act. A negative online relationship that affects how you feel about yourself is as unhealthy as an emotionally abusive relationship with a partner who criticizes you. A positive online relationship that allows you to explore your interests and express yourself is as healthy as an open friendship with someone who values you even if you don’t go on magical vacations like others on Facebook or make the gourmet meals featured on Pinterest.

    I recently posted about the risks of hyperconnectivity on a guest blog post at naryordinary.com. Check it out: http://naryordinary.com/check-yourself-before-you-check-your-phone-again-by-ruth-cassell/

    Thanks for sharing your words on wordpress!

  58. twillett says:

    Amazing how this has an impact on so many people as it is something that enters so many people’s lives in some way. I feel the same way about watching people who are constantly on their phones, texting what must be so important in their very important busy lives.

    Regarding Facebook, Your husbands comments show great clarity 🙂 I often feel the opposite of your feelings regarding facebook. So many times I feel sad that people are reaching out to feel connected and post what they hope will lift them up and make them feel better. Sad to say the toyota commercials with the daughter sad that her parents aren’t living becuase they have so few friends on fb is probably more true than not. I do however love that fb creates connections with people that may have disappeared otherwise. I love to see where their lives have gone and their families. Maybe that is just because I am a voyer.

    I love vision boards and as a teen loved cutting pictures from magazines. So I love the photos and quotes on pinterest.

  59. twillett says:

    Just realized I didn’t fill in the blank 🙂

  60. I’m no longer sure the place you are getting your info, but good topic. I must spend some time studying more or figuring out more. Thank you for magnificent information I used to be searching for this info for my mission.

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