This might sound kind of unbelievable, but I have only started using Facebook again this year. That’s right, I did have a Facebook account from 2008-2011, but I realized towards the end that the time I spent online was clearly affecting my sense of reality, and not to mention the oversaturation of users, which suddenly included my great aunt insisting that I accept her ‘friendship’ –everything was spinning out of control and it was simply not as “cool” as it seemed to have a Facebook profile now as compared to that when it first started.
Being on Facebook is really similar to reading tabloid magazines excessively. Most of the time, you are not dwelling in the lives of some A-list celebrity, but instead you’re wallowing knee-deep in the inane banalities of your family, friends, extended families, friends of friends… well you get the picture. There is simply too much information for you to digest and very soon, you end up hating yourself for being addicted to it.
My toxic relationship with Facebook stems from my over-competitive drive to compare myself with others. It drives me crazy and yet I cannot help but ogle at their lives with the click of a button. I hunt down my friends’ accounts obsessively with a burning desire to see what they are up to in their lives. If they are leading a far more interesting day than me, I hate them for doing so and then hate myself for thinking that way.
However, if the reverse was happening instead, I hate myself even more for being so narcissistic. When it finally hit me just how emotionally invested I was in something of zero economic and personal value, I decided to shut down my account once and for all.
Except, I didn’t.
Instagram emerged and during my subsequent Facebook-free years, I spent the rest of my energy scrolling through hashtags and admiring the picture galore of the more visceral brother of the two social media. Somehow, there was no escaping and I was stuck in that whole vicious cycle of updating, checking, and constant redefining of my online personality to match that of my own unrealistic expectations.
Now, I confess I still fall into that pattern, but very rarely. The secret, I have come to realize, is to be more self-assured or narcissistic or confident than ever before. With more self-awareness comes greater power and that means power over your own mentality in spite of what others think and what you think others are thinking about you.
Sounds complicated? Well, Facebook is clearly not going to collapse anytime soon –their recent takeover of Whatsapp just proves how wrong I was when I predicted that the social media giant will be shut down in the hands of 1984 addicts and government intervention– so try your best to survive.
Who knows, the documentation of your life on your Facebook profile might one day serve as important historical records for researchers or turn out to be the next Diary of Anne Frank.