Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Facebook Effect

A recent study by Stanford University investigated what they called "The Facebook Effect".  Basically, it is the feeling people have that others' lives are better than their own based on posts, statuses, pictures, etc.  As part of "Be Nice On The Internet" week, let's take a look at this.

Personally, I know I usually only post the good stuff.  Why?  Well, one reason is the wide variety of friends.  My friends list varies from family to friends who know my deepest and darkest to friends that I'm not that terribly close too.  I wouldn't feel comfortable putting everything out there all the time.  And really...who wants to listen to me whine?  Even I don't!!!

But the Facebook Effect does not apply to me.  I am always aware that even with the closest of my friends, no one really knows what is going on in someone's life once that front door closes or the computer is logged off.  The person with the biggest smile could be dealing with a divorce at home.  The person with the funniest jokes may be dealing with the deepest depression.  The person with the fabulous trip pictures may be running away.  The fact is that we don't know what goes on behind closed doors or a computer screen.

Keep in mind, then, that what you see is not always reality.  Moderate your responses appropriately.  Always remember that you don't know the whole story and the slam you take at a person may be the straw that breaks the camel's back.  Read every status and post with the thought that there may be more behind the scenes.  

And above all else...Be kind.



  1. What a timely post. This really hits home! On Facebook I used to post pictures of my new grandson daily, give accounts of the family tragedies unfolding, etc, until I started using Facebook as a marketing tool. It seemed counterproductive.

    A few months ago, an acquaintance who is a nationally known artist had a very public 'fight' with her son about his unreliability. It was excruciatingly embarrassing. I often wondered if anyone in her close circle spoke to her about it. I finally hid her posts, which was sad for me because I enjoyed reading updates on workshops she offered, etc. Now when I remember, I go to her blog when it is often too late to sign up to attend. A good reason not to be too real. So thank you, I hope readers take this to heart!

  2. I read something today along the same lines...If you wouldn't tell it to Matt Lauer on the air...it shouldn't be your status.

    We just have to remember that though the statuses may be happy...we never know what's going on behind them.



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