I am, sadly, pointing you to the source of my Saturday WTF:
http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/12/facebook_is_making_us_miserabl.html by Daniel Gulati.
I don’t know Daniel, in fact, I don’t know any Gulatis at all. Daniel has authored an article that points blame to Facebook for making us (people) miserable.
I do know that I don’t agree with this:
In writing Passion & Purpose, I monitored and observed how Facebook was impacting the lives of hundreds of young businesspeople. As I went about my research, it became clear that behind all the liking, commenting, sharing, and posting, there were strong hints of jealousy, anxiety, and, in one case, depression. Said one interviewee about a Facebook friend, “Although he’s my best friend, I kind-of despise his updates.” Said another “Now, Facebook IS my work day.” As I dug deeper, I discovered disturbing by-products of Facebook’s rapid ascension — three new, distressing ways in which the social media giant is fundamentally altering our daily sense of well-being in both our personal and work lives.
I’ll counter with this: Jealousy, anxiety, and depression existed long before Facebook. If Facebook is altering anything, it’s merely the access to those who were previously not close enough, or instant enough in our lives.
That is, do you really give a crap about that person you haven’t seen since high school? If you did, why didn’t you use Google to find them YEARS ago. Or do you blindly accept the friendship request–or send it out–knowing that one of you, if not both of you, is merely trying to find out if the other one is a loser or successful, or whatever?
And I know that doesn’t happen all the time. But it happens. And a healthy portion of us are guilty of it.
If you don’t like it, quit it. It happens. I know plenty of people without a Facebook footprint, and plenty of people who have quit it, and plenty of people who simply don’t give it credence.
Don’t blame the book of faces. Blame the faces and how they use the book.
But, wait. There’s more:
First, it’s creating a den of comparison.
Life creates a den of comparison.
Ever have a sibling? Ever go to any sort of school? Ever been in a group of anything?
The good quote in the original article is useful: “And as we judge the entirety of our own lives against the top 1% of our friends’ lives, we’re setting impossible standards for ourselves, making us more miserable than ever.” which is attributed to Tom DeLong.
Tom didn’t blame Facebook. Tom didn’t articulate, in that quote, how we determine who the top 1% of our friends are, either.
Let me reiterate: This isn’t BECAUSE of Facebook, it’s because of HOW PEOPLE USE IT.
Oh, and because of life.
Second, it’s fragmenting our time.
Hold one. I’m sounding like a broken record.
How can we blame Facebook for this? I’m just really, really unclear on how a decision that people make on their own is something that Facebook should be blamed for.
If you don’t read the REALLY LONG EULA for iTunes yet you accept the terms and conditions within, you can’t be pissed if iTunes does something you don’t like or agree to after the fact.
Then again, fast food restaurants now have to warn you that HOT coffee is HOT.
Last, there’s a decline of close relationships.
Or maybe, just maybe, there’s an increase in the number of not-really-close-at-all-but-we’re-connected-anyway relationships, and that just makes the close relationships seem to be declining.
And let me wrap this counter-crapfest with this:
But each time a Facebook interaction replaces a richer form of communication — such as an in-person meeting, a long phone call, or even a date at a restaurant — people miss opportunities to interact more deeply than Facebook could ever accommodate.
This is absolutely not true.
Everytime PEOPLE CHOOSE to use a Facebook interaction INSTEAD OF any other type of communication, such as in-person, etc. etc. then PEOPLE ARE CHOOSING TO MISS OPPORTUNITIES to interact in different, potentially more “deeply” ways.
I’m not BFFs with Facebook. Do I care about things people put on there? Sometimes. Do I sometimes feel jealous if someone gets something I don’t have? Yep.
THIS JUST IN: I’d be jealous if I heard about it in real life, too. Because I’m human.
To me, and maybe I’m the simple one here, this is simple: You can’t fault a tool for how people use it. You can’t blame a hammer for someone smashing their thumb with it. You can’t blame a bullet for a trigger getting pulled.
Don’t blame Facebook for people getting sucked in–part of that is to Facebook’s benefit, of course, but human behavior is human behavior without any tools in the way.
This, of course, would be akin to blaming a tweet stream for a misunderstanding, instead of trying to find another mechanism to fix it. Is that Twitter’s fault? Or are people potentially misusing the medium?
You tell me.