Thursday, May 16, 2013

Facebook, The Gallery of Egos

Have you ever wondered why people write so much on Facebook? Why they risk their privacy and  their loved ones, publicly exposing themselves to public shame?

At least for me, Facebook at the beginning was fantastic, I could reconnect with many people dear to me. I have lived in three different countries and due to my work I have met people from all over the world. It was wonderful to connect with all those friends, colleagues, and especially, my family. However for some time now, I find myself annoyed every time visit Facebook. It has become a "gallery of egos", where many of its members have their five minutes of fame every day, and several times a day ... Since I have a curious mind, I decided to do some research. To my surprise, I found that there are many studies, some more professional than others, about the Facebook phenomenon.

Facebook raises the self-esteem. Researchers, Jeffrey T. Hancock, Professor of Computer Science and Communications at Cornell University and Assistant Professor of Communication Arts, Catalina L. Toma from the University of Wisconsin, are the authors of the study Self-Affirmation Underlies Facebook Use. According to the researchers, the social network users "unconsciously gravitate to their online profiles to boost their sense of self-esteem." More than a waste of time, Facebook "can be a psychologically meaningful activity that supplies a sense of well-being at a relatively deep level," says Hancock. "The extraordinary amount of time people spend on Facebook may be a reflection of its ability to satisfy ego needs that are fundamental to the human condition," he adds.

Under this premise, we could say that Facebook has a positive effect on our lives, we all need to have some ego booster that we can use from time to time. Many motivational speakers talk about the importance of having a ritual, a song, a mantra, or a list of things that we love to improve our self esteem at times of emotional distress. The author Sonia Choquette, emphasizes the importance of this.

Do we live inside Facebook? NO! We live in the real world, in a physical world, we interact with flesh and blood people, we do not live within the virtual universe. Where are the "likes" on facebook when I enter a room to give a talk in a room full of strangers? Where is Facebook when I need to feel good about myself to attend a party? Reality is different, and we cannot deceive us. We can fool our Facebook friends when we upload the best picture we took at the party, our "friends" will "like" and comment on how well we look at the picture. However, the image does not reflect what really happened at the party, neither is the reality of everything that happens in our lives.

How wonderful that Facebook improves our self-esteem, but it is sad that we have to rely on Facebook all the time to cope with our miserable lives. It would be more beneficial to find the reason for our unhappiness, in order to change REALITY.

There are people who update their status every five minutes telling us what they are cooking for dinner, where they are drinking coffee, if they are sad, or if they became ill, uploading photos of themselves with little clothes on and showing off too much skin ... Ahh and you can not miss the mom who shares with us her children grades... Pathetic! These parents do not realize the great responsibility they’ve put into their small children? The poor kids will think: "I can not disappoint my parents, if I get bad grades my parents can't brag on Facebook!"

No doubt these people spend more time on Facebook updating their status and socializing on the Internet, than interacting with people of flesh and blood. They should go out and have a coffee with a friend, or spend quality time with their family. Not to mention their lack of productivity at work; updating a status takes at least five minutes, lets add the times he or she returns to see how many "likes" has and to reply to others comments. In the meantime lets add another ten minutes it takes them to view the newly published photographs of that “friend” they haven’t seen for 20 years and of course, "like" some of the pictures. How much productive time is lost? Of course their status read: "Oh, I have so much work! I love my life and I love my job!”... Really?

Of course not everyone boosts their egos on Facebook, there are many who use this tool optimally and share valuable information. Celebrities need it as part of their image. Institutions, associations, companies, publishing houses, shops etc., can benefit from it. Instead of those boring electronic newsletters, they can have a dynamic and interactive relationship with their target audience.
I love Maxine comics and follow some designers, news agencies, clothing stores, several bloggers and of course publishing houses, especially Penguin Classics. But you know well that it’s not them to whom I refer, but to that annoying person that updates his or her status several times a day. I am provoke to tell them: Do something productive with your life, visit a therapist and Get a Life!

The author of the photographic composition is Erik André Schrei you can see more of his work here.

Please contact me if you find any grammatical errors. I apologized but English is not my native language. If  you wish to leave any feedback please comment or email me

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