So it’s been a while and I’ve been up to something, experimenting actually, with a concept that has been keeping me up for some time. We all use Facebook more or less in our daily lives, posting status updates and comments, checking notifications, uploading photos, adding/ removing/ tagging friends, checking-in to places, and sharing current feelings via emojis. Now, not all of us use this social networking site as frequently as most of others do- and when I say that, please count me in. But hey, this doesn’t mean that we are the introverts or have less things to share with others; we just do not feel like to stay “connected” with people for all the time.
Anyway, so I’ve been noticing that the new group of people with whom I’ve become friends very recently always tend to think that I’m a very quite person or perhaps I’m just ill or unhappy or not in a good mood. They would always talk to me like they have haven’t seen me around for a long time whereas we did really meet just a day ago(!). Of course, for people who have known me for a long time, they understand that when I’m not posting irrelevant and unnecessary updates 3-4 times a day, it doesn’t imply that I’m unhappy or ill. So I decided to “blend in” and find out that if I did things similarly as others, their perception about me would change or not.
It was a 1-week experiment which I started on 9th September, 2016. The following table shows the number of posts I made each day and the way it made me feel afterwards. Each day when I met my group of people who basically were the part of my experiment (without being knowing), I could sense the impact my experiment was having on them.
(1) When I posted more than once each day, I found out that they saw me as I’ve been always in touch with them (a total 180 degree turnaround of the pre-experiment situation).
(2) People no longer had the perception of me being unhappy or a quiet person in the group discussions even though my amount of discussion inputs have been the same.
(3) Sharing photo updates felt like it gave people more insight to my life and it made them feel more connected to me both virtually and practically.
(4) As a matter of fact, I enjoyed the attention I was getting and for most of the days of the week it kept my mood uplifted.
(5) The experiment was an engaging activity that kept me busy for the whole week. Most of my time I spent browsing over multiple pages and posts to decide on what I would share that would appeal to my Facebook friends.
(6) I started to think too much about what other people thought about me, and trust me that’s one hell of a burden! I also felt an invasion to my privacy with my own permission(!).
The entire experiment ended with some valuable findings for me. It took a lot of my time and I felt like though I was being more connected to people virtually, I was being less connected to the real world. I missed most of the natural activities around me like a yellow butterfly that flew by the side of my ear, or how the dead branch of the tree near my balcony produced fresh new leaves and purple flowers because of a week-long rain. These are little things to have missed for some, but for an admirer of all pretty things of nature I felt like I wasted a week doing things I didn’t like. I felt like I was trying to fit into a place where I do not belong. It sure made me happy and appreciated for a week but if I look at the long run, it failed to give me what I really appreciate in my own life. It made me feel a lack of originality in a world of people who all keep doing the same things.
Facebook actually seems like a place of self-obsessed people who love sharing things about themselves that would end up giving them compliments and series of congratulations. It though has the ability to make someone feel happy, it can also make someone depressed very easily. Imagine yourself as reading blissful posts and viewing the awesome lives of at least 10 people each day while you are having nothing much of that sort to share for yourself, how would that make you feel? You can only feel more connected to people with whom you share similar characteristics, but not with people who make you see your lives as less happening and successful than theirs.
These are all my personal opinions based upon my research findings. I do not expect anyone to relate or criticize, we each have different perspectives and I would like to respect that.
Happy Facebooking! :)
*Image collected from Facebook page screenshot.