The Psychology of Facebook
Facebook. What comes up for you when you hear this word? Do you feel excited, afraid, annoyed, irritated, thankful, unworthy, anxious, or a combination of emotions?
Facebook certainly continues to be a heated topic of conversation that brings much debate. There are many different feelings and thoughts about Facebook and its impact on our culture. I am fascinated by it from a psychological perspective.
On one hand, it can be a nice way to connect with others you have not seen in a while or that live far away. It allows us to see family and personal photos and hear the latest news in others’ lives. Facebook can be a quick way to share information to large groups of people.
Facebook brings out curiosity factor. Learning about others can be fun and interesting.
It also has some drawbacks. It sometimes causes feelings of unworthiness when comparing ourselves to others in terms of looks, traveled destinations, spouses, families, number of friends and so on. You can create a false picture of what is really happening in your life and the lives of others – people can wear masks. By what people post, it can create a picture of a “perfect” world when their life is quite the opposite in reality. It creates a false sense of connection.
Facebook can be seen as exploiting the ache to belong. Have you or someone you know been in a situation where you were asked, “Really? You don’t have an account on Facebook? Why not?”
Finally, Facebook can become a serious addiction. It can take away from your priorities and cause serious relationship issues.
Facebook is not an inherently “bad” thing. There are many parts that help people connect and keep in touch. However, there may be a problem if Facebook is running you instead of vice versa and if you do not have appropriate boundaries around it.
Here are some important questions if you use Facebook:
- How much time do you spend on it a day, week or month?
- Do you feel yourself wanting or even needing to check it often?
- Do you have the app loaded on your phone and check it while driving?
- Is it taking time away from your family and other priorities in your life?
- How do your boundaries play a role in your Facebook usage?
- Are you married or in a committed partnership and having inappropriate relationships with others?
- Do you not want to talk to people in person because you prefer to “connect” on Facebook?
-Kristen D Boice M.A., LMFT, EMDR Trained
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