How Facebook can distort things, the illusion of transparency.

I have found out that it is a good idea to take Facebook with a pinch of salt. 

Happy Face

This evening I met an old friend who lives ‘Darn Sarf’  she’d been for a meeting  ‘Oop North!’

Before I met her, I felt a little hesitant.  She was successful, had a family and had a lot more money than me.  I worried about my situation, what would she think of me?  My stress bucket felt full.  But, as old friends do – she managed to put me at ease within a short time.  We had a quick bite to eat and a chat, and I think that I learned a valuable lesson.

To give you a bit of background: In the weeks previous to meeting her, I’d been flicking around Facebook.  I’d been comparing myself to others.  All I could see was happiness radiating through the screen, children’s parties full of joy, new jobs, happy marriages, houses by the sea, horse riding in New Zealand, people living life to the full….you get the picture!

However as we chatted it became clear that some of these images were a little bit of an illusion.  It’s not to say that people didn’t have happiness in their lives, but there were also problems and stressors.  She told me about going through a period of depression and how difficult it was.  It’s well reported that one in four people are affected by mental health problems, but do one in four Facebook profiles show that?   We chatted about this and we summarised that most people do not talk about their problems on Facebook.  (although of course some people do.)

Whilst it may seem that there is a new sense of transparency when using Social Media, how much of this is an illusion.  Does Facebook distort reality?

The moral of the story, we concluded;  is the grass isn’t always (that much) greener on the other side!

Smiley Face by Creative Commons Licence from Enokson’s Flickr Page.