Facebook and its false hooks

9 04 2008

By Nompumelelo Ngubeni

Apparently depression levels have escalated amongst South African university students since the inception of Facebook. Well, that’s of the 179 friends I have on Facebook, a good 75% of them are depressed. What has caused this acute and in some cases severe depression you may ask? The “fabulous, exciting and amazing” lives of others! Imagine this scenario: you reunite with an old high school friend on Facebook who was fat and boring and as a result you were her only friend cause you felt sorry for her. Now she has pictures up of herself and cool-looking people in every second club in joburg. Weight all gone, glasses replaced with contact lenses and boring wiped off with a wide seemingly genuine smile. Erm? When did all of this happen? You, the previously popular person are fat and boring with no interesting friends.

There are just too many things to deal with: a recent ex-boyfriend who has changed his relationship status to: “In a relationship with…” while yours still says “single”. Friends who’ve added the “places I have travelled” application and circled seven international countries, four of which you have always wanted to visit but will never be lucky or rich enough to visit. The worst is probably being subjected to people’s well-being updates when the last thing you want to read about is just how happy other people are with their lives because of this that or the other.

As I said, these are stories that I have heard from the 75% of my Facebook friends and these are just the only ones brave enough to say something about it. What we forget though when we’re engulfed in self-pity and sometimes the verge of suicide is that it is all constructed!

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3 responses

10 04 2008
jadefernley

I find what you say interesting, but hearing that Facebook could potentially be a catalyst for suicide, that’s another story.. What it actually could be construed as is that more connection with the outside world, more involvement and knowledge of other people’s lives encourages depression? Seriously? I really think this says a lot about where society is going- if we can’t allow ourselves to find out about other people’s lives, whether they’re going well or not, if we can’t pin our self-esteem on something more constant than a changing status update, then we have some serious issues. Maybe more serious than power cuts. Yes, people are feeling depressed, but if checking your Facebook affects you to the extent that you feel depressed: Don’t log in. I know this sounds harsh but I really don’t think we need to see ourselves as tied down to Facebook and it’s various evil affects, we have a choice to type our addresses and passwords to login less than 10 times a day. So choose.

10 04 2008
ghettoverit

I agree. But we all know it’s hard not to log into Facebook…

17 04 2008
Nomawethu Solwandle

ya Nompu, i agree with you on that one. facebook is quite depressing. at some stage i looked at an x’s relationship status everyday hoping that it would change. i even looked at the posts on his wall to see what his new girlfriend was saying to him. wow, it was pretty in tense. recently i have kept an eye on my boyfrieds friends, who they are and how he knows them. my boyfiend and i had a huge fight about this almost leading to a break up. so ya, i do agree with you that facebook does have this effect.,. jealousy, envy, anger and stuff. i don’t know how but somehow it does. after almost being dumped however, i realised that it was not worth it…

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