Sometimes I can’t even stand my own ‘news feed’. These picture-perfect images can be especially difficult when I’m ‘down and out’. A lot of people don’t realize that they’re wrestling with their already need to measure up to their peers. I couldn’t imagine being a teenager again. It’s a tender and critical stage in life — a time for forming and understanding who you are. It was already hard enough for me. It can be hard poking around Facebook, but it’s also stressful presenting an image of yourself. And not surprisingly, people go to lengths to perfect their profile because all you need is a mouse and a keyboard to look like a rock star.
You can literally airbrush your pictures online for free. I know, I’ve done this. You upload your picture and you can take out all your little pimples and stuff to make it look like your skin is perfect, your hair can look perfect too.
I counted yesterday how many times I logged on to Facebook, and it wound up being 10 to 20 times a day. I have over 3,000 Facebook ‘friends’ and I’m sure every single one thinks their profile pictures are a huge deal too. Some are even young adults who take their ‘profiles’ and update them obsessively, vying for ‘likes’ on Facebook. It’s a photo-driven numbers game. Bottom line, it’s turning into a very dirty popularity game that I think no one saw coming.
I think the mistake is just assuming that we’re just going to figure out how to use it in a way that makes us feel good. And of course there are as many ways to use Facebook as there are Facebook users. There’s a growing body of evidence showing the benefits we reap from social media. For now, though, we’ll have to learn as we go because there are very few sign-posts telling us exactly how the largest social network ever will make us feel about ourselves.