wE'Re AlL mAd HeRe

Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Panic… and the rest!

Facebook. . . friend or unfriend?

As I spent yet another 45 minutes editing photos taken during a recent night out, I felt frustrated. (I’m not vain, just really insecure!) Does anyone have red eye? Is there too much shine on my face? Am I happy for these to be sent out into the world via Facebook?

I have a love hate relationship with the social media. It’s both wonderful & monstrous. Informative and crushing. Liberating and oppressive. I can still remember my first MySpace account.. filled with information that didn’t reflect my personality at all. I cringe just thinking about how long I took selecting the song for my homepage (it had to be cool, but not too obvious.) Or how many drafts of the ‘About Me’ section that were written. . At seventeen I had no bloody clue who I was! But according to my Myspace page I was essentially a character from The O.C or 90210. She didn’t exist.
The problem with creating a fictional character is that you can’t control reality, and this could jeopardise all of your hard work. Photo tagging was my worst nightmare. Again, I’m not vain at all.. if anything I’m quite insecure and photos used to be a major cause for concern. I couldn’t control how I looked and would therefore be held hostage to somebody else’s camera. When the notification; ‘somebody tagged in you 6 photos’ appeared my heart would sink. I desperately clicked to review the damage and de-tag any monstrosities. It all stems back to my obsession with being ‘perfect’ and this naturally applied to my appearance. I wanted to look like Keira Knightley, Scarlett Johansson or Zooey Deschanel.. not myself! Although in fairness, these women don’t actually exist either. It’s all a photo shopped illusion of perfection, (but I’ll save that rant for another time.)
These days I’m not as concerned about unflattering photos, although I still have my moments.

As of 2012 if you don’t have a social media account, then you don’t technically exist. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest – there are a whole variety to choose from depending on your needs/snooping requirements. Think about it, how often have you looked up a potential new boss on LinkedIn? (I was devastated when I realised that this function wasn’t anonymous!) Facebook stalking your latest crush is practically common practice.. which I why I told Dan that my surname was Jones when we first started dating. I’m practically an enigma! This access to new information is both insightful and time saving… (finding photos of a crush at a controversial political rally certainly saved me precious time!)
However, as with many things in life there is a dark side to such access. Did you really want to know that your ex isn’t in fact dead as you’d originally hoped, but they’re actually married to a supermodel? Or that some colleagues had gone to the local pub without you? The problem is lack of context and without admitting that you stalked someone, then you will not receive this precious context. So it’s natural to presume that your colleagues hate you and your ex has the perfect life. Talk about anxiety provoking! I once spent an evening trying to work out why an old colleague was in the pub with our manager when I hadn’t been invited. It turns out that they were both in the same place by chance & my colleague had conveniently updated her status to be misleading. Still, I foolishly spent hours worrying. Did my manager not like me? Was I boring? Would I get fired for being boring?!! Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

I knew the risks of blogging when I started writing. The internet is sadly a place where bad people spew hurtful comments as a form of entertainment. Look at Zoella. The poor girl only wanted to share make-up tips and she received so much criticism that she stopped V-logging completely! (Yes ok, the endless guinea pig/boyfriend stuff was a bit annoying.) But it’s her right to blog about whatever the Hell she wants to and I don’t approve of the backlash that she faced. The Daily Mail is the biggest insighter of virtual abuse. Reading this article really angered me:
It’s just begging readers to post negative comments.
When did this become so entertaining? Reading criticism about other people and revelling in the take down. Believe me, I’m no different. I love a good piss take of The Kardashians *shudders* possibly the most cringe worthy family of all time. Although maybe that’s their market niche? Maybe they know exactly what they’re doing? We love to hate them. Although that’s a whole new conversation!

I’ve been lucky, so far I’ve only received a handful of abusive comments. The worst being; People like you should be sterilised, you’re weak and your children will be weak. The world needs mentally strong people. – Although I think this person may have been a religious nutter!

Oh and don’t even get me started on the popularity contest that the social media ensues. Twitter in particular is brutal. How many followers do you have? (193, but who’s counting) and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel the pain of rejection whenever I lost someone. How could they ‘unfollow’ me? What did I do wrong? I thought I was freaking hilarious!

The truth is, we pay a price for information and its important to recognise whether or not you’re willing to participate.
In general I follow certain rules:

  • Don’t check Facebook on a Friday or Saturday night. Why do it to yourself? I often leave my phone in another room.
  • When you lose a Twitter follower I’m afraid that they ‘just weren’t that into you’ – so move on.
  • Make sure that your Facebook is set to ‘private’ (no brainer.) We wouldn’t want your new employer to see that photo from the poll dancing evening.
  • DON’T CLICK ON YOUR EX’s PROFILE. Especially when drunk or alone. Watch a Disney instead!
  • If you click on somebodies profile on LinkedIn it automatically informs them. So don’t spy on them unless you’re prepared to be exposed!
  • Don’t ever take naked photos of yourself… PERIOD.

Pleasure as always. Thank you for listening to my endless ranting. . .

Categories: Anxiety, Social Anxiety

Tags: , , ,

3 replies

  1. A brilliant post as always Claire. I can’t believe you have got comments like that on twitter. Why would you even be bothered to do that? How could anyone be so full of hate and so empty of self worth? I know it marks me out as being the middle aged person I am, but I genuinely do not understand why people get involved with twitter. I don’t see the upside. It just seems to give idiots enough rope to hang themselves (and by that I mean your trolls, rather than you :-)) as for the Daily Mail….I can’t believe it is the most visited “news” site on the web. As my sister calls it..”the Sidebar of Shame”. Anyway…happy Christmas !

    • Thanks Morgan 🙂
      It was actually comments on my blog that were negative (although I just deleted them.) So far I haven’t taken a battering on Twitter yet. I know, I found the whole thing really disappointing. I suppose some people just like to hide and throw stones.
      Happy Christmas to you too!!

  2. I’ll carry on from my tweet (140 characters isn’t enough!) about FB being a blessing and curse…
    I’ve spent so much time worrying about pictures people tag of me there, and like you, I have such a feeling of dread if I find out someone has tagged me! I will spend an unhealthy amount of time staring at myself and picking every tiny thing about myself apart. I very very rarely allow people to take my photo, and hardly ever upload pictures of myself!
    Haha, I so agree about not having context and convincing yourself that everyone hates you and doesn’t want to hang out with you. Facebook gives me incredible FOMO. Another thing that really upsets me is when friends – or worse, family – put important life events like engagements, pregnancies etc etc on FB, but they don’t bother to tell you in person, assuming that you’ll just happen to see it. It makes me feel so unimportant when it’s someone you think you’re close to!

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