Your Facebook Profile, Posts & Interactions
We "create" information in Facebook in a few different ways; updating our profile, status updates, checking in at locations, uploading pictures/videos, private messaging our friends, updating our story, and commenting on our friends' posts. Some people create information for others to see only rarely, perhaps on special occasions. Others create posts many times a day. Many people have a certain theme to their posts (such as a strong political point of view, or pictures of their children/grandchildren), while others will post on a variety of topics. Whatever your approach, you should be aware that any of us can fall into the following emotional traps that can lead to a unsatisfying Facebook experience.
Failure to Feel Gratified
Acceptance — For most of us, it began in childhood - that need to feel accepted, to "fit in", to be acknowledged for something about ourselves that made us feel special and like we belonged. For many of us, the importance of social cliques and the need to be part of the "in crowd" diminished as we entered adulthood. But we still hunger for a bonding with friends, and the feeling that we belong to a "tribe" of mutual respect and interest. If we define ourselves too much through our Facebook identity, and we don't get that instant gratification through our score-keeping (see below), it can be a very depressing, unfulfilling experience.
Instant Gratification — We humans have a built-in basic drive to experience pleasure and to avoid pain. In psychology circles, this is known as the "pleasure principle". This natural instinct has two parts; 1) we naturally want to have pleasure, and 2) we prefer to have it now! How many times have you created a Facebook post or comment, only to find yourself minutes later checking to see who has Liked — or better yet, Loved — your post? We can become obsessed with hoping and looking for positive reinforcement of our post (our experiences, our successes, our point of view, etc.). And if that positive response is slow to come — or heaven forbid, never comes — from those whose opinions we value, we take a psychological hit. And if we don't keep the proper perspective, we can see it as a personal slap in the face!
Score-keeping — We can only realize gratification (be it instant or deferred) if we "keep score", and most of us do it at one time or another. How many birthday wishes did you receive compared to your best friend? Did anyone share (re-post) that insightful article that you wrote? Are people liking the pictures of your son's soccer games as much they used to? Why or why not??? We consciously or subconsciously perform these calculations, and through over-analyzing our findings we draw much deeper conclusions that may or may not be valid.
Compulsive Use — According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, Facebook addiction is an emerging and significant issue. Although research on the compulsive use of Facebook is in its early phases, the experts seem to agree - for some, there is a direct relationship between obsessive use of Facebook and depression, anxiety and social insecurity. This often leads to a negative impact in one's "real" life (damaged relationships, job productivity decline, poor sleep habits, lack of self-esteem). You may be impacted, and don't even realize it. Are any of these true for you?:
Do you jump on Facebook as a matter of habit or out of boredom?
Is Facebook the first app you open when you pick up your iphone or laptop?
Are you drawn to Facebook when you know you should be doing something else (spending real family time, working, sleeping)?
Do you ever wonder where the time went after using Facebook?
Are you preoccupied with how well-received your last Facebook post was?
Do you feel like you're "missing something" or negligent of your friends when you are off Facebook for too long? How long is too long for you?
Do you ever feel obligated to comment on your friends' posts, or guilty when you don't?
Ego-binging — Our egos represent the external view of ourselves that many people use to define who they are to the world; they believe that their looks, job, money and possessions actually form their identity. For many people, their ego totally hides their "authentic self" - the truest definition of who we are on the inside. Interestingly, studies have shown that humans spend about 30–40% of their speech talking about themselves, but this number jumps to about 80% in their social media posts. Ego-binging is an obsessive need to convince others that we are happy, successful, smart, talented, attractive — or that our point of view is "right". We look to Facebook to prove and validate our value from our ego's point of view. The practice of ego-binging conflicts with your true self's core values and can destroy relationships. On Facebook, it is all too easy to slip into a dominating "me" mode of thinking, which can be addictive, mindless and self-gratifying. It can totally alienate you from the very people you were hoping to impress, and importantly, pull you away from your "true self"!
Facebook Misalignment with Your True Self
Your True Self — As mentioned earlier, everyone has an inner, authentic "true self". It's that part of you that remains when you strip away the external, ego-related things that society defines us by: fame, fortune, good looks, lofty job titles, degrees, credentials, shiny cars, big houses, exotic vacations, etc. Discovering and connecting with your authentic self, according to many psychology experts, is the key to finding true happiness, flourishing in your personal and business life, living with integrity, finding peace and even discovering your life purpose. When your external (ego) self is misaligned with your inner (authentic) self, we become conflicted and find it hard to achieve true happiness and fulfillment. When used improperly, Facebook can contribute greatly to this ego-based unhappiness.