Current Status: Sad

Social Media Depression
Facebook Depression?  Yes, it is real folks. I have been joking about this for a long time with my friends and meaning to write this post for a while, then a few months back the American Pediatric Society concluded that it is a real condition. Not so funny anymore.  I also don’t think it just affects kids or is central to Facebook, it is all of social media and all ages. Now some may argue that this condition doesn’t exist or that it is just the same leopard with different spots,  but I can’t tell you how many times I have friends point out that they are bummed because they saw someone’s profile update and it made them feel like their life sucked in comparison.  Those friends wouldn’t have been bummed if they didn’t see an update on social media, so how can you not see a direct correlation between social media and their jealousy or despair? To me it is the new platform for extending that painful period of high school rivalry we all hated well out into retirement age. Just look at all the cyber bullying or malicious tweeting that has taken place in the last few years alone.  Even the carefully crafted, stylized and handled persona’s that we call movie stars do it. Hence the need for PR Reps.

I personally try really hard not to get sucked into the compare myself to others game, but sometimes it can be hard. Especially in an industry driven by how much Klout you have on your various social networks and services. People’s popularity and success is no longer just measured by the letters on their varsity jackets or how many times they are homecoming queen. It is not even measured by the house they live in or the car they drive. It is measured by how many friends you have on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Instagr.am and it lends us to be less genuine with the people in our lives because we are so busy increasing our numbers. If you look at ones profile it is easy for teens or even adults to feel things like “wow they have a ton of friends their life must be pretty spectacular” or “wow they hardly know anyone, they must be lame”. But how many of those “friends” or “followers” are genuinely real relationships? In most cases, probably only a handful.

I myself have many a friend across several networks that I have not seen in person in years, nor would I know what to say to them if I did. I also have many that I have never met in person. I would like to meet them, but for now they only know the socially presented me. I try to be as genuine as possible online, but even I have been known to Photoshop a photo or two or quickly un-tag the embarrassing ones where I making some jacked-up face. I certainly don’t tell you all the times I screwed up as a parent, a friend, a wife, a daughter, or an employee in my Facebook and Twitter updates. Nope, I just highlight the better parts of my life or try to be charmingly self-deprecating. I am not lying, I am just omitting right? We were on a break!

The point is that it goes back to that old adage, don’t judge a book by it’s cover or in this case a profile by it’s Instagr.am stylized Photoshopped persona. No one’s life is that great, please kids trust me on this. When you start to feel the Facebook blues, distract yourself. Go read a book, take a walk, say hi to a stranger or play with your kids. Those things are more fulfilling and real then the fact that your rival has more friends, likes, re-tweets or cuter kids than you.  Also, try to be as genuine as you can, whether your a person or a brand, because just like that other old adage, things always have a way of catching up with you. If you look hard enough it is pretty easy to see who is being transparent and who is being opaque online and eventually people always get burnt out on the shiny plastic you and want to know the wrinkly human you.

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