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10 Facebook-Related Feelings We Were Better Off Without

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I like to rag on Facebook a lot, but in spite of its drawbacks and annoyances I can never seem to stay away from it for very long.

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This is partly because it’s the best way for me to keep in touch with family and friends abroad, but mainly because it provides me with so much entertaining material for discussion.

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I have to admit though that I sometimes miss the old days when Facebook (and social media in general) didn’t exist. Life was so much simpler then. You saw people when you saw them, and that was it.

Nowadays - if you have the time - you can be all up in everyone’s business every day. And while that can be good, it can also suck in many ways. There are so many feelings people never had to feel back in the pre-Facebook days. Here are 10 just off the top of my head.

1. Facebook Envy

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This really is a thing. I mentioned it in an article I wrote for Rappler once. Facebook envy is that feeling of dissatisfaction you get, like your life sucks because everyone else’s looks so much better.  It’s very closely related to #2…

2. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

..which is also a real thing. FoMo is “the fear that everyone else is having more fun, more excitement and more rewarding, anecdote-worthy experiences than you” — so you’re constantly glued to your phones, or tablets or whatever, worried you might be missing out on something. 

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The fear of missing out (FOMO) — on something more fun, on a social date that might just happen on the spur of the moment — is so intense, even when we’ve decided to disconnect, we still connect just once more, just to make sure. - PsychCentral

3. FOBFO (Fear of Being Found Out)

Okay I’m obviously just inventing terms at this point. But FOBFO is a real thing too. Let me tell you — I am SO glad there was no such thing as Facebook when I was a teenager. Because dammit, there’s always some eager oversharer (like me - hehe) tagging you in a check-in or posting pictures of you when you’re drunk and/or acting stupid…

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… or hanging out somewhere you’re not supposed to be… or having a party or something that you left other people out of… Which inevitably leads to the next feeling on the list…

4. SONBI (Sadness of Not Being Invited)

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Yeah, we all know what I’m talking about here. It was all well and good to forget or neglect to invite people to things back in the old days, but now - no thanks to Facebook -you can be pretty sure they’ll find out. And be sad. 

5. ROR (Repeat-Outfit Regret)

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This is another thing we never had to worry about back in the days of non-digital cameras, no smartphones and no internet. Seriously. You could wear the exact same thing to multiple events as long as the people attending were different, and no one would be the wiser. I totally miss that.

6. Tag-ophobia 

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This is what you call that feeling of discomfort and dread you experience in the pit of your stomach when you discover you’ve been tagged in an unauthorized photo.

Note: It is particularly strong on Throwback Thursdays and Flashback Fridays — because of pictures like these:

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In advanced cases, Tagophobia can lead to…

7. Tagocidal Tendencies - or murderous feelings of resentment towards people who tag you in ugly pictures all the time 

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Because really, some people need to be stopped. 

8. Sel-philia 

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I have like the OPPOSITE of this, but it’s a pretty common affliction. Sel-philia is the desperate, burning desire to constantly post pictures of yourself, no matter where you are or what you’re doing…

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This is actually the result of dopamine addiction, which you can read about here. Whatever the case or cause, though - OMG. It’s like an epidemic. And because this condition/addiction/affliction is so common, it often leads to…

9. SOS (Selfie Over-Saturation) - Assorted feelings arising in reaction to the relentless selfie-stream caused by other people’s sel-philia…

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…which in turn can lead to…

10. Diss-pair: The desolate misery sel-philiacs feel when people with SOS diss or fail to react to their pics.

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(Awesome “Nobody Likes Me” art and photo by I Heart the Street Art)

Did I miss anything? Feel free to add to the list in the comments. And btw… if you find yourself relating a little too well to all of these, you may want to consider a Facebook timeout.

As I said in my old Rappler article, Facebook is fun, but it never really paints an accurate picture or tells you the whole story. So step away from the screen, get out there and spend more time interacting with people face-to-face. Real life is so much more real.

Have a great day, folks! Cheers!

The Honest Facebook Look Back Movie

A quick follow up to yesterday’s post about all those Facebook Look Back videos — because it’s hilarious and I couldn’t resist. :D

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Here’s what the Facebook movies would like if they were a little more honest, according to Tripp and Tyler. Enjoy! :)

10 Things I Learned from the #FacebookIs10 Look Back Videos

So it turns out Facebook and I share a birthday.

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Except Facebook turned 10 this year, and I turned… well, never mind that. Moving on…

Yep, Facebook turned 10 on February 4th, and celebrated it by giving each user a personalized “look back” video showing highlights from the past 10 years.

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Mine had a couple of misses (like “Whut? I barely know those people!”) but overall I think it was a pretty good representation of my Facebook life and sharing habits.

I think almost everyone I know felt the same way, so my FB feed’s totally flooded with #FacebookIs10 videos — and you know what? I really don’t mind at all. I kind of love watching them. 

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They’re so touching. And telling! Yup, I’m actually learning a lot from watching them. Here are 10 things I’ve learned already, just off the top of my head:

1. Facebook is 10 years old.

Let’s get that out of the way first because really… Who knew until yesterday? Definitely not me. I (and most of the people I know) joined in 2007 as refugees from Multiply, and had no idea it had been around since 2004. Maybe because the 2004 version of “TheFacebook” really wasn’t very attractive.

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Yawn. I’m glad I came in later.

2. Based on the videos, the Facebookers I follow fall into 5 basic types:

  • All about me
  • All about me and/or my significant other
  • All about my kids
  • All about food
  • All about memes

3.  People who post nothing but selfies are even more obnoxious when in video format. 

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4. Kids grow really fast. 

Seriously. What the F. They’re like tiny in 2008 then all of a sudden GIANTS in 2013.

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5. Adults grow really fast too - but sideways.

And by “adults” I mostly mean me.

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6. Pretty much any picture can be touching and make people emotional as long as it’s set to inspiring music.

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7. Haters gonna hate.

I think that for the most part, people’s reactions to Facebook’s Look Back videos were positive, and there was a lot of good will floating around the news feeds. But then there were also these guys

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Because there just always are, no matter what. Can’t be avoided, I guess. :) 

And then there were also people like these, who were watching people’s videos (and posting their own) BUT NOT KNOWING WHY, because…

8. Some people just don’t pay attention… or read hashtags. 

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Sigh. Next up…

9. It must be said… Facebook’s pretty creepy. 

I already knew this. I remember it every single time I decide to tag people in pictures, AND I DON’T HAVE TO DO A THING.

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But I realized it even more when I watched the videos, because they really did seem to know what mattered to each user. I’m sure there was some sort of formula or algorithm to figure all that out. It’s not like they hired an army of stalkers or anything, but it kind of felt like that. So yikes

In spite of that, the whole “We made you all personal videos” thing really made me love Facebook this week, because…

10. Doing something other-centered on a day that’s special to you is a great way to celebrate. 

I’m celebrating my birthday all week, and I’ve pretty much been “Me, me, MEEE!” the past few days — just because I think I can get away with it. But I love how Zuck and the FB gang made their celebration about doing something for (or giving a gift to) everyone else. 

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That’s pretty cool, and definitely something I’ll need to incorporate into my own birthweek bonanza.

So thanks Facebook, and Happy 10th!

To Purge or Not to Purge? The Social Network Spring Cleaning Dilemma

It’s a holiday today so I woke up with a great plan to do some spring cleaning. Why I even call it that, I don’t know — we don’t even have spring in the Philippines.

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And why I even thought of cleaning, I have no idea either. It’s way too hot to do anything that requires more energy than clicking a mouse or flicking on an air conditioner switch.

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So um, forget that. I still felt like cleaning something up though, so I decided to make a list of things I can spring (ok, fine SUMMER) clean without dissolving into a puddle of sweat and grossly unidentifiable goo.

And just to show you how lazy and lethargic this blasted summer heat makes me, I ended up with an embarrassingly short list: 

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So okay, I guess that’s that, then. Social networks it is.

I’m a bit of a social media ho (more so on Twitter than Facebook) and I’ll pretty much befriend anyone with a pulse.

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But as my friend and following lists grow I realize that there are people on my feeds who either (1) piss me off or bring me down, or (2) really have nothing to say/share that interests me in the slightest.

I always plan to purge these people at some point, but I don’t know, I can never seem to bring myself to do it.

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Thing is, unfriending and unfollowing is such a nasty business. I mean, seriously, these days it’s like equivalent to a slap in the face. Rejection sucks, and I hate being the bad guy.  I mean, geez, that’s like 20% of the reason I love being with my husband. He has no problem whatsoever taking on the bad cop role in anything, so I get to be the good cop all the time.

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It’s great. Unfortunately he’s like the Internet equivalent of a hermit, so he can’t help me with my dilemma.  

This article entitled You Don’t Have To Be Friends With Everybody did, though.

We live in an age where we feel guilt whenever we have to cut someone off but the reality is that some relationships do need to die, some people do need to be unfollowed and defriended. We aren’t meant to be this tethered to the people in our past. The Internet mandates that we don’t burn bridges and keep everyone around like relics but those expectations are unrealistic and unhealthy. Simply put, we don’t need to know what everyone else is up to. We’re allowed to be choosy about who we surround ourselves with online and in real life, even if it might hurt people’s feelings. - Thought Catalog

The writer has a point. I always say that your social media wall/profile is your space, and you have a right to post whatever you please. I’ll always believe that.

But following the same argument, my news feed is MY space, and I have the same right to see only what I want to see, and cut out anything that isn’t positive, or uplifting, or educational or entertaining to me. 

So will I purge? Eep. I still don’t know.

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My inner good cop is conflicted. Geez, she’s such a people-pleaser. I may just let my inner coward take over and just “hide” people instead. That’s a start, right? :)

What are your thoughts on the issue?  How do you manage your social media feeds and weed out inessentials or undesirables?  Let me know. I’d really love to find out. 

Cheers! And happy holiday!

Online You vs Real Life You: What’s the Difference?

I did quite a bit of research for the piece I wrote for Rappler yesterday about how Facebook is ruining our lives, and one of the most fascinating things I found was that people tend to project a different, more stylized and successful image of themselves online. 

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This is true, right? I notice that even in myself. This is probably why I go to ridiculously great lengths to obliterate any unflattering pictures of myself. I mean, come on, I even tried to enforce a picture posting/tagging procedure on my friends. 

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Yes, I really posted that and expected my friends and family to follow it. They mostly just laughed and ignored me. 

I don’t really know why we do this. I suppose part of it is that we don’t want to be a drag by being all “Woe is me” whenever we have problems.

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…especially since our problems are really nobody’s business anyway.

But I’ve noticed that with some people, the crafting of the successful Facebook persona goes far beyond just not wanting to sully people’s feeds with the overly personal or the unimpressively mundane. So much so that I sometimes think they should just call it Bragbook. Or Fakebook. Because really, no one’s life or family is that perfect.  

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I already discussed in the Rappler piece how this leads to Facebook envy in other people, but I wonder… does the dichotomy between our online selves and our real-life selves have any worrisome effects on us?

According to clinical psychologist Craig Malkin, it does. 

“The self is, to some extent, a story we tell,” Malkin explained. “When people are choosing to leave out the normal chinks in human armor, the normal vulnerabilities, how can they again not feel like there’s something wrong with that?”

The psychologist said concealing the less desirable aspects of our lives over and over again “forecloses intimacy,” meaning it can condition and prevent us from nurturing truly intimate connections with others. But what about our relationship to ourselves?

“It affects it deeply,” Malkin answered, “because part of the way we develop a strong sense of self and identity is by being known and known by others — appreciated. They see who we are, and they value who we are, including our flaws.”  - Wbur.org

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I think that behind every facade (whether online or in real life) is a need to be liked and admired. That’s normal, and understandable. But if people only know and like one side of you - the successful, happy side - I don’t think you’ll ever really be satisfied. You’ll always wonder if they’d still like you if they knew everything. 

At the end of the day, we all want to be loved for who we are — in our entirety, not just the positive bits. For better or for worse, and all that. But for this to happen, we need to quit hiding behind the mask of what we think makes us acceptable or admirable. 

Just be YOU. Quirks, flaws, crazy mood swings and all. As I’ve said before, sometimes it’s precisely the imperfections that make something beautiful. And here’s a little secret… the less perfect you make yourself out to be, the more likable you actually are. :)

Have a great day, folks! 

6 Social Media Habits to Give Up for Lent

My bestie Gem posted a pic on my Facebook wall yesterday in response to my blog about the Pope, and I thought it was hilarious.

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As Kieran Healy said on Twitter, the Pope set a pretty high bar for Lenten sacrifices.

And now Ash Wednesday’s here and I’m pretty hard pressed to find something good to give up. I briefly considered giving up Facebook and/or Twitter for a while but that didn’t last very long.

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So I thought that maybe, as a compromise, I could give up some of the things I DO on Facebook and Twitter instead — in particular, the things I do that can be pretty annoying. That way, everyone benefits.

If you’re stumped for a sacrifice too, and want to do something similar, here are a few ideas for things to give up. (Note: I don’t actually do them all, but once I started thinking of annoying social media habits, I just couldn’t not mention them. :))

1. Humblebragging

If you’re not familiar with humblebragging — believe me, you are. You just don’t know it’s called that. It’s all over the place. A humblebrag is basically a boast dressed up in self-deprecation to make it more palatable. 

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If you are really sincerely flabbergasted by the compliment (or whatever it is you’re talking about), then no, it’s not a humblebrag.

But if deep inside you’re thrilled to pieces by whatever it is you’re boasting about, and you’re just throwing in an “Aw shucks, who, me??” kicker so that people won’t think you’re insufferable, then yes, it is. Humblebragger

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(If you’re still unclear on the humblebragging concept, check out @humblebrag on Twitter for real life examples.)

2. Emotional Blackmail 

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Emotional blackmail status updates come in many forms, but the common factor is that they all try to make you feel like an a-hole for ignoring them.  

Like the lone sad emoticon. Or the “Sigh. I’m sad.” update. Dude, you obviously want to share. Just tell us what’s wrong already. Don’t make us pull it out of you. Or feel like we’re uncaring when we ignore you.

Also, those “Like this” or “Post this as your status if you hate cancer/diabetes/whatever” things.  Umm.. NEWSFLASH: Everyone hates diseases that kill people. Stop making us feel like we don’t just because we didn’t do what you said.

3. Not giving credit where credit is due

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We all know that we need to credit the original source of whatever we post online. (If you don’t know this, you should. Plagiarist.).

What a lot of people don’t realize is that when you re-share something you saw on someone else’s feed (a pic or link) it’s common courtesy to acknowledge the person you nabbed it from, and say thanks for the tip.

 4. Promo-tagging

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I don’t think this needs any explanation. Just BAH. Stop tagging my friends. Or even worse, ME. 

5. Retweeting praise

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I think everyone has done this at one point or another, and it’s actually quite understandable. Some people do it to acknowledge receipt of said praise-filled tweet. Some people are just pleased and want to share their delight.

But when you retweet every nice thing that anyone says about you, that’s a little off. Even if you retweet it with a self-deprecating statement. (Please go back to #1 in this list: Humblebragging.) 

Tip: Learn to use the Favorite button. 

6. Posting selfies

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Like #5, there’s really nothing wrong with this, but if you just read this and thought “Gasp! I can’t!" then you have a problem. Give it up for a while. Forty days isn’t that long. :)

Having said all that, I still maintain that your social media feed is YOUR space — so you should really feel free to post whatever you want. But if you think you’re due for a bad habit intervention, then Lent is probably the perfect time. :)

Have a great day, everyone! And good luck with Lent. :)

Bah. A Bug. Also — Bingo, because I’m bored.

I seem to have caught some nasty bug, which I suspect is a strain of the flu, because I have all the usual symptoms.

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Not really sure how I got it, but I do find it rather suspicious that it happened the day after I decided to go back on my diet and tried to detox a little bit.

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So my working hypothesis is that my body’s mad at me for pulling the plug on my recent out-of-control foodfest. This, my friends, is a REVENGE ATTACK.

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Regardless of how awful I feel, however, I’m kind of bored… so I’ve been making attempts to get some work done from home. But since my brain is just a ball of mush right now, that hasn’t been too fruitful.

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So when I’m not drugged out on my trusty Nyquil I mostly just lurk on Facebook or Twitter, and waste time wondering why people post some of the pics they do.

I actually spent a good part of the afternoon yesterday pondering on that duck face pose some women seem to think is sexy.

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Can someone please explain that to me? It’s ridiculous. 

And while you’re at it, please enlighten me as well as to why people love posting pictures of their FEET.

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It’s a mystery. Because really, there are more attractive body parts.

Anyway this reminded me that I made a Facebook News Feed Bingo card ages ago, and I think I may have enough material for a new one.  So yay - PROJECT! 

In the meantime, here — go have some fun with the first one:

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And if you have any suggestions for the next News Feed Bingo, just stick them in the comments section.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

How Not to Fall for the Next Facebook Hoax

I promised myself I wouldn’t let it bother me anymore, but OMG when I checked my Facebook this morning, people were still posting that stupid Facebook copyright notice, despite the fact that it’s been proven (over and over again) to be a useless hoax!!

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It kills me, because if people would just hang on for a sec and think about what they’re about to copy-and-paste, it’s actually pretty easy to identify it as the useless wallspace-waster that it is.

What are people thinking, really?  

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Like he really wants all those pics of what you had for dinner. And your kid’s costume party. Come on. 

And even if for some reason Mark actually DID want to own all your pictures, do you really think that posting something on your wall will stop him from doing it? I don’t think so.

I think our collective time and effort would probably be much better spent reviewing the Facebook terms that none of us really bothered to read before signing up. 

According to a Facebook representative (who was probably giggling and/or shaking his head as he made this statement):

When you post things like photos to Facebook, we do not own them. Under our terms, you grant Facebook permission to use, distribute, and share the things you post, subject to the terms and applicable privacy settings.

So yeah, go check the terms and fiddle with your privacy settings, and if you learn something new while doing it, go post THAT as your status instead.

I understand that seeing all those legal-looking notices all over the place gives rise to a certain feeling of hypnotic “OMG ME TOO!!” panic. But please.. try to resist the urge to act on it. 

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I know you can do it. I’m rooting for you.

And if you need help when something similar pops up in the future (as it no doubt will, knowing the Internet), please refer to this handy 3-step guide before jumping on the hoax bandwagon.

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Or, if you’re not in the mood to do all that work, just ask me. I’ll be happy to set you straight. :)

Have a happy and hoax-free day, my friends!

The Facebook Private Message Panic Attack

I was in a really good mood when I woke up this morning…

…until I saw an article my friend Ros posted about a Facebook glitch which was causing private messages to show up on people’s public timelines.

Instant panic attack. 

I don’t know about you, but there’s a pretty good reason I keep my private messages private. Here’s what my Facebook inbox looks like:

I have a particularly long thread with my sister Bambi that looks kind of like this:

And although our comments are pretty harmless (just not always very charitable), things could become a bit problematic if they ever got out.

Horrors.

So naturally I immediately checked my Timeline, and phew! No pm’s made public.

Panic attack over. No angry mobs incoming. (Again.. PHEW!) The extremely stressful experience did make me realize something important though…

If you’re put into a panic at the thought of people seeing your private messages — then maybe you shouldn’t be putting those kinds of messages online at all.  

Let’s face it. Whatever we post on the Internet — no matter what stringent privacy settings we use — could easily be made public one day. There are no real privacy guarantees on the web. All it takes is one glitch, or a talented hacker, and that’s it. You’re a goner. 

So watch what you post! Keep your info secure and your private life private, and let my little early morning panic attack serve as a modern day reminder of Mom’s age-old advice:

Have a pleasant and panic-free day, people! :)