Have you had it up to here with all of the bragging on Fakebook—er, Facebook?
You're in good company. According to this article on Newsweek.com, more mothers are taking a self-prescribed break from Facebook—and find they don't miss the daily stream of posts that leave them feeling a little worse than they did before they logged on. A recent study from the University of Michigan showed people's moods darkened moment-to-moment as they browsed Facebook, regardless of the number of friends in their networks or even if they genuinely liked their friends offline. With moms checking Facebook an average of five times a day, that's a lot of opportunities to drag yourself down.
Generally, I love Facebook for keeping up with friends and what's going on in their lives. That said, there's a lot to dislike (if only there were such a button). With everyone acting as her own self-promoter now, Facebook's the grand stage to brag. You know who they are:
* The unabashed braggers, who post their kids' every minuscule achievement, often casually insulting other people's children in the process. "OMG, Noah gets another twelfth-place ribbon at the track meet! The real team, NOT the developmental team! GO NOAH!!!"
* The humblebraggers. Ah, those masters of the brag disguised as a complaint. "Having the hardest time finding enough books to keep up with my little advanced reader. Ugh!"
* The photobraggarts. Of course, there's no limit to how many pictures you can post of your frequent tropical vacations on Facebook. But there should be. Likewise, there ought to be a restriction to how many pictures you can post of yourself in a week. Not your cute kids, though others will find that annoying, too. Talking 'bout you, lady. (Or mister.) I'm not sure what's right, but changing a profile picture three times a week is definitely too many. You know what your hot mom-friend Kendall looks like. But she'll post selfies all week to remind you. Kendall in her bikini. Kendall in deep contemplation. One-quarter of Kendall's face, close up. (Her enablers are just as bad. "Beautiful eyeball, Kendall!" "Aww. Thanks, Jen.")
If Facebook wanted to add something really useful, it would offer pop-up windows above the most irritating posts, with reality checks. Like:
Dropped the kids at school in my pajamas. Yelled at them all morning.
Serving dinner straight from the drive-thru window to the backseat. Don't really care.
This great picture of me? Photoshopped it. And taken two kids ago, when I was still skinny.
Awhile ago I interviewed a wise psychophysiologist who said the best way to deal with annoying people whose behavior is beyond your control is to simply do this: Pity them. After all, tone-deaf friends probably have no idea that they're bothering anyone with their posts. As the Newsweek.com story puts it: "When you brag in a group, you notice when [people] wander away. When you brag on Facebook, it's harder to tell who you're alienating."
Maybe these oversharers do deserve our sympathy. In the no-surprise-here department: Women who seek approval based on appearance post a lot more pictures of themselves on Facebook, according to a University at Buffalo study, which is kind of sad in this day and age. Meanwhile, people who base their self-worth on things like family love and support and being a virtuous and moral person spend less time online, and have less interest in reaping attention through social media.
Would the world be a better place if Fakebook were less braggy, and a little more honest?
Let me know what you think. In the meantime, I'll be checking Facebook.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.