A recent study suggests that many people suffer from Facebook envy: they tend to feel more miserable after seeing pictures of their friends (or “friends”) in vacations or having fun with their loved ones. I can attest to this feeling because I also have felt it on occasions. Everybody has a perfect life but me, right?

Said H.W. Thoreau that “most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” That might be true, but still, most people want to pretend to their social circle, when not to complete strangers, that their lives are meaningful and interesting. It is a reinforcing illusion, because if the others believe it, you start to believe it too. And, let’s face it, there are even some freaks who really do have meaningful and interesting lives, far from the humdrum realities of mine or yours.

That would be just a minor inconvenience, were it not for the fact that I am starting to think that Facebook is a negative social phenomenon in many other aspects, promoting bad social behaviours, such as status mongering, consumerism, wasting of time that could be better used in interaction with actual human beings, and an increase in the sense of isolation of those who have 500 “friends” but few real friends.

Why do we have the need to flash our lives and our thoughts before others? I believe it is part of human nature, but, as I have learned the hard way, it is something best done in moderation. Now I like to use Facebook just to chat and to keep up with a few relevant news, but I haven’t posted pictures in a long time. It seems now that there is only a handful of people who matter to me, and I’d rather not bore them with unimportant details.

Another problem with Facebook is that it became full of irrelevant and obnoxious ads (by Facebook and its sponsors) and by political campaigns (by friends) in which I am not interested. It has become an echo chamber of stupidity more than a relevant space to keep in touch with friends, which, I like to think, was the original idea.

Still, I am not out yet. Plus, I’ve became addicted to online Scrabble.

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