You wouldn't know anything.
"Chad, did you eat the beakers again? Please get on Facebook so you'll stop being stupid."
The Terrible Truth:
But you'd be happier. Scientists monitored the Facebook use of several subjects and found that the more they used the site, the sadder and more anxious they got. Not that we actually needed that study: Pretty much every news story covering Facebook describes it as annoying and addictive, while the current generation of teenagers will openly admit to hating it (while also clarifying that they have no plans to stop visiting).
The study doesn't tell us why the site makes us so sad, but they suspect that it's all about how you compare yourself to others. Facebook functions in the exact opposite way of gossip: Instead of a few people privately discussing others, Facebook is about everyone publicly discussing themselves. And since social comparison is a big part of socializing, every time you look at your Facebook feed, you're comparing your own (flawed) image of yourself to the finely crafted and utterly artificial version of themselves your friends have created specifically for Facebook. Not because they're being dishonest, and not because it's impossible to have meaningful friendships online, but because that's the whole point of the website: You choose how others see you. It's hard to remain genuine, because you know that anything you post will be visible to 95 percent of everyone you've ever met.
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"Accidentally shit in the hot tub today."
It's the perfect mask, giving you perfect control over your presentation of yourself ... so of fucking course it's depressing you. Mistakes and emotions and spontaneity are what friendships are. Take that away, and we're just robots bumping into each other in an empty field.
But even knowing that Facebook is bad for you, you still can't leave. No one leaves. You, and everyone else, are under a tremendous amount of pressure to keep Facebooking, which is why it's the most popular site in the world -- even bigger than Google. Even though no one likes it. Even though it makes us sad. This is what socializing has become, I guess: We all picked the most unpleasant place to hang out, worked as hard as we could to make it worse, and then made it impossible to leave. That's almost as bad as ... uh, creating a list of rude behaviors and then telling people that they were good for you. Oh, shit, I made the world a worse place today, didn't I?
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JF Sargent isn't really sorry. Follow him on Twitter, check him out on Facebook, or click on every hyperlink on his Tumblrblogthing.
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