While there are several positive values from using Facebook and other social media, the overuse can be harmful to one’s health. Nicholas Carr, Author of Shallows: How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember
he states that the world-wide web is turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers.
Nicholas said, “I was inspired to write the book after I realized that I was losing my own capacity for concentration and contemplation. Even when I was away from my computer, my mind seemed hungry for quick hits of information. I felt perpetually distracted”.
Technology is shaping the way we live our lives. More than any other form of technology, the internet; social media, has the most effect on our daily routine. You often admire social media icons with thousands of Facebook friends and even reached the 5000 limit. While you want to maximize your Facebook usage to hit that maximum friend’s limit, you also deserve to understand the emotion associated with attaining your goal. Being friendly pays whether offline or on Facebook but having many friends can be nuisance.
Psychologists have found that the more Facebook friends you have, the more likely you are to suffer from stress and anxiety concerning your profile.
They said that a significant minority of Facebook users suffered considerable anxiety for which there was only a limited reward.
12% of participants in an online survey conducted by scientists at the Napier University, Edinburgh said that Facebook made them feel anxious. A third (32%) said they experienced feelings of guilt and discomfort when they declined a friend request.
Dr Kathy Charles, lecturer in forensic psychology who conducted the study said that “the results threw up a number of paradoxes.
“For instance, although there is great pressure to be on Facebook there is also considerable ambivalence amongst users about its benefits. And we found it was actually those with the most contacts, those who had invested the most time in the site, who were the ones most likely to be stressed.”
It’s thought that some of the stress could be a self-imposed pressure to come up with status updates which are going to appeal to a large and diverse group of people. Dr Charles compares it to a news channel dedicated solely to the person; the more viewers there are, the greater the pressure to produce content. If you feel yourself to be a key player in your own narrative then you create pressure to produce something to give to your audience.
The survey used qualitative interviews and quantitative questionnaires to find out the views of students who use the Facebook regularly. 10% said that they disliked receiving friend requests while two-thirds (63%) said that they put off accepting or replying to friend requests. What Dr Charles described as “an overwhelming majority” of participants stated that the best thing about Facebook was that they could “keep in touch” without any further explanation being given.
People who didn’t enjoy using the site or didn’t find it worthwhile were still reluctant to leave the site because they were worried about missing information because so many people use it to keep one another updated about their social activities; they also worried about offending their friends if they closed their account. Dr Charles compared the compulsion to keep on using Facebook to gambling: “Like gambling, Facebook keeps users in a neurotic limbo, not knowing whether they should hang on in there just in case they miss out on something good.”
Other causes of tension that using Facebook put upon its users included performing Facebook culls, where you purge your friends of those that you no longer have any interest in, and the pressure to be entertaining and informative while maintaining the correct etiquette for various types of friends.
If your value lies in subtlety and not just the speed of today’s fast moving digitally controlled world, you are likely to find the emerging trends troubling.