Facebook: Feeding egos and fostering envy since 2004

by Haley Williamson

For years, Facebook has been the ultimate source of connection among individuals. Now this social media outlet is beginning to stir up underlying feelings of pride and jealousy that are easily overlooked and often not recognized.

The Pew Research Center decided to take a look at the world of Facebook. They provide statistics for everything from average daily use to average daily photo comment and some of their findings surprised me.

“33 percent of Facebook users have been on this social media site for over two years.”

“31 percent of Facebook users access the site multiple times a day.”

“26 percent of users ‘like’ another user’s content, 22 percent comment on another user’s post or status and 20 percent comment on another user’s photos.”

By no means am I against the connection that Facebook provides among peers, family members and long distance friends.

In fact, I think it is a great way to communicate, reach a large number of people and help maintain relationships that would normally fade due to distance.

What I am against is the natural tendency to compare our lives to the lives of others with a click of a button. At one point or another everyone looks through someone else’s profile pictures or their tagged pictures or even their listed interests.

Then, they scroll through the news feed and see the latest uploaded pictures, or the status of the cool concert someone is going to just pops up and one can’t help but look and read.
It’s normal, you do it, the person next to you does it and I used to do it.

Being able to view people’s lives can easily induce jealousy.

We wish we were surfing on the beaches and looking cool in hippie clothes.

We wish we were nice enough to ride the bus downtown and feed the homeless and then upload pictures for everyone to gawk at.

We wish that our family took tons of pictures together and were planning to travel to Australia this summer.

We wish, we wish, and we keep wishing.  Jealousy begins to envelop our thoughts and we are left feeling discontent or unhappy with the lives God has blessed us with.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we can look at people’s lives and pictures displayed on Facebook and become prideful,  viewing our lives as somehow better.

We need to stop living vicariously through other people’s photos and updates and simply live our lives. And not only live our lives, but also love them.

John 10:10 says “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it the full.”

My challenge to you is to take a break from Facebook, or at least be conscious of why you use it.

You can even delete it, which is something I have chosen to do.  You may begin to see the joy that enters into your life, filling the hole that used to be occupied by Facebook.

Contact Haley Williamson at hwilliamson15@my.whitworth.edu

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