Lion of the Blogosphere

Facebook makes people feel inadequate

Here’s some rather interesting news from the Daily Mail:

Around a third of Britons believe that they are not living up to their full potential, but that figure rises to more than half (56 per cent) among people who use social media, according to the study.
Young men are likely to feel it the worst.

One in three men aged between 25 and 34 wish that they were more like the person they described themselves as on social media, than the one they are in real life.

The study of 5,000 Britons was carried out by the Future Foundation, a trend forecasting firm, which found that people felt down about their own lives because they were forever judging themselves against other people’s apparent success.

Unsurprisingly, many were worried about the way they look, whilst others are concerned that they are not successful enough in their careers, or that they are simply not happy or busy enough.

I’m not surprised by this at all. It seems to me that most people, based on how they use Facebook, must believe that the purpose of it is to brag about how great they are doing, and to show pictures of their vacations and other SWPL-approved activities. One gets the impression that it’s not OK to spend your free time watching TV, reading blogs, or playing videogames, which makes you a loser.

I suspect that Facebook has been a great boon to the travel industry, because a lot of people are probably going on expensive vacations to avoid the feeling of being a loser because everyone else is posting pictures of their expensive vacations.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 11, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Posted in Technology

41 Responses

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  1. Typical self critical white folks. I wonder if they did the same study on blacks if blacks would self evaluate the same way.

    not too late

    August 11, 2015 at 1:34 pm

  2. “Twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers; Facebook is where you lie to people you know.”

    Dave Pinsen

    August 11, 2015 at 1:34 pm

  3. This is a general story I’ve been paying attention to for a while. Some people call it Facebook Depression. It used to affect me somewhat when I was in my late 20’s (6 – 8 years ago). What’s somewhat counter intuitive is the report’s claim that it affects men more than women. I would have guessed the reverse. Women seem much, much more active on social media, making alot more posts and uploading more pictures. Maybe that means women’s greater level of activity helps them not feel so bad about themselves as compared to others on the site.


    August 11, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    • Women don’t allow as many people to see their stuff.

      not too late

      August 12, 2015 at 2:29 pm

  4. The only people on FB who feel inadequate are the ones posting pics of themselves full frontal.


    August 11, 2015 at 2:34 pm

  5. Of course, it’s called Social Comparison Theory. Facebook is a deeply feminine activity of superficial communication/status display which fits in perfectly with our deeply female consumer oriented society.

    Facebook is a prime example of how something that brings economic value (to some) overall brings a loss of social value and happiness.


    August 11, 2015 at 3:21 pm

  6. Around a third of Britons believe that they are not living up to their full potential, but that figure rises to more than half (56 per cent) among people who use social media, according to the study.

    No potential for confounding, there… 😉


    August 11, 2015 at 3:32 pm

  7. Heh. There are definitely people in my circles whose social media posts make me think, “don’t these people have full time jobs?”


    August 11, 2015 at 5:01 pm

  8. If you were on a jury and the claim was that a driver or bicyclist hit a woman in a crosswalk, wouldn’t you have to assume she was looking at facebook and not paying attention?


    August 11, 2015 at 7:29 pm

  9. I use Facebook only to meet attractive 20 to 30 year old women for discreet interludes. It works quite well for that purpose.

    E. Rekshun

    August 11, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    • You just made me feel inadequate.


      August 11, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    • How can you use Facebook to meet women? I thought people only friended others whom they already knew in real life.


      August 12, 2015 at 1:10 am

  10. Block updates from people who brag the most. Works like magic.


    August 11, 2015 at 9:31 pm

  11. The older people gets, the less they care about “not living up to ones potential” (or they realise that they are too old to change) The average age of social media users is lower than the average age of britons.


    August 11, 2015 at 10:08 pm

  12. I suspect that Facebook has been a great boon to the travel industry, because a lot of people are probably going on expensive vacations to avoid the feeling of being a loser because everyone else is posting pictures of their expensive vacations.

    Photoshopping yourself into vacation pictures is cheaper. Most importantly it makes your friends feel bad about themselves.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    August 11, 2015 at 11:09 pm

  13. Whatever happened to the good old days when internet dating sites made men feel inadequate?


    August 11, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    • Or discos (especially for men that can’t dance or dress). Do discos still exist? Anyway I think I’m dating myself.

      E. Rekshun

      August 12, 2015 at 10:28 am

  14. My account is private and restricted to immediate family. I only use it for messaging and playing chess. However one of my wife friends has spent the last two weeks posting pics from her family’s island. She’s really nice and meant nothing by it. But it still comes off a little tacky.


    August 11, 2015 at 11:34 pm

  15. I definitely feel that way when I look at Facebook. That’s why I do not have one but my wife does.

    I have an uncle on there who in the past year has attended more events and more traveling then I have done in the past 5 years.

    My cousin does not travel but she goes to an interesting bar or concert nearly every weekend.

    I have another cousin in New York city, some where there. She is always posting pictures of unsmiling people at sophisticated looking places.

    Just seeing their updates makes me feel like I should be out, doing something.


    August 12, 2015 at 12:11 am

  16. Nonsense study. It’s not Facebook that’s the cause, more likely that people who spend time on Facebook do actually waste their lives.


    August 12, 2015 at 12:59 am

    • It seems plausible. Steve Hsu had a post years ago on the hedonic treadmill and rivarlous behavior. Interestingly according to the research Hsu discusses here people weren’t rivarlrous in relation to leisure:

      “Layard believes people work too much, are too obsessed with money, and take too little leisure. In addition to habituation, another cause of this is so-called rivalrous behavior, in which our happiness depends on how our situation compares with a reference group of peers (co-workers, neighbors, family members, etc.). As an example of rivalrous behavior, people asked questions such as: “Which would you prefer: your salary is $50K per year, but your peers make $25K, or your salary is $100K per year, and your peers’ $200K?” generally prefer the former, even though they would be worse off in absolute terms. However, people are not rivalrous when it comes to leisure: when asked a similar question about vacation, most people prefer the choice which gives them the most vacation, regardless of how much their peers are allowed. If you consider these results, it suggests that people would be happier in a society that is (a) more egalitarian and (b) offers more leisure, even if they are not as materially wealthy. As a Labour MP, you might imagine Layard would prefer this European economic model over the nasty US one, but he does have some interesting data supporting his assertions.

      Without specifically endorsing Layard’s policy recommendations, I can agree that habituation and rivalry abound. Most PhD students dream of becoming tenured professors, not realizing how rapidly the resulting glow can fade into petty competition over salary or citations. Many young entrepreneurs or financiers imagine happiness is guaranteed upon achieving millionaire status, only to realize that their new peer group comes with even wealthier, more successful, rivals.”


      August 12, 2015 at 1:57 am

      • “Which would you prefer: your salary is $50K per year, but your peers make $25K, or your salary is $100K per year, and your peers’ $200K?”

        In the first case you’re a winner, in the second case you’re a loser, in both cases you make enough money to live a decent life.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 12, 2015 at 8:43 am

      • What’s really destroying young people’s future, and sapping away their time, energy and money is their housing costs, which means, they work their ass off, so they can have a roof over their head!

        New Yorkers spend nearly 60% of income on rent: study

        I wasted my 20s, earning heaps of money with jobs that I didn’t like. I should have found myself a self actualizing work environment in Academia. Although the pay can be atrocious, you are surrounded by like-minded high IQ people, who have an interest in research and learning, instead of the run in the mill, consumption pig, who lives by the minute for mere frivolity.


        August 12, 2015 at 11:37 am

  17. Also, I’m sure many of us here have the common experience of having many left-wing colleagues and relatives on Facebook constantly posting left-wing opinions, which we can’t respond to with what we really think lest we jeopardize our careers and the rest of our lives.


    August 12, 2015 at 1:12 am

    • Yep. I recently spent some time with an old friend. While he’s not extreme left-wing and, despite being a military retiree, he’s solidly liberal and strongly opinionated. He was a bit disappointed that I didn’t engage with him in any discussion on touchy subjects. I told him, “I’ve learned the hard way; I don’t discuss race, religion, gender, or politics with coworkers, friends, or most anyone else.” And we had a pleasant time.

      E. Rekshun

      August 12, 2015 at 10:34 am

    • Correct. It is really quite unfortunate. One wonders what Voltaire might have made of all this decadence.

      Sagi Is My Guru

      August 12, 2015 at 11:54 am

    • Yes all my music friends seem to be of the pushy lefty atheist persuasion. I don’t want to get into it with them, if I enjoy their company otherwise in meat space. So I guess they’re winning because of mellow weenies like me.

      Mrs Stitch

      August 12, 2015 at 10:33 pm

  18. Oh c’mon Lion, stop being such a snob. Not everyone is a famous web blogger or has enough social problems to have a reality show like the Kardashians. Everyday folks who live in obscurity feel a false sense of importance by using the NSA bulletin board they developed at the Mossad. Just think of the cost of having a Secret Police similar to the Stasi here in Freedonia. Its saving you money by having people keep an eye on themselves. All those “friends” you make on Facebook. Like those friends you had on Television shows. All those thousands of thumbnail peeps who send you Birthday wishes. You know some of them are real. Of course they’re not the famous people you think they are, but they might have a pulse. Just imagine the thrill of John Q. Pubic when he makes friends with a famous celebrity. Does it matter if it’s a child molester living in Queens? Only if you’re young and know how to take the bus. This is the future now. The Dark Dystopian Future of William Gibson’s Cyberpunk with gangs, and evil corporations, and sinister cabals of depraved rich Eurotrash. Don’t you have more to worry about then what lonely people do in the dark? Let the NSA worry about it!

    Joshua Sinistar

    August 12, 2015 at 1:26 am

  19. OT: Lion you don’t cover sports much, but anything about the latest Jets kerfuffle where Geno Smith had his jaw broken by IK Enemkpali over $600 he wouldn’t pay back? The HBD-ness of the story is wonderful, but of course none of the media accounts even hint at it. It’s all “oohhhhh those pathetic Jets!” Nothing about wondering WHY a guy who makes $1.7 M a year wouldn’t pay back 600 bucks, or WHY the response of the other guy was to break his jaw. (The puncher had also once punched a cop, apparently.)


    August 12, 2015 at 9:53 am

    • “It was never my intention to harm anyone.”

      New Jets coach Todd Bowles probably asks himself WHY he took the job too. Poor life choices, Todd.


      August 12, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    • The expected value of Enemkpali’s NFL contract is probably a few thousand times more than that $600 he wanted back.


      August 12, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    • Futtball is too prole for Lion to take interest in discussing!


      August 12, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      • As a college sport, football is NOT prole. As I’ve previously pointed out, watching football is one of the few spectator activities that cuts across all social classes.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 12, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      • I know of a White college professor in History, and he loves watching Lebron James in action. Basketball is definitely prole, and only a White American Academic would be interested in watching a guy like Lebron on TV.


        August 12, 2015 at 8:02 pm

  20. I first joined facebook around 2007 and quickly amassed about 400 friends, many of whom I had no real interest in sharing details of my life with. I quit. I re-joined in 2013 or so with the intention of maintaining a much more selective friend list (mostly family). This has helped tremendously. I’ve got a few fb friends that seem to travel constantly but I do not envy them. My appetite for travel, which was insatiable in my teens and twenties, has diminished substantially as I lurch toward my 40s. I spend a week or two at the ocean every year and that does me just fine.

    My biggest fb pet peeve are people who air dirty laundry and post attention-seeking “woe is me” shit. Making vague posts about needing prayer, some kind of personal tragedy, etc. without any indication of what might be the matter. Some of my wife’s family are chronics in this sense, making such posts on an absurdly regular basis.

    “Please pray for Amy. Tough day here.”

    Cue thirty comments asking what’s wrong with no reply or clarification. Why the fuck would you do that? If the situation is that bad, get on the phone, tell the people who should know, and refrain from making douchey fb posts.

    For the record, the individuals that make these prayer requests are not remotely what I would consider religious people.

    If you have enough capacity for self-regulation to not overshare, make personal attacks, or otherwise embarrass yourself, fb can be a real self-esteem boost.


    August 12, 2015 at 11:39 am

    • “My appetite for travel, which was insatiable in my teens and twenties, has diminished substantially as I lurch toward my 40s.” ————

      Had a conversation the other day trying to figure out when the normalization of widespread and frequent overseas (even out of country) travel first took hold. By the early 80s it was somewhat common for upper class and upper middle class college grads to make a single trip to Europe but widespread and frequent intercontinental travel wasn’t the norm. Now I run into 20 year-olds with some regularity who have visited all the major continents or close to it.


      August 12, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      • Most 20 year olds from the states, who travel much, aren’t visiting the Middle East, India or some dung hole in East Asia.


        August 13, 2015 at 10:19 am

  21. A report came out recently saying Americans, for the first time ever, are consuming fewer calories now compared to ten years ago (caloric consumption has historically always gone up). Some speculate social media has played a role in the decline, so that’s at least one possible benefit.


    August 13, 2015 at 1:20 am

    • But that doesn’t explain the high obesity rates of Millennials, compared to previous generations. Furthermore, young women today (under 25), are less curvaceous and fit, than those a decade ago.


      August 13, 2015 at 11:42 am

  22. Twitter and Instagram seem to have replaced FB, when it comes to posting about your expensive vacations.

    I just love these women who feel so important about themselves, spamming their twitter accounts of their inane, minute by minute activities, overseas.


    August 13, 2015 at 10:15 am

    • i hate that too, mainly because they’re taking dick from guys that arent me >:[


      August 13, 2015 at 6:38 pm

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