By no means are we Social Media experts and at no means are we Facebook experts. We are perspective experts and that is what we do best. And when we look at breaking down 'the most' interactive network every created...we have some thoughts to make your experience a good one. Let us expand.
Over the past decade, a number of studies & articles have explored how the Social Media giant - Facebook - has impacted psychological and emotional well-being. Some believe that media like Facebook and Twitter offer feelings of greater connectivity to others, increased self-esteem, and decreased loneliness. While there are others suggesting that online socializing elicits insecurity, anger, and envy. Not to mention, replacing important offline ties with family and friends, and creating a subculture of individuals who aren't learning the social graces of eye contact, conversational flow or how to decode non-verbal behaviour.
It appears, when it comes to Facebook, the key for having a fulfilling and meaningful social media experience seems like it really depends on who you are and what you’re doing online.
Let's break that down.
- For some, Facebook is the millennium’s new water cooler. Whether it serves as a way for people to catch up on the latest trends, share milestones, learn about juicy gossip, or live vicariously through the experience of others. Now one doesn't have to keep up with the 'Joneses' because you can keep track of the 'Joneses'. And whether good or bad - these social experiences can make us feel connected to what is going on outside of our direct world but the world of our 'friends'. However, the attraction to this site for these bonding reasons could also elicit negative emotions of feeling left out or question the value of 'our status'.
- On the alternative, there are many others using Facebook as a tool for strengthening their identities. A kind of network that links people to other colleagues, businesses, contacts and organizations that share their political, social and community interests, or their career or professional pursuits. As much as it may have been created for the connecting experience...it has demonstrated huge success & return being used a free massive marketing platform.
- Both very different reasons (and not the only ones) - neither one is 'right' or 'wrong' for why people are using this tool. But it definitely provides enough insight that it is important to understand why we are using it ourselves and how to make it a positive experience vs. the opposite.
- Once you have figured out why you are using it...our suggestion is to mentally & emotionally redefine your Facebook experience. If it makes you feel left out to read about others' daily lives or pissed off because of others' posts, consider editing your subscriber list. Want to have more connection? Consider direct messaging than commenting on a community level. If you discover that using Facebook isn’t as valuable a tool for you, bow out. It’s just as cool to bump the trend as it is to be part of a trend.
And last but not least, remember to interact beyond the virtual world. Nothing replaces spending quality time socializing in real time with real people because that will benefit both your social bonding and strengthen the identity or marketing that you are after!