Facebook Makes Us Sad, Part II

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Jan. 31 2011 2:47 PM

Facebook Makes Us Sad, Part II


Apparently, we’re all crying over Facebook. My recent DoubleX piece about how  Facebook makes us feel alone in our troubles by allowing us to broadcast only the cheeriest versions of our lives hit quite a nerve. (22,000 "Likes" so far, though, as I noted in the article, Facebook doesn’t offer a "Hate" button.) I’ve heard from a lot of people via e-mail, Twitter, story comments, and yes, Facebook, with many saying they’ve fallen prey to the social networking site’s mirage, and some women adding they agree with the piece’s contention that our gender may be especially vulnerable to it. Some have even said they quit Facebook because of this. The story has prompted a lot of discussions, including at an aptly named site called  The Web of Loneliness ("A place for those who feel lonely, isolated, and alone to share with others").  And others have written that I’m a wrongheaded idiot, that I’m jumping to conclusions, and/or  that it is ourselves -not Facebook-that is to blame. Also fair.

On Twitter, folks have started using the  Slate -created hashtag #sadbook to tweet about how Facebook makes them sad. A few actually made me laugh out loud, all but drying the tears from my latest Facebook session. (Just kidding. Mostly.) It should be said that many of the #sadbooks have nothing to do with social networking comparisonitis; they’re commentaries on bad spelling, on the boneheaded ways people treat each other online, and on the pathos you can often glimpse in the cracks of our networked lives. The best of the best:

When your 70-year-old dad shows up as "someone you might know."

Not sending friend requests to people from high school who were popular just in case they still think they're too good for me.

Photo albums consisting of nothing but selfshots taken in the bathroom. 

When the whole of the "friendship" is a repeated "Let's meet for coffee sometime." 

Noticing that one person in a group photo isn't tagged makes me sad. Who are they? Why won't anyone tag them?

An entire generation is going to grow up totally unaware that an ellipsis is only 3 periods ... not 16.

People who announce their divorce by changing their relationship status to "single."

The song that my close friend has referenced in his status update is by Nickelback.

Following the  #sadbook feed.



Libby Copeland is a writer in New York and a regular Slate contributor. She was previously a Washington Post reporter and editor for 11 years. She can be reached at libbycopeland@gmail.com.



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