Facebook channels Cyrano de Bergerac

Facebook is the norm in social networking these days.  What starts as slight procrastination to avoid the dreadful task of homework, can veer towards addiction where hours are spent scouring the infinite depths of Facebook, and can ultimately affect how we see ourselves.

Who can blame us though?  After logging on, we are hit with enormous amounts of information like friend requests, wall posts, messages, and even pokes.  Facebook is used to talk with long distance friends, joke about what happened that day in class, or friend request the crap out of people you barely know.

What we might not realize is that Facebook is an extension of ourselves.  In other words, people make profiles that include or omit information to their liking.  A recent study in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, discussed this and also identified that going on Facebook can actually improve your self-esteem through selective self-representation.

Jordan Gunnett, a student here at SMC, believes selective self-representation isn't a problem, but said, "People use Facebook to build their lives how they want them to be."  She mentioned that Facebook is almost like an imaginary world.  It is true; Facebook exists in a cyber world, thus making self-judgment and appearance a whole different process.   

The study identified that in some cases, "people are prone to self-evaluations based on broader social standards and norms."  It continued to explain that moments of heightened self-awareness like looking into a mirror, hearing your own audio, or seeing pictures, can actually hurt self-esteem.  Except Facebook allows you to edit your profile to become more likeable to yourself and others.  This is also seen on dating websites and blogs. 

 Users might be adamant in putting their best foot forward because everybody uses social networking sites.  Of the all people I asked at SMC, all 10 of them had a Facebook.  Even though their time spent Facebooking varied from once a week to a couple of hours each day, all said that going on boosted their ego, especially when they had more likes, notifications, and/or friend requests.  You can't deny it; people like it when other people give them positive attention, but what about the negative?

Nikki Benoit, an activist for the Vegan Outreach Program who has recently been spending time on the SMC campus said, "Facebook is absolutely an ego booster or ego crusher depending on the situation."  What happens when you eagerly log on, only to find that the most recent activity has been your status update?  It can suck the life right out of you.

This should be a wake-up call to Facebook users.  Self-esteem should not be dependent on what goes on in the Facebook world.  Because Facebook is just that: another world, an alternate reality.  It is scary to think how much of an impact Facebook can have, and we should realize how inconsequential social networking sites are in life.