Facebook Highlight Reel

Facebook Highlight Reel Does Not Depress Me

I’ve been reading a lot about how the Facebook highlight reel may be causing depression. Well, I just want all of you to know that your Facebook highlight reel does not depress me. I kind of like it. No, I absolutely love it. Maybe it’s because I love pictures of kids, babies, cats, dogs, job promotions, and all of the tiny successes my friends have on a daily basis. That stuff makes me smile. When I see new haircuts and posts about people doing kind things and someone winning an award for being awesome I actually cheer and show the pictures and statuses to my husband. Call me a little sappy or a little nutty, but I like seeing good things happen to good people. I like seeing the way they are devoted to their families and how the extra effort they are putting into their work is finally paying off. I like to see them going on spectacular and exotic vacations.

Facebook Highlight Reel
Portrait in Alcohol Inks – Work In Progress

I’m not saying Facebook doesn’t depress me because it does. Just for very different reasons than the researchers are suggesting. When I see the same article, five times in five minutes, about a couple who let their baby starve to death in his crib it makes me sad and angry and outraged. When I see people posting racist memes or really mean-spirited, untrue political attacks on our politicians I feel a little agitated. When I see people being mean and cruel or sometimes just plain ignorant…I feel a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I want to scream, “Do your research first!” or “Stop being such a bully!”

These are people I care about and they are saying things that are just terrible. It’s especially hard when it is a family member because for some reason that makes me feel even more sad. I think, wow, when did my family member get so mean? Or angry? Or bitter? I mean, sometimes on Facebook and other social media, you get to know a side of people you didn’t know existed. Or maybe just didn’t want to know existed. You find yourself worrying about people. You wonder about their mental health. You start to feel helpless or even a little hopeless about the world you live in. Sometimes what people post changes your opinion of them. Don’t even get me started on the people who like to rant and rave all day long. I’ve had to hide them from my feed. I can’t take that level of hostility for prolonged periods. That does depress me. It’s like being washed in a wave of negativity for hours at a time. That is not an enjoyable experience. Once I started figuring out how to hide posts from my Facebook feed I found myself having way more fun on Facebook. I mean, who wants to pop on Facebook and see someone screaming about how they wished the U.S. would have public hangings before you’ve even had breakfast? That’s not how I want to start my day. I’d rather wake up to posts about kittens. Let me work up to murder, politics, and people who want to set other people on fire after I have had my coffee.

I really get overwhelmed by sadness when I see people getting attacked in comment sections too. This happens daily. People are so rude sometimes. If they aren’t calling people names they are mocking them. You start to wonder what happened to having manners or polite disagreements or treating your friends, well, like friends.  What ever happened to formulating well thought out arguments? Do people even know how to do that anymore? Or not agreeing with everything someone says or believes, but still respecting them or loving them anyway? On Facebook it’s so often one angry mob yelling at another angry mob. I think social media has replaced pitchforks and torches. Witnessing that on a daily basis can be kind of depressing. You start to realize how cruel the average person can be and that makes you lose faith in humanity.

What restores my faith in humanity? Your Facebook highlight reel. So please, show me your kindergartener’s first day of school and the picture you took with Justin Bateman. Brag about the concert you went to last night or about how you spent Thanksgiving feeding the homeless. Share stories about men stopping other men from harassing women and stories about dogs adopting orphaned kittens. I want to see your son grow up and get a full scholarship to college. I want to see you get your first book published. I want to know when your daughter’s volleyball team won the state championship. I want to see all of those good things. Every single one of them. Your Facebook highlight reel does not depress me. On the contrary, it’s the only reason I am on Facebook at all!


14 thoughts on “Facebook Highlight Reel Does Not Depress Me”

  1. Facebook doesn’t make me sad, but… I can see how it could make a person depressed.

    One time, when Brian’s mom was really sick, she went on Facebook and saw everyone being so happy, and she turned it off with disgust. She wanted to be happy for them, but she wanted more to be enjoying HER life. I can’t imagine what that would be like.

    1. I think about that all the time. I have actually not posted things because I thought my silly thought might annoy or sadden someone I knew was in pain. I am sorry Facebook made your MIL feel bad. I can’t imagine what that would be like either.

  2. Hi Lillian,

    I subscribe to your blog- I found it a while back when looking up “how to be a 50’s housewife,” and subscribed to it because 1. In a past life I was an artist (have a bfa in painting), and although I haven’t painted in forever, I find your blog delightful and inspiring for the fact of it’s openness, your willingness to try new things, and your great attitude…I’m even setting a goal for myself to start making things again because of YOU!

    I just wanted to say that your post today really brightened my day. I think that it is epidemic in our culture to compare our lives to those around us and to get “depressed” or “angry” when we don’t feel we “measure up.” People seem more concerned about comparing their own journey to the journey of others that they miss out on the joy that is present in their own lives. It seems so rare that you find a person who really can share in the joy of someone else….I love that these movies brighten your day. I feel exactly the same way. Celebrate life! That’s what it’s all about…the adventure/journey.

    Have a wonderful day!

  3. YES! I love this! If it’s someone I really enjoy (say, YOU, for example) I cannot get enough of their good news and happy times. Even their food photos. Bring it on, I will bask in the glow of your joy! (If I get the “ugh, stop bragging and being a fakey fakerson” feeling, I hide that person’s feed. No sense in getting riled when there is happy to be had!)

    1. I know what you mean! If people share some of their vulnerable moments along with the highlights it makes you happier to see those good things happening. It feels like you know them better, doesn’t it?

  4. Hey, there, Lillian! It’s been a while. But I’m glad I stopped by, because I <3 this post.

    A friend of mine commented that her movie was depressing. It was full of photos of her son who has been battling brain cancer for a couple of years, and is now in remission. Lots of pics of him, lots of words of support from friends, lots of virtual hugs. I replied that it was about a fighter and his kick-ass mom. And with a simple shift of perspective, she changed her mind.

    Most things in life can be uplifting or depressing, depending on our perspective. I, for one, choose to see my glass as half full.

    1. You are such a good friend to point out your friends strengths like that. Sometimes that is all we need to shift our perspective. I know other people have made me feel like my glass is half full instead of half empty with just a few kind words. It takes some practice to find the positive in things, but once you start looking for it I think it gets easier.

  5. bravo and true. we need to be proud of the little moments because to us, they are big. big enough to share. big enough to celebrate! loved this!! xo

  6. I admit that right now in my life it is hard seeing so much positivity. Dang it. I want to be happy right now too! My circumstances are tough at the moment and it’s even harder when you see your friends happy and thriving. Meanwhile, I’m over here trying not to have a nervous fucking breakdown. I love my friends and family, but for just one day post one thing that sucks so I know I’m not alone. Ha. One day I’ll be happy again!

    1. I totally get what you are saying. I am always sharing my imperfections and messy life along with the good stuff. It helps me feel less alone to do that too. I hope things start looking up for you. I also hope you have some Facebook friends that are more “real” in how they share their lives. So many times the messy, imperfections are where we relate the most. Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective.

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