Think you’re the shit? If you spend a lot of time on Facebook, you are likely to be someone who thinks the world of yourself and spends a great deal of time admiring all of your, well, admirable qualities, according to a new study. But, not so fast, underneath that self-absorption, you may also lack the very self-confidence you pretend to exude.
The research done at York University in Canada looked at 100 college-aged students and examined their personal Facebook page while rating their narcissistic tendencies. The researchers found that individuals who are more self-centered and who have lower self-esteem were proven to check their Facebook page more often. They also tended to stay on their page longer and promote themselves more via status updates, photos, and links to other personal sites.
Interestingly enough, men were more focused on filling their egos by playing themselves up in their “About Me” section, while women were more concerned with posting the most flattering and perfect profile picture. All in an attempt to impress others and portray a certain image.
It’s things like this superficiality that make me want to rename Facebook to Fakebook.
Why do we, as women, feel the need to portray a certain personality via social media and pretend to the world that we are the perfect woman living the perfect life with the perfect man and the perfect career. “I married my best friend. I’m the luckiest girl in the world!” one “friend” posts the other day. “I am soooo happy and living the greatest life”, says another. “I just love my kids. They are the best,” writes a third. Others post a series of photos of, guess who, themselves–shots they obviously took of themselves all made up standing in front of the mirror. And some can’t help but feel the need to constantly brag: “Taught a rockin’ spinning class–my students love me!” Or, “Kept up with the boys on my 12-mile run today and beat them at the end.”
Not that I have anything at all against having a kick-ass workout, teaching a “rockin” spin class, feeling great about the way we look or being grateful for the wonderful people in our lives. I think that’s awesome. It’s when it becomes an obvious act or a facade that I want to log off. Like the woman who posted how “perfect” her kids are, then I see her 20 minutes later at the local pizza shop yelling at them like her head was spinning with pea soup coming out of it.
Here’s my plea to you, ladies: Please stop feeling the need for the world to only see you at your best. After all, don’t we tend to like someone better when she is “real”? Somehow seeing another woman’s flaws and imperfections makes us feel less like a crazy woman and more like someone who is normal and just dealing with the everyday curveballs life throws at us. Being around other women who are not afraid to expose their “realness”, their challenges and struggles can make us feel more validated about our own issues in our often over-stressed and less-than-perfect lives. It just makes us want to be their friend because they are believable and authentic.
Granted, there are plenty of people on Facebook who are also annoyingly whiny and “Debbie Downers”. It usually doesn’t take me long to hide them (along with those who feel compelled to post Farmville updates). But, isn’t there a happy medium?
For once, I’d love to see women post something like, “I’d rather watch HGTV than have sex tonight” or “Why do I keep stalking my ex?” Now that would be something worth logging on for.