Facebook, the “spiral of envy,” and our Botox Life

spiral of envy

By Mark Schaefer

Like most people (60 percent, in fact) I often wake up with Facebook.  I scroll through my little world and see the lives of people I do not know very well unfold before my eyes.

My Facebook universe is not filled with cat pictures, endless self-help quotes, and photos so grossly over photo-shopped that they look like they came from a Tolkein fantasy.  All those folks have been unfriended by now. I have taken control of my social media experience, so my stream is brimming with exceptional, inspiring people.

And the daily narrative of their lives is profoundly intimidating.

The “scroll” is filled with impossibly cute children, sunsets at the beach, inspiring life achievements, perfect gourmet dinners, and insightful witticisms that make me go “wow” or literally laugh out loud.

And even though I recognize that Facebook is simply a human highlight reel, for a moment … just for a moment … this thought creeped into my head: “My life cannot possibly compete with this.”

Turns out, I’m not alone.

Facebook Envy Prevails

In a new report, German university researchers have shown that feeling jealous about Facebook friends is commonplace and leads to a vicious “envy spiral.”

I was amazed to read that more than one-third of their respondents reported predominantly negative feelings such as frustration and anger when they read their Facebook news feed. The researchers identified that Facebook Envy is caused from observing “copious amounts of positive news” from seemingly successful friends they otherwise would not be able to obtain without Facebook.  This fosters persistent social comparison that provokes chronic jealousy.

Researchers also established a correlation between the envy that arises from reading Facebook posts and a user’s general life satisfaction. In other words, seeing the human highlight reel each day not only provokes feelings of envy, but makes people think less of the value of their own lives.

The jealousy experienced from reading other people’s posts was also shown to frequently lead to users embellishing their own Facebook profiles, which, in turn, provokes envy among other users, a phenomenon that the researchers have termed the Facebook “envy spiral.”

A two-edged sword

I think there is another implication of this research.

Last week was an amazing experience for me.  I entertained a crowd of 1,200 IBM executives with a speech and workshop. My book Return On Influence was named  “essential” and one of the “books of the year” by the American Library Association. I learned The Tao of Twitter was being translated into Russian. And I was honored to present to a prestigious EU policy think tank in Dublin.

But as I chronicled my adventures through my social stream, I thought to myself: “People are going to think I am such a jerk. All I did this week was  post about me, me, me.”  Even though I was having a big week, I felt that I needed to edit and tone down the conversation about my life because I did not want to provoke envy in people.

I know this might sound irrational, and that the prevailing smart advice is, ‘just be yourself, you can’t change other people.” But part of the problem is, we are NOT ourselves on Facebook.  We are a shiny, super-smart, beautiful edited self. Facebook is our Botox Life. And that is the source code for one-third of the world feeling less about themselves when they compare their lives to their friends. I do think about that. I feel sad for that.

What is the answer?

There is no answer.  Human nature is the ultimate mega-trend. We’re not going to change that any time soon.

I think we can only be aware of our own emotions, fight to stay centered, and choose carefully how to react. Every time I enter Shinyville, I try to remember that for every Facebook photo of a child hugging their dad, there is another image of the dad cleaning up the kid’s puke that we don’t see. For every romantic picture of a couple walking on the beach, there is a fight over family finances that we don’t see. And for every “victory post,” there are ten times as many defeats, disappointments, and bouts with self-doubt.

I hope you like my shiny self.  But it IS a shiny self.  The real wonder of the social web is the opportunity to also get to meet folks in real life and connect to them in a deeper way that transcends the superficial stuff.

So thankfully, this is the end of the “me” part. What about you? Have you ever been in a freefall of Facebook Envy?

SXSW 2016 3Mark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world.  Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon. 

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  • I’ve been thinking of this particular phenomenon as the Jones Factor, so I think we’re in synch here; I often see posts from others such as “WANT” and “I gotta have that” more than I care to mention. (Though I suppose it’s good business for the makers of the things we jones for.) Yet I’m also inclined to think of this Facebook Envy syndrome in a reverse manner: that people will go in hock just to tease others into “jonesing” about them – the term “materialistic narcissist” comes all too often to mind. It can take a fair amount of personal strength to overlook others’ “look at me!” predilections while we’re seeking more honest dialog.

    Just the same, I’m happy to read the victory posts if it means I don’t have to read 10x as many downers. But like you, I would sooner not share the self-aggrandizing post if it means I’ll be perceived as a jerk. As with most other ills we dream up for ourselves with social media, we all need to regularly remind ourselves that we can always just put the damned thing down and go take a walk, get some fresh air, and reconnect with our neighbors rather than attempt to keep up with them.

  • I read about this study a while ago and it amazed me how commonplace the enviousness is.

    On the other hand, for a curious mind it also provides an interesting glimpse into the lives people would like to live. Sometimes you can’t but feel compassion for them, especially if you know them more personally and contrast reality with their online image.

  • No, I don’t do envy. Jealousy might be one of the most debilitating emotions I know. A useless waste of energy.
    I love positive news.., I love (and “like”) positive things happening to people, no matter what. I will always support a friend no matter what, be happy for them. And if they feel down.., well.., then we’re there too.

    I was surprised to read the results of the study, but I maybe shouldn’t have been.
    Jealousy stems from uncertainty and self doubt or even unhappiness. I do know what it looks like, maybe that’s why I tend to avoid it so passionately.

    And while we’re on the subject.., I also believe the higher a persons “enviousness” the more Botoxed their on-line life will be.
    Sure, I post nice things, positive things.., but not all the time, sometimes I seek compassion (and find it too). I try to keep it real (it’s also easier to manage)…

    One more thing, then I’ll stop.., I believe you are more real than most people, Mark. And when you have a good and successful week.., you are more than in your right to share it with the group. You’ve worked amazingly hard for it and long time supporters know and respect this.

    Me, I’m not jealous, why would I be. I just get inspired by it.

  • I like to believe (but can’t be 100% sure) that once you know me on-line, you know me off-line. There won’t be much difference. The one thing might be that I tend think a bit more about a reply (or a comment) than I would in a conversation… so they tend to be a bit deeper 🙂

  • tianakai

    Great point Kimmo. Normally, if I see close friends posting things I give them major kudos on their accomplishments. I think it is healthy to cheer your friends on.
    If there are some people I prefer not to see every move of their lives on FB I just hide them from my wall without causing any commotion.

  • Agreed, Facebook is a place where a lot of people portray the person they ‘want to be’ to others. A photo of a nice location etc can be achieved by anyone that goes on a holiday from time to time, but viewing it makes you jealous. The catch is that if people continually posted their troubles and sad news (which some do) you would feel depressed when reading their updates and probably remove their regular updates from your feed.

    Facebook would be a very boring place if only the normal activities that people get up to were posted. That’s what annoys me about Foursquare updates, I don’t really care if you are at the local supermarket buying potatoes or if you are at Starbucks for the 20th weekend in a row! It’s a forum for people to share exciting news that they hope will make them look good in the eyes of their ‘friends’.

    No-one likes a boring book or film – it’s the same for social media, your marketing your personal brand, whether consciously or subconsciously.

    Great article 🙂

  • Compassion … always a good thing. : ) Thanks for the great comment Kimmo!

  • A sound strategy.

  • Very interesting observation. We certainly see that happen in the “real world” and probably exacerbated when primping in public! Thanks Russ.

  • Good to see you are solidly in the two-thirds of those who don’t get jealous Rogier! Still, I am aware of the tendency in others and adjust, whether that is healthy, rational or not. If people read along on the blog, they will certainly discover my faults as well, won;t they? : )

  • Nope, but then I’m barely present on Facebook 🙂
    In some ways Twitter and LinkedIn suit me better than Shinyville. When you’re having a really great week it’s probably healthier to call one relative who will be genuinely thrilled so whatever you end up sharing on Facebook after that is not over the top, in your face “look at me I’ve such a great life”-ish. Or you can rethink things like you did and tone it all down a bit.

  • Really superb points. There is definitely an entertainment factor, isn’t there? Haven’t really thought about it quite that way so I learned something from you today. Thanks!

  • MaureenMonte

    Interesting post… and as one of those lucky IBMers who got to hear you speak and meet you, I detected no “Look at me! Look at me!” about you. As some who coaches leaders (who by nature are driven to be successful and often survey the success landscape carefully examining the competition), the strategic error most folks make is an attempt to be like the Top Dog on horizon. Big mistake. At best, you will be a 2nd rate version of the Top Dog. At worst, you’ll be a god-awful resemblance there of (a visual fingernails screeching across the chalkboard which is most unattractive). The “best leaders” explore their heart, mind, and soul to discover the first rate leader within, and be MORE OF THAT. In my mind, Mark, that’s the path you have chosen. It’s filled with it’s own joys and sorrows, toys and burdens, and a unique, authentic future to behold. Ditto for everyone one of us reading this. The benefit to us who get to read about you is that your awesomeness is inspirational and supportive. I don’t want what you have, I want to learn from you to have my best success in my own way. So you are a fabulous, playful, and effective sign post, my friend, not a destination. Onward!

  • Well said Mark and I share the concern that FB often seems like a self inflated brag board. Many of those who’s ego is on display daily have been weeded from my stream. I self edit my own news as you but also believe that true friends and associates (online & off) want to celebrate our victories. Sometimes Lady Luck, efforts of our hard work roll together and all the stars line up, there is no reason not to humbly share.

  • Hmmm. This is a very interesting post. I was unaware of the German study, but I will definitely click the link and educate myself. I am not inclined to be jealous of what I see my friends, acquaintances and relatives post on Facebook. In fact, I see a lot of frustration creeping in between the gourmet dinners. Perhaps it is how I have accumulated Facebook “friends”. They are predominantly people whose warts I have already seen IRL. Now, for me Google plus is another story. My circles are filled with folks I barely know–met on Twitter, enjoy their life’s work, want to be able to see more than Twitter affords. So I have kept Facebook quite personal, and allowed ALL my other social media streams to include the highly successful, engaged people who I already envied before I added them to my circles. But what I have not considered is whether anyone would be envious of my Facebook posts. True, I only post my most gorgeous photos, the most remarkable things my grandkids do, and provide a litany of my travels, speaking engagements, etc. Because I thought that is what people WANT to see on Facebook. Thanks for making me think about this. I never want to come off as seriously tooting my own horn, but maybe that’s what I have been doing. I will have to reflect on more than the sunset over the water I am about to post, and seriously consider the potential effect my post might have on others reading my posts.

    As usual, Mark, thanks for your insight and your ability to teach me stuff about myself.

  • Judy

    Hmmm. I was wondering why I can’t get into Facebook. Maybe I’m jealous! I enjoy Christmas newsletters once a year, but Facebook is like getting a Christmas newsletter five times a day!

  • I love that analogy!!

  • Princessgeek

    Absolutely. Hit a personal wall late 2012 and found that reading FB made me either want to slap someone, or far worse, added so much to my feelings of depression and lousy self worth that I totally dropped off Facebook for my own health and well being. And I was an avid Facebook user, with posts that folks often told me were inspirational, mainly because I often shared my struggles to deal with my own “dirty laundry.”.
    I literally could not read about other’s success, and the constant barrage of “just believe your way into happiness” quotes were killing my soul. I completely checked out of the cyber world for some time (& I worked in this area a bit) for over 2months.

    Sadly, even though I was clearly no longer active on FB, I got many “hey what’s up” messages…..on FB. Only 3 friends reached out by phone or email to check in. Apparently, FB had become the only real world for them.

    Now I get my media fix from twitter. It’s more on my terms, less drama, and far less possibility for becoming involved so deeply.

    I really saw how facebook has become a documented factor in depression and suicide, particularly in teens.

    Thanks for this fantastic, honest, and much needed post

  • Facebook certainly satisfies the most gluttonous of voyeuristic appetites!
    I’m not afraid to admit that I look over posts and feel this incredible envy at someone’s amazing holiday pictures or covet their latest decadent purchase.

    BUT I also have a reality check and realise that Facebook is a SLICE of life – yes many publish their warts and all stories but many keep it more upbeat and feed the machine what it needs to thrive and boost their online profile.

  • You write a lot of posts (over a thousand I understand :), some of them are bound to be personal in nature. They do tend to help in getting to know you, faults and all… (the balance is in your favour though, hence the {grow} community).
    Still, I guess some delicacy might be required, simply because of the size of your audience (which you also wrote a post about).

  • I do try to let the personal side shine through, for better or for worse. That’s the only way to be original at the end of the day!

  • The platforms do have different personalities, don;t they? Good food for thought!

  • Well said on that point about not trying to be a copy. I can’t think of an example where that has worked. I went through my own stumbles as I started to blog until I discovered that important point. And I will probably have to re-learn it again some day!! Thanks for the superb (and very kind) comment Maureen!

  • “Humbly share” is a good key phrase isn’t it? of course you never know how it is going to land on somebody : )

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom Randy.

  • A long time ago I wrote an exasperated post declaring that I really had no idea how I was showing up. People were making such wild assumptions about me. Last week a regular {grow} reader declared she was surprised when I posted something funny. She thought it was “uncharacterstic.” I think I have a good sense of humor but it is not showing up for this person. Oh well. The learning continues for both of us!!

  • What a wonderful gift. Thanks for that ever so human comment! I have a post coming out next week on this whole “believe your way to happiness” crap. You’re going to love it. : )

  • There is an element of gamesmanship isn’t there? Interesting perspective Ameena. The romanticized life as a life calling. I’m sure it is happening. There is a whole world of little Kardashians out there : )

  • larawellman

    I definitely see this but I also see the reverse – people who complain too much on Facebook and talk about the hard and the bad constantly. It’s often like a stream of extremes.
    I admit I present a mostly shiny version of myself too though 🙂

  • Provocative as always, Mark, and one that really requires a careful response.

    It calls to mind the question of “presentation of self.” We frequently hear that the online world is a form of escapism and that we construct ideal selves there, but studies have shown that we don’t mask ourselves very effectively, even when we try (e.g., http://readwrite.com/2012/01/11/study_your_facebook_personality_is_the_real_you). To that extent, I would disagree that we’re not ourselves on Facebook. I always imagine Helen Keller — she effectively had to communicate through codes, with almost none of what we think of as “talking” to help her, but did that make her communication any less “her”? And others have noted that a telephone is a “virtual reality,” and yet we continue to think of it as more “real” than email or Facebooking.

    That said, it does seem social media allow us to concentrate various social phenomena, catalog them, more easily than we’ve done in the past. Sites can algorithmically call our attention to certain aspects of our friends’ lives in ways that we might not have “naturally” (Pinterest, e.g., in particular seems built around this concept), and we keep searchable records now of our interactions to potentially replay and study.

    For myself, I’ve actually always liked Facebook, built as it is on (at least somewhat verified) one-to-one connections for the very reason that it seems to mirror my real world better than almost any other network (and this is why I’ve given up just about all the rest). My Facebook friends are my “real” connections in a way that no other network has come close to.

    It’s like the discussions around the suicides of the past several years of people with prominent online personas. They may have been somewhat different in “real” life, but at the same time, my own experience with suicides is that they’re hiding things from people online and off.

    And so, it would seem, and I would suspect, that these are social phenomena that occur regardless of medium. That is to say, I’d suspect that we’re just seeing (more effectively than ever before, thanks to the technology) the same peer pressures and social norming that we’ve always had.

    What I absolutely agree with is the call to be “realer” in all our communications. It’s an art that few achieve, and you are one of them. It takes real skill — and courage — to reveal a vulnerability in a professional environment. And to me, that’s the really transformative power of social media … that it really does restore communication to being an actual two-way process … that it’s harder to create facades anymore.

    On a personal note, this is why I recently deleted my LinkedIn account, one of my longest-running and most ostensibly “successful” chunks of my life. The picture it created of me was no longer accurate, and it had become something of a crutch that was holding me back from where I’m headed next. It’s a process I’ve gone through with my friends, and that step with LinkedIn was part of it. Now, I could have left it, but for how long? Would it have “held”? I suppose I could have maintained a fiction, but I’m not sure how different it would have been from doing that in real life. And anyone who really knew me would have known that wasn’t me anymore. Aren’t we making those judgments all the time about how to present ourselves?

    In any case, I also agree that we live in a more status-obsessed time than perhaps any time in history. And that is indeed a major cultural problem.

    Anyway, Mark, I thank you as always. Though there’s perhaps always further to go for anyone in this regard, you are nevertheless a leader in trying to bypass the superficial. And therein lies a flip side to this equation: people feeling that they can never be “shiny” lest others think it’s a front. Which would be a real shame as well.

    Great post, great discussion. Thanks again.

  • Thank you for such an honest assessment of your experience with depression & Facebook. I experienced something similar myself a few years ago. My wall was the combination of ‘close to zero’ sales, low cash flow, hospital bills coming in the mail, husband out of work, savings account so low we thanked God the bank didn’t charge a monthly fee, and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.

    At first I got my emotional fix from FB, but when I reached out for actual help from “friends” on FB, I got no responses. I got platitudes, but no effort to call me or even long messages of support.

    I went offline for a while – for me it was about a month or so – and started telephoning some real friends. Got into some terrific conversations, got the emotional support I needed, husband was always connected offline so he was in good shape, and within a few months was on the upside of hitting the wall.

    My media fix includes FB with emotional detachment and keeping up with the kids in the family, Twitter for sharing content and connecting with like minded folks, LinkedIn for business development, and blogs for learning.

  • Mark, as your readers have gotten to know you here on your blog and on Facebook, I doubt that anyone actually reviews your posts with jealousy or anger. To me, you don’t seem to be “that guy.”

    Still, it seems that sharing what’s going on in our lives can change the way other people feel about themselves – for the good or bad. On the surface, this problem is easily solved. 1. Along with the pics of the steaks you’re eating and the trips you’re on, share a trial and tribulation or two. After all, no matter how flying we are, each of us has highs and lows. Being truly honest with everyone (via Facebook) means you keynoted to 1,000 one day and felt a little down the next. 2. Show a little humility every once in awhile. For instance, if you’re helping a charity, explain how helping the charity makes you feel humbled, gives you perspective on the struggles of others, etc. Don’t say, “Just wrapped up 8 hours of volunteering.”

    A person’s public or private reaction to, say, a week-long working trip you took to Ireland says more about them than you.

  • Well, speaking as a Jones (never considered myself a factor however), keeping up with me is very easy, particularly now that age has slowed me down so much. And I would point out that “Mrs Jones” was as often the lady using the wrong floor wax as she was the one to keep up with. Or something like that. LOL!

    Oh well, I found this very eye opening. I guess I’m also old enough to realize how much energy it takes to feel envy. O.O

    I like your image of bringing your “shiny self” to the party. It reminds me of a time when this young gal from my church told me that my life must be so easy because I smiled all the time. I told her my life would put her in the fetal position in a closet somewhere. LOL I tend to bring my shiny self out in public, too. But I was also raised in WY where we didn’t toot our own horns, so promoting myself has been very challenging for me.

    (And I love the grumpy cat. He makes me smile. Grin But man, I hate those game requests. If I wanted to farm, I’d live on one.)

  • Ohhhh!!!! I wouldn’t say envy, but definitely irritation. A couple of years ago it was so prevalent in my stream that some of us coined the term “barfshiners,” i.e. these are the posts/people who are so “shiny and happy” all the time they make me/us want to barf. It made for a terrific couple of blog posts. 😉

    It also made me stop and ask myself if that’s what I was showing on FB. I *think* what I post there is a pretty good approximation of who I am offline, because I don’t always post happy, shiny stuff – geez, there are some days I don’t even say “Good morning!” because it just isn’t (in a first world problem kind of way).

    I’m trying to just ignore the overly shiny posts and, if they become very irritating, them just hide them from my stream. And also try to see what is behind it… is there, perhaps, really just a very sad person who needs to post this kind of stuff to make him/herself feel better? After all, I don’t know the TRUE reality of so many people who I’m Facebook friends with, right?

    I did a couple minutes Zazen today (my first time with the practice). It was interesting. And we’ll see if it helps me be more zen overall!

  • I’m not sure how to write THIS answer without it being all me me me 😀

    Anyway, I’ve been quite open in the digital space following a recent tragedy in my life.

    One of the things that has come out of this are all these stories people have shared with me from their personal lives. Both people I previously knew little about as well as people I have know for years, if not decades.

    And it hit me (quite hard) how people tweet, facebook, share, instagram to make their lives look better. They.. we… all post to make us look fun, clever, better than we are, than our lives are.

    And that’s fine. That’s human nature. We do it face to face as well. But digital gives us a surface where we quite easily can project an image which is far from the truth (almost like the Photoshopped models on fashion magazines).

    The problem starts when we run in to trouble. Our friends have such an elevated view on us that we really have no route back to just have a chat as friends about something bad in our lives.

    Several people I’ve been in contact with have literally build such a high digital wall of pretence that they have become completely isolated even from people they meet face-to-face and I have a few (fortunately not too many) rather shocking stories from people I thought I knew well.

  • Great angle. I have not thought about this, but funnily enough I see this more from people my age (35+) than from young people I am connected with 16-20s) – Maybe it’s a legacy thing from our parents arguing about whose grass is the prettiest 🙂

  • Imelda Dulcich

    I don’t spend my time worrying about Fabulous Facebook Posts. Ultimately we’re all telling stories of our lives – no rules state the stories have to be fiction or non-fiction. No one has a life that is sparkly, shiny and happy all the time, but if someone wants to post as though it is – I’m okay with that. It’s interesting to watch the effort it takes. But, I’ll always be drawn to those who also post the stories of sadnesses and difficulties in their journey. Makes for a much more interesting read.

  • I think this happens way more often than we care to admit. I was talking to a friend the other day and she was going to have to turn down a trip because she is saving to buy a house. But, she was afraid people wouldn’t understand because they see all of the fun things she does on Facebook. It’s interesting how much what we share on Facebook impacts our lives.

    You’re right – Facebook is often a very shiny version of our real selves and doesn’t tell the full story. I’m a very positive person, so I make it a point not to drag people down or share when I’m in a bad mood or having a tough day. That said, I think we can also paint way too rosy a picture. There’s no real answer, but I think it’s about balance with what we share. And, we have to remember that we never truly know what’s going on behind the scenes in someone’s life. Oftentimes, as you mentioned, there are plenty of tough things going on that we don’t know about.

  • My daughter is on a school trip to Italy, and I’ve been posting photos of highlights of her locations. I like to share moments of triumph, but you are so right about needing to see the “behind the scenes” as well. Perhaps the envious think I’m made of money to send my daughter on such a trip, but most would not make the sacrifices required and empty a bank account the way I did. There’s always a backstory to every great life moment.

  • Sure like this post Mark! I learn from, and tend to avoid “a freefall of Facebook Envy” when I view my Facebook news page by accepting my feelings as I become aware of them. This helps me in letting go of my feelings before I act on them.

  • Thanks for sharing your story Charlene. I’m glad you’re on the way back.

  • Yes, see some of that too. I have to admit that it is hard to see a constant stream of negative, even when it is negative. I think fundamentally we engage with FB to escape, to waste some time. I’m guessing people generally wish to fill that time with fun? Maybe not?

  • Good advice here. But couple of thoughts. You and I have been connected for some time now but there are also thousands of others who make assumptions based on snippets. You would not believe the crap that comes my way! I get ANALYZED!

    So I am aware of what strangers or near-strangers might be taking away from things. In this strange world, there is always a churn of new followers.

    I do try to balance things out, but I am generally a positive person. I get stressed but never really down … but your point is well taken.

    Thanks for the insightful and wise comment Chris.

  • I was not raised in Wyoming but have a similar value around humility. It’s more than just conditioning though — I think it is a great way to be. How can you learn if you’re not listening? How can you listen over the sound of that horn your tooting? : )

  • Barfshiners, huh? May have to use that!!! Love that! See you soon at Social Slam!

  • You’re hitting a real hot button with me on this subject. I have seen “personas” get in the way of real lives in terrible ways, ways that have led to real tragedy. The energy required to keep up that facade is exhausting and eventually the people crumble. They are happy on the outside, dying on the inside … and the inside always wins eventually. Happy to have met you IRL and started to connect in a meaningful way Robert. I appreciate you!

  • A very healthy approach Imelda! Always a pleasure to hear from you!

  • Really makes you think. What IS Facebook, exactly?

    How much is it us on Facebook? How much is FB forming us? Kind of chilling to think about how this affected your friend. Wow. Thanks for sharing that Laura!

  • Very true Joe. A lot of hard work went int that highlight reel! Congratulations on this wonderful gift you have given your daughter. Quite a thing to be proud of as a parent!

  • Feel what you feel. Choose what you do.

    If everyone followed that direction I think everything would be OK : ) Thanks Dr. Rae!

  • My pleasure Mark!

    Totally agree with this caveat… “Choose what you do” proactively to be able live with the consequences.

  • I have not been able to get into facebook and part of the reasons early on was the constant flooding into my stream of useless information. I know that facebook has changed a few things over the past couple of years to make the discovery process more refined but in that meantime I have become more of a twitter fan. The character limitation combined with setting good filter of who to follow on Twitter has worked for me as a news and discovery source. Still, even twitter has a problem with noise and I constantly re-adjust my followers settings.

  • That is so true. I know I feel much more comfortable using my blog to soft promote my books and website. I know I like to have conversations, not sales pitches. And it let’s me at least keep a toe in my comfort zone. grin

  • I was thinking the very same thing recently. May I quote? “Facebook is our Botox Life”

  • AnjanBanerjee

    exactly, and that is precisely the reason my own facebook universe is filled with “endless self-help quotes, and photos so grossly over photo-shopped that they look like they came from a Tolkein fantasy” and joke pictures, and i skip reading the posts having “impossibly cute children, sunsets at the beach, inspiring life achievements, perfect gourmet dinners, and insightful witticisms”, to prevent myself from falling into the trap of the ‘look at me, look at me’ culture 🙂

  • agree. i’m with you on that! Thanks Abdallah.

  • sure. a meme is born : )

  • Thanks for adding to the discussion Anjan. Much appreciated.

  • Likewise 🙂

  • Mark, you had me at “puke.” This is another great post, but the comments are even better (hope you don’t mind me saying so). Word of the day: “barfshiner.”

  • Actually, Facebook makes me sad but in a completely different way now. I just see how lost a lot of my friends are but I know that Facebook isn’t the right venue for sharing a message of hope. That’s the problem with the digital divide – you can put on your Botox life and the interaction is also Botox’d as well. Time to get the phone out and call someone or invite them out to coffee – Face to Face style. I imagine there’s a revolution out there right now encouraging that even more!

  • And though I agree with this sentiment. I have to wonder if it is easier to not have a “look at me” persona when you already have a huge following. It is like the guys driving the Corvette the speed limit. When everyone knows you have what it takes, you no longer have to prove it.

  • Pingback: Facebook, the “spiral of envy,” and our Botox Life | In-Bound Marketer & Business Unbound | Scoop.it()

  • MaureenMonte

    Great point, Scott. I think motive is at the root of it. People who are Look at ME types are always that way, when they have a huge following and when they have no one. Many couldn’t exercise the restraint you so aptly described in the Corvette story (my brother and I just talked today about buying one… but we both love to drive.) Those who haven’t “arrived” rarely have anything to prove if they aren’t the “Look at me” types. Comfortable in their skin, they are less likely to demand attention, with our without success… (in my humble opinion.) If you’ve ever taken the Strengthsfinder, the folks with “Significance” as a strength really struggle when there is a spotlight around if it’s not focused on them. In short, I think each person is different… Do you mind “not being noticed?” I love both anonymity and being “misunderestimated.” 🙂

  • I really need to use that word more. And balderdash. Have got to slip that in somewhere. : )

  • Wow. That is a profound statement Jeff. Well done sir.

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  • The world needs to hear this real life philosophy Mark. Thank you for sharing.

    Of course I agree with you. Contentment is the Cinderella of true joy.

    However, fear can steal our joy and I find the success stories – professionally and personally of others inspiring.

    We cannot downplay triumph in fear of another’s envy. It’s more important to model the behaviors & inspire one another.

  • evansflemming

    very interesting observation.Its nice post.I like it.

  • Pingback: A freefall of Facebook Envy | hansvandergugten.nl()

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