Why Facebook raises my blood pressure?

I've been wondering what is it about Facebook that makes my blood boil. Is it the people or is it something about Facebook? I know I'm not the only one either. Recently a friend took off from Facebook completely and another one almost never posts anything there. The both of them aren't some sort of a rarity. There are many of those who hardly ever sign in and those who just decide to remove their Facebook profiles and live happily ever after. It's interesting though, I don't get as angry and depressed on Twitter. I've got a theory.

The way Facebook is structured it brings our narcissistic behaviour. On Facebook you don't get to see updates you want nor you get to see updates in chronological order. Updates are shown to you based on what you engaged with before and which updates are getting the most engagement. You can read more about this on my earlier post on how many people see your posts on Facebook. This way each post by other people (or brand representatives) become personal to you. On Twitter you can shrug off a post (unless you are narcissistic in general and think everything is about you) if they aren't addressed at you with @mention. On Facebook however everything is about you, you are the bad parent, the teacher of nightmares, the overweight one or that person who keeps sharing content others don't want to see. Similarly those others will take everything personally, whether it's a silly quiz you took or an article about homeopathy on a gossip magazine's site.

At the same time Facebook gives a false sense of control. You are in control of with who you engage and which brands you follow. Your actual control is very minute, unless you resort to blocking or unfollowing your friends and brands. And even then the friends can make the decision for you and unfriend or block you instead. Your profile is your personal space and everyone commenting your posts are crossing the line.

The narcissistic behaviour comes clear in comment conversations. When everything is about you it is you who is hurt. And when you are hurt you may hurt the person who's responsible of the original post you are commenting. Or at least you will expect them to apologize or admit that they are wrong (and you are right). Doing this you are most likely making them very angry and even more likely to be misguided yourself. You have forgot that something person posted on their own timeline is about them, not about you. Usually the conversation then becomes so tangled it cannot be resolved to make anyone happy any longer. Everyone will be in their own corner breathing fire and smoke, trying to write another hurtful comeback. It's the same situation as with cats on their turf wars. There's lots of hissing and moaning and the person who did invade the other person's territory doesn't know how to gracefully back off.

Of course there's another problem, which comes with the commenting and they way comments are structured. Since the comments on Facebook become part of a conversation it's easy to make a group attack on another person. When the attacking side seems to be majority the ones who would take the attacked person's side will think they would be squished in the process of helping out. Thus they either side with the attackers or at least try and scratch their back. This usually derails the conversation from it's original path even further and will madden the person whose personal space is invaded. At this point their post has been taken over by hostiles and it's out of control. The similar problem is with the forums, where each comment is part of a big discussion.

In case you ever end up in a hissing contest on Facebook I recommend to say sorry and moving on. This is the best way to calm down the person whose personal space you did invade and end the conversation that isn't proving to be very fruitful. Engaging in a hissing contest is not helping you and it's only making the original poster want to kill you painfully. They aren't learning anything, you aren't learning anything. As well they are being narcissistic and thinking their timeline is their turf as you are being narcissistic and thinking the post is somehow about or considering you. It's never about you.

Edit Dec 2017: At the time I wrote this, Twitter was constructed in a different way. These days, with Twitter (through the website and their official app) behaves very similarly as Facebook. Thus now I believe Twitter is as bad as Facebook in this.

Why Facebook raises my blood pressure? -- Mervi Emilia

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