Is the World Addicted to Facebook? Part Two
For Kristy Huff and the hundreds of millions of users on Facebook, it’s redefined the way she communicates with her friends but for some people it’s the only way they do.”I have a couple of friends and we’ll just be sitting in the middle of lunch or something and they’re on Facebook. It’s like take a ten minute break,” she said.A recent study done by Stanford University says spending all your time browsing pictures and reading status updates, can actually make you feel like everyone else’s life is better than yours.Dr. David Prescott with Acadia Hospital in Bangor says what’s going on on-line is not what’s happening off-line.”You can see an image of somebody or see a picture or see a way they portray themselves that may not be totally accurate but youdon’t know that and all of a sudden it reinforces a belief that everyone has a better life than I do, and if you’re not really careful that becomes your reality,” he said.It’s a reality that’s documented by users who constantly update their statuses throughout the day.”I don’t need to know when you’re dying your hair or when you’re buying new shoes,” says Huff.Unlike the real world, where things happen and become a distant memory, whatever is typed on facebook never goes away. it’s tucked away ininternet history, but can easily be found with the click of a mouse.”One small negative message or one small positive message can really stay with you for a long time much longer than it would be one sentence in a five minute long conversation,” said Dr. Prescott.What goes on in the Facebook world is seen by everyone.When you break up with your significant other or have a fallout with a friend, everyone knows about it.Dr. Prescott says the veil of anonymity is often the driving force that compels people to type and push enter.”Before, people would kind of gradually drift apart or they might make sure they did’t run into each other but now it’s almost like it’s become much more personal maybe much more attacking,” he said.The constant interaction through Facebook is not as black and white as the spoken word. The conversations that take place online are oftenmore gray.Facebook may have created strides in the world of communication, but Dr. Prescott says it can never replace the power of a face to face connection.”There is no substitute for a person to person interaction. As good as Facebook is, we’ve never found anything that replaces the human contact and I think a balanced life would include both.”If Facebook were to shut down today, Kristy Huff says life would still go on something she hopes others will remember.”It would be different but because Facebook is such a big part of social life today I think after a while it would just kind of be like it’s gone and people would find another way to communicate.”As social media continues to grow, it’s only a matter of time before Facebook addicts seek support and more cases will emerge.But the real question is where will these Facebook addicts look for help? Will it be online or in person?