Tag Archives: Facebook Sucks

Facebook Sucks: “reverse-schadenfreude”

Schadenfreude: enjoyment obtained from the trouble of others.

I’m going to make another word to describe a certain phenomenon on Facebook: reverse-schadenfreude.

Reverse-schadenfreude: self-loathing obtained from the success of others.

A bit about me first: I’m a white male in my 30s who lives in Rockford, Illinois. I have a single part-time job that nets me about $20,000 in a year. I’ve been there for 12 years. Everytime I try to work a second job and do the full-time job thing, I end up quitting. I sleep really late and my BMI is 28.6 meaning I’m officially overweight. I like to play video games and I write two shitty blogs. I have a family and some kids but that doesn’t redeem my view of myself: I’m by most measurements a loser.

You might be a loser too.

Think about your Facebook friends. I bet some aren’t as big of a loser as you are. And I bet some are downright successful. That’s my experience at least, and seeing as I’m as average as can be I assume everyone has Facebook friends that are successful. I have a few friends who are doctors. We went to high school together so it’s not like they’ve had a different life situation than I’ve had. They just went to school and are now doctors. I went to school and got an associate degree and work a job that doesn’t require a degree. Wow. I have some friends who live in warm climates. They somehow made enough money and had enough motivation to move where you’re not in danger of dying if the furnace goes out. Hell, I’m too insecure to feel comfortable shopping by myself. Some friends run faster than I do and some seem much more happy on the surface. They’re always smiling and posting pictures on Facebook! Some have bands and play music for real and some are paid photographers with their own businesses. Some couples I know actually get to go out on the weekends and enjoy themselves instead of being stuck at home with kids nonstop. So, naturally, I think of me sitting here at a dirty table typing on some shitty low-end laptop a blog post that about 5 people (maybe) will read I can’t help to think what did I do wrong? Did I really piss away 30 years of life and do nothing?

What’s stupid is this also works in reverse: by seeing other people with shitty lives you feel better about yourself. This is called schadenfreude and is only a cheap sort of goodness. You might feel better seeing that Cindy from High School is living in poverty because you sure aren’t and, wow, she must’ve really fucked up her life somehow! Or you see people dating total douchebags and realize (and laugh about) how stupid they must be. At least I’m happily married! Like I said, you feel better about yourself but it’s at someone else’s expense. It also takes a total narcissist to not be able to pivot this into how others see you, and then you end up thinking like the paragraph up above and loathing for your own life. Even if you do feel better and other people’s misfortunes, it probably isn’t healthy at all.

If you’re smart you’re probably seeing where I’m going with all of that and how we shouldn’t ever measure our worth based on others. I just think this is how people just are though. You might think you can hop on Facebook and not compare yourself to others but we’re social creatures that have a social hierarchy and I tend to think it’s instinctual to compare yourself to others. If you hop on Facebook and see others doing shitty, you’ll feel better about yourself. If you hop on Facebook and see others doing better than you, you’ll feel shitty. Since everyone is basically average, this will most likely cause you to be rather conflicted and moody because you don’t appear to be a clear winner or loser. Do you suck at life or are you awesome? Where are you on this social spectrum of failures and winners?

I think Facebook forces you into this mode of thinking and it’s bad from the start. You can’t see other people and not compare yourself to them. It’s just impossible or at the very least really hard to do. By not partaking in Facebook you skip over this problem all together. By not seeing people living their everyday lives and comparing yourself to them you save yourself the struggle of knowing if you’re better or worse than everyone else. If this information is gone, surprisingly, you just live your own life and do what you want to do. You stop trying to have a bigger social penis than everyone else and just live life.

I really think this is the worst aspect of Facebook by far. Sure you get an overdose of news and sure you spend time browsing and doing nothing, but the real harm comes from measuring yourself against everyone else. Your happiness is your own and no one else has any say in it. By comparing yourself to others they magically become part of how you measure your self-worth and usually ends up tearing it down: happiness, self-confidence, motivation, everything. You alone know who you are and what you like to do in life, so do it. Some jackass fucker on Facebook that you know from work has no bearing on this despite how “successful” you think he is. Facebook Sucks.


Disregarding the fact that this isn’t the real Bill Murray apparently (I researched it because I don’t want to spread bullshit), it’s a pretty accurate statement.

Facebook Sucks: Overexposure

We live in shitty times. If it hasn’t been obvious, I despise Donald Trump and the way the country is heading. Environmental rules are being ripped apart, multibillion dollar businesses somehow are getting tax cuts while everyone else is given pocket-change tax breaks, we seem to be on the verge of a nuclear war every few weeks, and you can’t go a month without hearing that another school has been shot up and that the NRA lobbied as hard as can be to stop anything from being done about it. Russian’s are running rampant on social media while no one cares and our international imagine is faltering. It almost feels that America is falling apart.

Some people have a problem with watching too much news and news programs don’t do shit to “fix” the problem because if the world is shit and they hype things up they get better ratings and more money from advertisements. It’s a shitty system where the news is rewarded by sensationalizing everything and making everything breaking news. What’s actually nice about the news is that it’s linear though; they can only talk about a single news story at one time. And like you might be aware, they usually drag it out for hours and hours by having “experts” give their opinions. The world is shit, but you might only be aware of one single aspect of it that is shit. When Florida was getting shot up people forgot about whatever new Trump scandal was happening. It’s linear and you get one shitty aspect of the world at one time.

How about Facebook or other social media? You already know how it is. Depending on what you like and follow you might see a myriad of bullshit as you mindlessly scroll down the page. Kids are getting shot, the NRA throws money to not fix the problem, lawmakers don’t care, and teachers will have guns. Or, conversely, illegal immigrants get better treatment than veterans, the media is shitting all over Trump unfairly, and the democrats are pushing the Russia deal to shit on Trump. Also liberals stopped the pledge of allegiance because of tears. It doesn’t matter what you believe because you’re still going to be convinced that the world is going to hell. Everyone knows the world is going to shit.

I can’t get on Facebook and not feel shitty simply because I become aware of not a few bad things, but all of them. Whereas TV news focuses on single stories forever, when you scroll Facebook you see about ten or twenty problems with the world. This also happens every time you check the damn thing. You don’t even have to read the stories because the headlines are shitty enough. Even if you click the link and read the story there are still more clickbait news stories at the bottom of the page to tempt you!

Coupled with the feeling that the world is going instantly to hell is the feeling of helplessness that is involved with seeing the news. Everyone wants to help solve the problems facing America or the world, but what can the single person on Facebook do? Nothing. Say it again. Nothing. You can’t do a damn thing. Most people try sharing links or joining groups and discussing complaining about the issues but you’re either insulting those with opposing views or circle-jerking your worldview with others that share the same outlook. Think about it: has a person sharing anything on Facebook really changed your opinion? Has someone sharing a gun control post really changed the mind of a hardcore second amendment bastard? Has the opposite ever happened? Not that I’m aware of and it seems near impossible. Yet we keep sharing thinking that we’re doing something to fix the world. Because doing something is better than nothing, RIGHT?

Facebook gives you the idea that the world is terrible and that you can’t do anything to change it. And even if you are trying to change it no one is listening to you. You feel like shit, but listen. Shut your computer, phone, or whatever else you dose up on drama with and go outside. Look around. I see trees, houses, dead but soon to be alive grass and the occasional squirrel. Sometimes a loud jackass on a motorcycle drives down the road but other than that the world is rather quiet and peaceful. I don’t see kids shooting each other with guns and I don’t see animals going extinct. The shittiest thing I see is that Mountain Dew bottle someone tossed by our mailbox. The world is shit, but it’s shit in a way that doesn’t personally affect you much. Outside and the world doesn’t seem too bad really.

I’m not saying to ignore the problems because the world does have some serious problems. I’m just saying not to let them consume you and sacrifice the quality of your life. Climate change is a problem but shitposting on Facebook isn’t going to help it. Stop driving your car as much or ride your bike but don’t worry about it in an unhealthy way. How about guns? You really can’t do shit about that so don’t even try. Just go outside and do whatever the fuck you like to do. Go run, or bike ride, or whatever. Facebook Sucks because it magnifies the problems in the world in a forum that makes change and discussion nearly impossible. You feel shitty and helpless. This doesn’t help anyone or anything. Taking a break from Facebook might make you feel happier about the world and your place in it. Give it a shot. Because Facebook Sucks.

Edit: It was during writing this I found a New York Times article about a dude who, being upset and depressed with Donald Trump’s win, decided to keep himself ignorant about all political matters. It’s an interesting read and touches on some of the same points I did here in regards to Facebook.

Facebook Sucks: A Time Sink

This one is rather easy to get out of the way and is also the most trivial reason why Facebook Sucks. Facebook appears to be rather addictive and if you’re like me you check it more often than you should. I’ll check Facebook, close the tab on my browser, and then check it again five minutes later. Obviously in this short timeframe nothing has changed yet I scroll through for a bit before closing the tab. I’m sure others do the same with the app (which for some reason I still don’t use).

It’s even stupider if I’m at work or sitting at home bored. Then I check Facebook just to do something. I might even have other plans: clean the cat litter, work on a blog post or short story, or play a video game. But if I’m not quite motivated enough to do those things I’ll inevitably get my phone out and dick around on Facebook doing absolutely nothing. Instead of being productive I’ll dilly-dally on there because it’s entertaining and it makes me feel like I’m doing something. And everyone thinks that doing something is always better than doing nothing right?

There’s a lot of time that goes into randomly checking Facebook. You might spend five or ten minutes at time on Facebook which doesn’t seem like a lot but you know these things add up. Six ten-minute periods adds up to be a damn hour: an hour where you’ve done nothing but look at shitty Facebook posts. Subtracting sleep and whatever else we do we only have about 16 hours a day (at most) to actually do stuff and one of those hours is going to checking Facebook? That Sucks. What about all of the other shit you could’ve been doing? Isn’t there anything more worthwhile than checking Facebook? When you’re dying are you going to be like “I wish I browsed Facebook more.”?

That’s a best case scenario too. I wouldn’t be surprised if people spend more time than that on Facebook a day. Hell, you can count all the time spent on messenger talking to people about nothing in particular and that would add some time. Actually clicking articles and reading them or commenting shitposting also wastes time. I wouldn’t doubt that some people spend more than two hours a day on that shitty place.

So that’s my gripe; by being on Facebook you are stopping yourself from doing something else, whether it be cleaning, cooking, working on a hobby, playing with your kids, or reading. Ya know, things that make life actually worth living. The time we spend on Facebook and social media in general doesn’t seem very significant — if you’re on the toilet you can’t really do much besides Facebook unless you have a Nintendo Switch — but these times add up to something that might be significant. Facebook Sucks because you could be doing something else instead of flipping the screen upwards for hours a day. But that’s what millions of us choose to do.

Facebook Sucks: An Introduction

This will be shocking to you, but there was a time when Facebook didn’t exist. I remember this because I’m apparently old. I graduated high school in 2004 and there was no Facebook at the time. (Fun Fact: Apparently Facebook was created in early 2004 so there was a Facebook but it sure as hell wasn’t the massive beast we know currently.) A few years later this thing called MySpace was pretty damn popular and was basically a prehistoric version of Facebook. Eventually that place went the way of dinosaurs and phone books with Facebook becoming the de-facto social media website. Now everyone has a Facebook page. If you don’t you’re seen as a social outcast or something.

Another fun fact: before our hyper-connected world partially enabled by Facebook, life was actually enjoyable. You’d live your life and do the shit you wanted to do and you didn’t think once about “sharing” it with others. You might call your friends and family and let them know what was up but that was the extent of it. Currently, no matter what we do we keep our internet personas in the back of our minds ready to share anything remotely interesting (or not) we happen to do in life. Social media has a way of drilling itself into your subconscious and keeping itself ever present in your mind. It’s like a disgusting virus that wants you to get “likes” and appear cool.

This is obviously bad and I’ve been rebelling against Facebook periodically since I first created my personal page about 10 or 11 years ago. The current iteration has been around for about four or five years. It’s like my social life periodically undergoes mass extinction events where I just give up and disappear. In fact some of my old high school friends thought I had died because I’d just randomly leave the social media universe. What’s stupid is that I keep going back to Facebook and have to rebuild my friends list and that’s a pain. I’m imagining my friends think that I just delete them and re-add them not realizing I had nuked my account. It’s sad and it’s depressing but it’s simply what happens. So why do I periodically delete my Facebook accounts?

Since this occurs over and over I assume it’s a problem with either me or Facebook. I snap and delete my shit every few years and I’ve come to accept it. The last time I tried this was about 6 months ago. I was well into blogging and my “personal business” so I knew I couldn’t delete my personal page because then I’d lose all of my blog pages (including this one) so I just deactivated it. I guess I was realistic with myself and knew I’d be back so why should I cause myself more problems? I had narrowly escaped another social media collapse. I was right because I did eventually come back (and we always do…) and I kept Facebook in check for a few months. I wouldn’t check it as soon as I’d wake up and would stay logged out. I finally became in charge of my Facebook usage. For a bit that is.

So how was it? It was wonderful. I hate being overdramatic but my happiness immediately improved when I quit seeing everything on social media. It was such a tiny and simple change to my life that lead to some immense benefits in terms of well being. Even logging out and checking Facebook only once a day gave huge improvements. I can’t underestimate how much not being on social media has helped me even if I have relapsed in the past month. There seems to be a direct relation with how much time spend on Facebook and how miserable you are and seeing as I’ve “relapsed” I’ve been given a fresh perspective on why Facebook Sucks.

But why specifically does it Suck? I have a few ideas and I don’t think I’ll put them in this post simply because it’d be too long. I suppose that’s a good problem to have if you’re a blogger but no one likes reading a super long post. Think of this as an introduction. So far I’ve identifies three things (but maybe more!) that make Facebook shitty: it’s a time-sink that affects your productivity; overexposure to the news and helplessness to change anything will destroy your mood; and finally and most importantly there’s “reverse-schadenfreude” for lack of a better word. I’ll write and publish those posts and link them here in a day or so. Enjoy!