Social media can be depressing as hell sometimes. Let’s look at what happens:
Common Scenario #1 – No one notices your updates
You post something on your wall and NO ONE responds to what you posted at all. Doesn’t matter how awesome or clever it is. Could be the cure for cancer, the secret to everlasting happiness, an offer to send everyone who comments $1 zillion dollars instantly with no strings attached.
No one clicks, pluses, likes, retweets. After about a day goes by with no reaction or feedback, you start thinking you’d be happy with someone writing the comment “this just made me vomit all over my shoes” because that would mean someone at least has acknowledged you exist.
Meanwhile, you notice someone who posts complete babble, like “♥♥♥♥ OMG! Glitter chapstick! ♥♥♥♥♥♥” or “Check out these awesome regurgitated SEO tips I totally just stole from some other internet guru!” and you’ll see it has 300 likes and about 52 comments.
Common Scenario #2 – Your comments totally get ignored:
Someone posts a question on their wall. “What’s your favorite color?” they ask.
You write “I love the color orange!” and maybe 1-2 other people chime in, they like red and blue. The person asking the question responds “I love red and blue too!”
You are notified that they commented, and then the other commenters start replying back and they have a whole conversation about red and blue but no one says anything about you liking the color orange.
In real life, we’d probably feel really awkward if you stood next to a group of people completely ignoring you and move on to someone else to talk to.
In social media, not only do you get that initial sad reaction of “geez, they didn’t even respond to my contribution to this discussion” – you also get about 10 notifications that you are being totally and completely ignored and left out.
Common Scenario #3 – You realize you have no friends or family:
On Google+ I have more complete strangers in my circles than I do friends and family combined. On Facebook, the ratio appears a little more balanced, but in reality, is not a whole lot better. In this scenario, let’s define a “real” friend as someone you talk to in person or on the phone and see in person at least 2-3 times a year. I think I only need one hand to count.
Common Scenario #4 – You Are Left Out of Cool Events:
You know Person A and Person B and consider them both friends of yours. Until Person A and Person B make all these plans on Facebook.
You know, Person A posts “Can’t wait to go scuba diving in Aruba with Person B later!” and Person B posts on their wall “Yay for scuba diving in Aruba with Person A!”
And you’re like, geez. I wasn’t invited. And I LOVE SCUBA DIVING! And they BOTH know that! I thought they were my friends!
Honestly, sometimes using social media makes me want to go sob uncontrollably in a closet somewhere. Silly untrue thoughts pop into your head: No one really likes me. I have no friends. My family doesn’t care about me. I will never fit in. I must suck at life. This is like being in middle school all over again.
Thankfully I know I am awesome (even if no one else believes that!) and love my kids and husband (who do not use social networking sites) – so there is no need to worry about me being depressed or being stressed out. I do not really cry in a corner anywhere. Why? Because I realize there is a big difference between what you see online and what you see offline.
Social media is not WYSIWYG! You don’t know what the people on the other side of the screen see and think.
I like to think your friends wouldn’t really ignore you if you were standing next to them in a conversation. They don’t mean to rub it in your face they are doing something awesome without you. It’s not that they didn’t want to read your updates, they just never saw it with all the other crap posted onto these networks every day.
It’s not that they don’t want to see you or don’t like you, there’s just a zillion other things happening instead.
It’s not that no one cares about you, it’s just that no one cares.