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Facebook and the implications for sad people

June 30, 2014

As you probably know by now, Facebook have been manipulating user’s newsfeeds in an effort to study and affect their moods

There are a whole load of hooks in this story, but one I haven’t seen so far is asking the question, if Facebook have been manipulating what people see in an effort to make them sad, might this be a precedent or excuse for them hiding sad people altogether?

I am a sad person. I struggle with anxiety and depression, and my body is limited in several ways that would make anyone sad to have to deal with. I draw great comfort and strength from the ways in which I engage with my friends over social media. I also like the fact that, although I am not around often in physical locations, and hardly ever bump into people by accident (all my interactions are planned), I can, through social media, spot if someone is having a rough time and offer them support.

This research proves that you can filter out the sad posts from people in your social group, but what does that do to the people making those posts? 

I wasn’t born yesterday. I know that there are times when the sadness of others is overwhelming. I know that, from inside my own body, there seems so little I can do to make things better, so it must be hard for others to read that too. I limit the posts I make regarding my disabilities for exactly that reason. I know that there are only so many times someone you haven’t managed to have a pint with in two years can say ‘That sucks’ to you over Facebook before they wonder if they even know the person they are offering sympathy to anymore.

Being sad sucks. Needing support from other people because you are so sad you can’t just pull yourself up sucks more. But asking for support and being met with silence because the platform you are using to do so has decided that it wants its users happy and spending money? That would suck the worst.

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3 Comments
  1. I didn’t even know this occurred, but I’m a bit disgusted. Mainly because that, while I too struggle with mental illness myself, I have a strong core support group. I know how hard it is for me to get myself out of bed, brush my hair and face the world, I can’t imagine doing it alone. Especially when your only form of friendship or interaction with other people is online. And then to have your only social outlet flooded with more negativity… It seems a little irresponsible to me. And it makes me realise I could be doing more in my god times to perhaps brighten the mood of others. Thanks for your post, and for making me think 🙂

  2. You are exactly right. I am in the same boat and I wonder how many of my friends really see my posts. I always seem to get responses from the same 8 or 10 people. Do the others not see what I’ve written or do they just not care. It is hard to know.

  3. It’s so difficult, isn’t it, because asking for help is one of the hardest things to do in the first place, and having some giant like Facebook try to make you feel guilty for being sad (which is often out of your control), and for telling the people in your life that you are sad (ie. asking for help), just increases the guilt that you have in the first place. I often feel guilty for being sad, that I don’t have good enough reasons to feel sad, and I’m sure a lot of people struggle with this. We don’t need Facebook to make us feel even worse!

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