Is Facebook Just A Virtual Platform For Our Ego?
-by Alanna Ketler
Facebook is a great platform, but are we using it, or is it using us?
Are we using Facebook with intention and integrity? Are we being authentic and vulnerable on the platform?
In many ways, Facebook has served us, bringing people from all over the world together. It seems everyone is on Facebook and if they’re not, we’re usually shocked — Really? Wow, how do you even communicate, bro? We all know a few of these elusive people… But, how can I creep your profile and stalk you if you’re not even on Facebook?! Perhaps these people understand some of the darker sides of Facebook.
Without Facebook, there’s a chance I never would have found Collective Evolution online and then moved to Toronto in 2010 to join the team. It has served a powerful purpose for connecting like-minded individuals across the globe and bringing a wave of knowledge and truth to those who are seeking. However, as with basically everything else, this doesn’t come without a cost — as connecting as it can be in a virtual realm, it seems, in reality, many people are feeling more disconnected than ever before. So, why is this?
To the average user, Facebook provides a platform to share our successes, our accomplishments, our fun adventures and our beautiful pictures. But, what about the other side of life; the darker times, the challenges, the real and authentic vulnerability that helps to truly connect us and help us to see that we are not alone? That is where Facebook is lacking.
When we are scrolling through our newsfeed, and we are seeing how great everyone else’s life is — who’s travelling, who’s getting married, who’s having kids, who’s beautiful, who has bought a house etc. It may cause us to feel inadequate in our own lives, why does it seem like everyone else has the perfect life except for me? These are all thoughts I’m sure we have all thought to ourselves at some point or another.
But what we often don’t realize is that the people who we admire are often feeling the same thing as us when they are scrolling through their own newsfeed. It is so important to know that WE ALL FACE CHALLENGES, all of us. This is a natural part of life and ultimately; it’s what is pushing us in the direction to step fully into our purpose and potential.
The Addiction Factor Is Real
In the name of absolute transparency, I am guilty of this. Because a large portion of my job involves Facebook directly I catch myself mindlessly scrolling from time to time. Looking for that next interesting post to give me that quick hit of dopamine, stealing many precious moments away from my day.
When I post something and I hear that little “ding” a part of me is excited to see what it is, did someone “like” my post? Ooh, maybe someone even “loved” it, is there a comment? Says that little voice inside my head. Really, sometimes it leaves me questioning why I am even posting anything to begin with, is it because I authentically have something to share, or that I am bored and seeking some sort of validation or approval?
These thoughts triggered a conversation with a close friend about the idea that Facebook essentially serves as a virtual platform for our egos. In a sense our ego gets to live out this life with a little avatar and share only the most perfect moments, in some cases, the most beautiful and retouched photos, everything that we wish we were, everything that we feel that everyone else wants to see. When we do this however, we are ignoring a huge and important aspect of the shadow side and that is — ourselves.
This side of us is just as important as any other. By embracing this part of ourselves, not only are we able to step through this ‘darkness,’ but by being open and authentic with this facet of ourselves we can in turn, even if unknowingly assist others who may also be struggling.
Related CE Podcast: Ep #17: Who You Truly Are
Drama, Drama, Drama
Okay, so there’s a good chance that we all have a few of those friends who like to use Facebook as a platform to vent, about ex-partners, horrible jobs, hardships, and other drama. Maybe you see these posts and roll your eyes, maybe you can empathize with these words because you have been in a similar scenario, maybe you just love the drama. While there are no rules to this game, and we can use Facebook however you like, a good thing to ask yourself before posting is, how is this serving?
There is a difference between airing your dirty laundry on Facebook and sharing from your heart. The difference is the intention behind it. Do you wish to slander someone else, in order to make yourself feel better? Have you been going through a challenging time and have insight and awareness around the issue that you’d like to share? Are you seeking wisdom from your friends? There are really so many ways to use Facebook.
Anyone who knows me, knows that my life is essentially an open book. I am always willing to share, the good, the bad and the ugly and often I do so on Facebook as well. I do find that when my purpose is to simply share an experience, whether positive or negative, I receive a very heartfelt response. When I share about my challenges, I do so from a place of vulnerability, because I believe that there is tremendous power in being vulnerable.
Often I am overwhelmed with responses of so many people responding with deep appreciation because they too, have been experiencing a similar struggle or issue and, really, it feels damn good to know that we are all going through challenges. When we can allow ourselves to be fully vulnerable and express ourselves from the heart and to use Facebook as a platform to do so we can truly connect, from a place of compassion, empathy and understanding with one another. This takes away from the ego-fuelled attention game that so many of us are unwilling participants in and allows us to see that really, we aren’t so different after all.
Use ‘The Book’ With Intention
Yes, share your successes, and share your accomplishments but, I also challenge you to share the struggle of what brought you there, how did it happen, what roadblocks did you have to push through to get to where you are now? Speak from your heart and speak your truth. Don’t worry so much about what people might think to learn more about the real you, because chances are they will be able to relate in a way you never thought possible, and they may even be inspired, too. Before posting, anything really, ask yourself, what is your intention for posting it? This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share pictures from your travels, or your new hairdo, but ask yourself why is this important and see what comes up.
We are craving real connection more and more these days and longing for a sense of community. Facebook can serve in this way if this is how we choose to use it. Be mindful of your activity, and most importantly, don’t forget to actually get out and live your life and take a good old break from Facebook from time to time. Go out and do something without any intention of sharing it, do it for you – not to satisfy your ego!