Bad Manners And Facebook Envy
Accidents happen. But manners? That’s up to you.
My husband and I were enjoying a post-movie dinner at an Ala Moana restaurant. We had just received food, water and drinks and were digging in when it happened. The women at the table across from us got up to leave. One of them picked up two big bags, stepped into the aisle, moved next to us and turned, swinging her bags around.
Smash! Glasses, plates, utensils and condiment bottles crashed and scattered. Water, beer and Coke pooled dramatically in plates, soaked into sandwiches, dripped into laps and made a lake on the floor. It was a spectacular mess.
Two seconds of shocked silence, and then the woman muttered, “Uh, sorry,” and ran away. Poof, she was gone.
We got up and signaled for wait staff. People around us started reacting – “Wow, are you guys OK?” “I can’t believe she ran away.” “Did she say anything?”
Yes, we were OK. Wet, but fine. And like everyone else, we could not believe the reaction of the woman. Who runs away from a (mini) disaster of your own making?
Here’s the very least I would have done: made sure my “victims” were OK; offered to pay for dry cleaning; waited until staff had everything under control.
What would you have done?
Something on Facebook caught my interest recently. It was an article on Reuters with the intriguing headline: “Latest social media malady: Facebook envy.”
According to the article, researchers from two German universities conducted a study and found that, “Witnessing friends’ vacations, love lives and work successes on Facebook can cause envy and trigger feelings of misery and loneliness.”
According to researchers from Humboldt University and Darmstadt’s Technical University, vacation pictures were most likely to trigger resentment and envy, followed by social interactions such as birthday greetings and the number of “likes’ and comments a person receives. These feelings of envy can cause depression and dissatisfaction with their own lives. Some people react by boasting and exaggerating in their own posts about their accomplishments, looks and popularity.
I was initially leery of Facebook mainly because of privacy concerns. I’ve come to appreciate it, just as I appreciate Twitter and other means of connecting on the Internet. It’s fun. As a recovering news junkie, I love that you get real information before all the traditional outlets – including TV, print and traditional news websites.
It can foster creativity and can expose you to things that amuse, amaze and educate you. It’s a good way to connect with people who are currently in your life and reacquaint you with people who have been in your life. It can open up your world.
Unless it becomes your world. That, I believe, is where the danger lies.
I have a good friend who has said he thinks Facebook actually interferes with relationships because it becomes a crutch and a substitute for the real thing. He’s got a point.
But there’s the flip side: I’ve fostered real connections with people who were peripheral before we “friended” each other on Facebook.
I’m that person who posts pictures of my vacations, my cat and what I’ve had for dinner. I also dabble in politics, social issues and things that amaze me, frustrate me or tickle my funny bone.
The sharing is the point. If I start counting “likes” or feeling depressed about my virtual popularity, that’s when it’s time to quit.