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The Facebook IllusionHow Facebook postings distort the image of daily life
Jung Sung-hee  |
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승인 2013.10.09  16:27:43
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리

A GIRL dresses up and puts on full make-up. Usually she wears a worn-out training suit at home, but today is a special day for her. She has an appointment at a restaurant with a friend she has not met for a long time. The restaurant is full of people who want a special day with families, lovers or friends. After waiting for an hour, the girls are guided to a vacant seat. When she is about to devour the cuisine, her friend cries, “Wait!” Why would she stop her? Oh, right. She puts down her fork and knife, grooms her hair, holds a cellphone camera and says ‘cheese’. In the picture, two glamorous ladies are beaming with expensive cuisine in front of them. She posts the photo on Facebook, and together they enjoy their night out.
Likewise, Facebook has become a way to express our lives and thoughts. By posting pictures and comments about what we have done today, we document our daily lives. Moments worthy of recording, such as a happy moment with a friend as above, are posted on Facebook. Going through these descriptions, however, makes many of us feel gloomy and even frustrated about our own daily lives sometimes. While we stay home scratching our legs and watching boring TV programs, other friends post pictures and diaries on exciting events such as nights out with friends and lovers, as well as internships, travels abroad, and club activities. It can be depressing for many of us ‘everyday people’ to see such dynamic events always happening in other people’s lives. It seems that while everyone else is living a life full of excitement, our own lives are dull and boring.
However, do not let the Facebook illusion trick you. What we consider as the daily lives of others is, taken together, an illusion created by Facebook postings; the moments documented are extraordinary moments for others as well. Think about the case above. If the girl spent an ordinary day wearing a worn-out training suit with no make-up at home without doing anything special, it is very unlikely that she would post her day on Facebook. Facebook is where people post items they want to show others. In many cases, it is to affirm that one is special. Everybody has a desire to be special and to be recognized by others. What we choose to post on Facebook reflects such desires.
When we log-on to Facebook, we can see what other Facebook friends have posted in a list. Every day, we see hundreds of postings about how special our friends’ lives were that day – from the delicious food they ate to the people they met. Each posting along these lines depicts a particular moment that goes beyond the ordinary. However, when we see all these postings together, we picture them as the usual daily lives of others. The ceaseless postings deceive people that special events always happen to other people. This is the illusion that Facebook provides - created when we forget that all Facebook postings are fragments of each person’s life.

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Daily lives are all the same: boring, dull and peaceful. It is only because our daily lives are so common and mundane that we are able to treasure the special moments. Facebook postings are a reflection of how we treasure these extraordinary moments. The next time you read your friends’ Facebook postings, instead of getting depressed by comparing your life to others, pay attention to how others treasure their special moments. Celebrate their happiness and see how they truly appreciate valuable moments. Then, who knows? Your special moment may come sooner than you think.

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