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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
I always knew this day would come, the day I would have to come out of the closet and officially announce that I am a Grumpy Old Woman and that in some ways I fervently dislike social media! There, it’s out now for all to see and in some cases no doubt, condemn me.
Over the last few years I have become less and less enamoured with Facebook and the like because of how public it makes everyone’s lives, how influential it is and the effect it can have on others. Recently, The Telegraph published an article discussing “Facebragging”, a term I wasn’t familiar with, and how it is fuelling a small percentage of divorces. The article has certainly added fuel to the burning embers of my disgruntlement with the way that social media can have a negative effect on users’ lives.
Apparently when you ‘Facebrag’ you send out information and photos across social media to suggest you are ‘living the dream’, your life is perfect, your body is perfect, your relationship is perfect, your partner is perfect – you, in fact are perfect! The next step is, apparently, that those who view this information and imagery believe the implied message of perfection, which then leads them to reflect on their own lives, relationships etc. and by comparison they find them lacking.
For some ardent Face-bookers or Tweeters viewing over-glamourised pictures and information of other people’s lives can sew the seeds of discontent as they consider their own life, including their relationship. Are we all so insecure that we have to constantly check how other people are conducting themselves and compare that with our own experiences? Are we so naïve that we assume the snapshot or ‘one liner’ people choose to publicise on Facebook reflects the whole of their lives? I don’t like to think so but the lawyers who are quoted in the newspaper article certainly do. Some say as many as one in five clients they see now have unrealistic expectations of relationships and that these expectations are partly based on what they see on Facebook.
So should I be blaming social media for ruining or at least impacting on people’s lives in a negative way or is it just down to how people choose to perceive all the stuff that they see on Facebook? In the main I guess people want to share positive things over the internet and the recipients of this information need to do a reality check on what they are seeing. They should realise that just because the ‘Face-booker’ is keen to share some positives about their life, there are still likely be plenty of other aspects that are not so perfect!
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