Being ignored on Facebook is psychological hell

Researchers in Australia believe that those who don't get immediate feedback on social media suffer from a lack of belonging and a general despair. Well, of course.

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We are nothing without being liked. Tadashi Mori/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If you can be honest with me just one time, today is the day.

You don't really go onto Facebook to see how everyone else is, do you? You go there to get something crucial to your well-being.

You post something not because you want to inform, but because you hope someone will offer love. Preferably at least 10 people. It's even better when they don't just click the "like" button, but they also comment with an expression of praise or envy.

But what happens when you get ignored? Are you hurt? Do you fume? Do you begin to feel that your position in life is slipping faster than a luge on ice?

If you do, you are merely the new normal. For research by the University of Queensland's School of Psychology in Australia shows that being ignored on Facebook is perhaps the worse thing that can happen to a human being. Well, almost.

As Science Daily reports, the researchers tried two studies to gauge human suffering on social networks.

In one, they simply had half the group posting on Facebook and the other half lurking, observing, itching to post. After just two days, the latter group struggled to like themselves at all, believing they were but grains of sand in golf course bunkers.

Naturally, I paraphrase slightly, but not so much as to ignore the essential truth.

In the second study, the researchers offered participants full Facebook freedom. "Post away!" they cried. "Comment away! Be your real Facebook selves! Which is your real selves!"

Clearly this was joy for the guinea piglets. However, half were unaware that their computers were set up not to receive any responses, approbations, likes or even acknowledgements of their existence.

This latter half were said to feel "invisible," as well as excluded and less important than those who had enjoyed virtual pats on their backs, behinds and who knows where else.

This is the beauty that Facebook's creators may not have originally understood but now profit from freely.

Once you've taken your place inside the virtual circle, you have to constantly participate, for fear of being shunned.

You have to keep liking your lover's every post. You have to befriend everyone you know and even those you don't. You have to keep your profile active and your numbers up.

Otherwise, you're ostracized. And no one likes that.

 

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