Don’t let Facebook make you depressed

Everyone – or almost everyone, it seems – is having fun on Facebook. They may not post all the time but they’re sure to post when they have pictures to share. And when is that? When they are on – or just back from – vacation. Or a party. Or some other good time.

Does it seem as though everyone you know on Facebook is having fun or on vacation?

Does it appear that they have much more fun in their lives than you?

Here’s the strange phenomenon about it: people usually post good things. Happy moments. Parties and vacations. And while it’s not possible that everyone is happy all the time – at least a lot more than you are – that’s just your perception.

Here’s how it works: you don’t see all your Facebook friends’ posts because Facebook uses an algorithm that tries to figure out what you want to see. If you have lots of friends, Facebook has the job of knowing that they all have updates but which do they serve to you? Which comes first? Which has priority?

If you like someone’s post, or talk to them, then Facebook’s formula looks at that activity and says “this person is important – show their updates first.” That’s why and how you start to see the same people over and over again. If you want to see someone else, do a search for them and like a few of their posts. This will shake up the algorithm (which is dynamic – changing all the time based on your actions) and you’ll see more of their posts. Try it!

The other way Facebook’s formula works is it counts how many people “like” or react to a post. If a lot of people react, Facebook weighs that post more heavily. So if 100 of your friends like or comment on a post, it’s going to be served up to people that you’re not really close to – because all that activity made it seem important – and weigh more – and Facebook sends it out to more people. Think if it as a snowball rolling downhill – the more momentum it has, the more it gets.

The upshot of all these algorithms and activities is this: your friend had a great time, posted photos, and got lots of likes and oohs and aahs. That activity fed it to more people, who did the same thing, which made it go to more people, etc. That’s how it works.

So it looks like everyone’s having fun – all the time.

And people get depressed when they compare their lives to others – especially on Facebook, where it seems like everyone (but you) is out having fun. The moral of this story? Stop comparing your life to everyone else’s…. and get off Facebook (especially on the weekends) so you can have your OWN good time!

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