Who Needs CNN When There's Facebook?
Color me baffled. Some of my friends gave up Facebook for Lent.
Facebook! For Lent. I would never do that.
First, I don't do Lenten deprivation. I was an adult before I even knew what Lent was.
If I did decide to give up something for Lent, though, it wouldn't be my primary news source.
CNN, Fox News, The New York Times. Keep 'em. When I want the news that -matters, I hit Facebook.
There I learn see which friends' pets are celebrating birthdays. I will see which high school friends can still pull off wearing a bikini - very few of the cheerleaders can, bless their hearts.
I will get minute-by-minute updates on the Grammys, the Super Bowl, the Oscars and everything else I don't care enough about to watch myself.
I will even learn about real news. It was on Facebook that I found out about Pope Benedict's -resignation and that LeAnn Rimes got bangs.
When I joined Facebook a few years ago, I was tickled pink at the new world that opened up to me. Suddenly, people from different parts of my life were together in one place.
Through the miracle of social media, I can stay in touch with friends, colleagues and acquaintances I would like to know better.
And I can do it without even picking up the phone! I'm not a big fan of the telephone. I think I reached my phone quota when I was a teenager.
With all these benefits, it's no wonder that my frequent visits to Facebook make me all warm and fuzzy.
Surprisingly - to me, anyway - Facebook doesn't do that for everybody.
A couple of German universities recently joined up to study the effects of Facebook on people's moods. From their study, we learn two things.
First is that at least one country in the European Union still has money to burn. Second is that about one-third of Facebook users feel bad after browsing Facebook.
Subjects reported feeling lonely, frustrated and angry after reading friends' status updates. Why? Because everyone else -sounded like they had perfect lives.
Hello-o-o. Of COURSE everyone on Facebook sounds happy. You think people are going to post the worst bits of their lives for all the world to see? Well, come to think of it, some people do. But those are the ones you unfriend and hope they find counseling or Xanax post-haste.
Think of Facebook as a movie trailer. The producers pick the best parts of their movie to show you. They make the preview so good that people can't wait to see it. But oh, the -disappointment that follows! The movie that was LOL hilarious in the preview stinks to high heaven.
Same with Facebook. That friend who -posted a picture of herself smiling rapturously in her husband's arms during a vacation to the Greek Isles doesn't write this caption: "Moments later, Jeff and I argued over where to eat dinner. Things escalated, and we didn't speak to each other for the rest of our -vacation. Good times."
There's that friend who posted the picture of her and her daughter making Valentine people out of a deck of cards. Using only the hearts, of course, they glued on little googly eyes, pipe cleaner arms and legs and a -miniature Valentine. A miniature Valentine. Because the Ace of Hearts' feelings will be hurt if she doesn't have her own Valentine's Day card.
You think that overachieving friend is going to tell her Facebook friends the number of times she cussed during this heartwarming craft? Nope. She'll post the Rockwellian -picture, and we'll all click "Like" and refrain from asking her how much coffee she drinks each day in order to maintain this level of energy.
Take Facebook with a grain of salt and know that behind every enthusiastic status update is a mountain of trouble equal to yours. And try not to be depressed when sad news travels your way via Facebook.
Why, it was just this week that I had to engage in retail therapy over the news that Alyssa Milano's dog passed away. If only Facebook could tell me where to send Alyssa's flowers.
I suppose even my beloved Facebook has its limits.
Contact Melanie Coughlin at coughlin@ embarqmail.com.
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