What type of person are you? Are you the kind who hikes to the top of the Andes, pauses for a moment, and takes it all in? Or are you the type who hikes to the top of the Andes and takes out your phone to immediately post a photo to Facebook or Instagram -- not to say "look how beautiful it is up here" but to say "look what I'm doing right now"? If you're the latter, you're weird. And that's not me saying that, it's a study. New research shows that people who are constantly posting photos to Facebook have issues maintaining relationships in real life.
Wow, this is surprising. Said no one ever.
Research from three British universities has concluded that Facebook users who feel the need to post photos of anything and everything they're doing have trouble enjoying relationships -- romantic or platonic -- in the non-virtual world. The study, called Tagger's Delight, stated: "Increased frequency of sharing photographs of the self, regardless of the type of target sharing the photographs, is related to a decrease in intimacy."
While I certainly enjoy seeing photos of people's children and their vacations and the green smoothies they just whipped up on Instagram (I'm no longer on Facebook), I can't help but wonder what's going through someone's head when they post something that seems sort of intimate to social media. Something that seems like they would derive much more pleasure from if they selfishly kept it for themselves instead of sharing it with people they have no real relationship with. A beautiful sunset; a serene hike in the woods; the birth -- like, actual birth -- of their child. As Rosemary Cross asked: Nihilo Sanctum Estne?
Let's be honest here. When you feel the need to post everything online, it's because you're looking for validation. We all do it from time to time if we're involved with social media, myself included. When I post a photo of something, yes, it's because I want to share it with "friends", but also, I want likes. A photo with nary a like or comment in sight can be a sad thing. But letting it take precedence over your real life is even sadder. And of course it would affect real life friendships. Who would want to be friends with someone who was more concerned with Facebook than them?
Not to get all heady here, but listen: We're all gonna die. And when when we're lying in our death beds, what would be a fonder memory: Sitting on a cliff, taking in an incredibly beautiful sunset with a person we love? Or the number of likes we got on a photo of a beautiful sunset?
Do you know anyone who posts non-stop to Facebook?
Image via NKHmarketing/Flickr