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Why Facebook Is Stressing You Out 227

Hugh Pickens writes "Megan Garber reports that the more friends you have on Facebook — or, perhaps more accurately, the more 'friends' you have on Facebook — the more stressed you're likely to be about actually having them. The wider your Facebook network, the more likely it is that something you say or do on the site will end up offending one of that network's members. The stress comes from the kind of personal versioning that is common in analog life — the fact that you (probably) behave slightly differently when you're with your mom than you do when you're with your boss, or with your boyfriend, or with your dentist. A study of over 300 Facebook users found that on average people are Facebook friends with seven different social circles. The most common group was friends who were known from offline environments (97 percent added them as friends online), followed by extended family (81 percent), siblings (80 percent), friends of friends (69 percent), and colleagues (65 percent). Those are, in the sociological sense, very different groups — groups that carry different (and unspoken-because-obvious) behavioral expectations. Per the study's survey, 'adding employers or parents resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety.'"
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Why Facebook Is Stressing You Out

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  • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @06:36PM (#42123609)
    This makes a ton of sense. There is a natural urge to share the things you care about deeply. Whether you are passionate about the environment, religion's role in society, or a particular conflict - you are bound to have friends who disagree with you. Sometimes passionately. At the same time there is a palpable pressure not to be political on Facebook. So when you (or a friend) posts something polarizing, the attention it gets (or doesn't get) can really stress you out.

    Its a shame, especially since political discourse is so very essential to a healthy society - that social sites like Facebook make it even more stressful than it already can be.
  • Parents? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lanforod ( 1344011 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @06:39PM (#42123649)
    When my parents added me as friends, my facebook usage dropped from 2-3 hrs/wk to 10 minutes/wk. Actually lessened my anxiety and freed up my time!
  • by fullback ( 968784 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @08:07PM (#42124673)

    "There is a natural urge to share the things you care about deeply."
    Who says? Do you have any proof of this natural urge?

    "Its a shame, especially since political discourse is so very essential to a healthy society."
    Who says? Do you have any proof of this? The U.S. is obsessed with political discourse to the point of being a dysfunctional society.

  • by gmack ( 197796 ) <gmackNO@SPAMinnerfire.net> on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @08:17PM (#42124757) Homepage Journal

    The people who aggravate me the most are the ones who assume that being on "the wrong side" is evil, stupid or backward. Not just one side either and they are easy to spot by the way they spout off about "right wingers" , "repugnicans", "CONservatives" or the opposite site: "liberals", "LIEberals", "communists" etc. In general an extreme view from the wingnuts on both sides that fail to understand that it's possible for two people to both be honest people who love their country while having differing views on how that's done.

    Each side has valid points and restricting one's life exclusively to one side without considering the alternative is a recipe for disaster.

  • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @11:01PM (#42126125) Journal
    I only counted five in the summary. Heres the full list of the 7 Circles of Facebook Hell:

    1. Friends who were known from offline environments
    2. Extended family
    3. Siblings
    4. Friends of friends
    5. Colleagues
    6. Corporations like Zynga you've given access to your data (unwittingly or otherwise)
    7. Corporations Facebook has given access to your data
  • by baboo_jackal ( 1021741 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @12:12AM (#42126511)
    I'm in the same boat. I'm pro-choice, and I don't care about marriage one way or the other (really, I think adults should just be left to make whatever contracts they want with each other). I want the US to have the strongest military in the world (I served in it), but I don't think we need to truck it all over the place, fighting other people's fights. I think we should help poor people, but I think that our definition of "poor" is not precise and our implementation is faulty, so we end up spending hundreds of billions on the wrong people - I think we spent close to a trillion dollars in 2011 on means-tested benefits - while some people are still having to skip meals. I firmly believe we can do a better job helping the truly needy, while spending a lot less.

    I want us to be fiscally responsible - maybe deficit spending works to stimulate the economy, and maybe it doesn't; I lean towards the opinion that economic activity is a chaotically complex system and we're kidding ourselves if we think we know with certainty what levers to pull, and what the second and third-order effects will be. But no matter what, at some point we have to pay back this massive chunk of debt, and we can't ignore it and hope that "growth" will save us. I could go on... .

    Maybe it's that we all feel the need to defend the party we vote for, and to tear down the opposition (whether it's just one party, or multiple). To paraphrase Tyler Durden, you are not the party you voted for. Maybe we all just need to step back and form some opinions of our own that may or may not perfectly align with a particular ideology or party platform.
  • by gmack ( 197796 ) <gmackNO@SPAMinnerfire.net> on Thursday November 29, 2012 @04:40AM (#42127605) Homepage Journal

    So true. I'm very complicated with my views. I'm a fiscal centrist, personal conservative but a social libertarian.

    Translated: I think the government should balance its budget but still have enough revenue to cover things like health care and social assistance for people who fall on hard times but nudge people out of the social assistance nest (don't pay people to be high school dropouts for the rest of their lives). For my personal life I'm conservative but I don't see where that gets me the right to tell anyone else how to live theirs so drink, smoke, snort, inject whatever you want and marry who you want(as long as your honest about it) but don't expect me to join you and I'm fine with it.

    The upshot is that I know a few people who agree with me but the vast majority of people on both sides get pissed off at me a lot although it has led to some amusing incidents involving people being shocked that I'm not going to preach at them about their lifestyles.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!