The faces of facebook


Someone asked me the other day, why everyone puts on a happy face on Facebook. She, a counselling psychologist wanted to know why more clients, peers and colleagues aren’t more authentic on Facbook with ‘friends’.

The answer I believe, is that of course we should all maintain true relationships and seek to be as straightforward as possible. However Facebook personal and Facebook business is full of acquaintances, colleagues and many more. The clue is in the name – Facebook. By nature and personality, your facebook profile is the expression that you show to the world. A face and only a face, not a 3D living confidante. That’s why many people choose carefully the aspects of their face that they want to show in a virtual format and keep darker emotions to share in authentic situations  – in person or through voice or a personal letter, where subtle details can be portrayed and perceived. Not because we’re all trying to make out life is beautiful all their time, but because we’re showing a public ‘face’.


Bad news travels fast

Of course bad news travels fast and tragedy will always drive traffic, but is that the face that you want to show? If you’re a disaster or gossip website, then the answer is yes. If you’re an ethical business or individual, then you probably want to appear more balanced.



Don’t get mean, get Facebook

Text and images on facebook appear for moments and generally work best as short statements. Responses are called ‘comments’ i.e. brief, pithy replies. That’s why short and sweet works well on social media. If you want to unleash misery or anger, I would advise phone, talk or write to someone in private. Most companies will have a strategy to get you off air as quickly as possible, if you start kicking off  on their company page. Sometimes that can work in your favour, if you’ve been badly treated by a company. But on the whole, Facebook is a stage. Why strip your emotions naked on this public platform? Yes your friends and acquaintances are here, but everyone’s in drinks party mode. We’re mainly exchanging banter. All in the name of ‘social’ media.

Just as you probably wouldn’t go into high detail of resentments and woes at a social gathering, Facebook is generally not the right time or place because it won’t do your feelings or your target’s reactions justice. It’s light, social and chatty.

If you want to go deeper, reach out to a friend for a meaningful discussion where you both have time and the inclination to listen properly and help each other. Don’t hold it against Facebook or others for not plunging into woes in comments. It’s simply one long social party, where friends can be made, encountered, revisited and topics of interest shared in little bursts of conversation. If you want to talk, write a message in pm, letter, phone, text or even talk or person, but I would guard carefully against sharing your innermost on Facebook and advise others to do the same. Interested in discussing this more? Get in touch

The faces of facebook