Friday, May 18, 2018

The Pressure to Appear Happy Online Can Be Overwhelming

Image result for john piippo bangkok
I took this photo of a store in Bangkok

I am in research-and-put-thoughts-together mode for my book Technology and Spiritual Formation. (Jan. 2019?)

One of the resources I am using to understand technology and social media is The Happiness Effect: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost, by Donna Freitas (U. of Nore Dame; Hofstra U.). 

Social media mostly, I think, blocks formation into Christlikeness. In this way social media does not even allow us onto the playing field of the Romans 12 type of metamorphic growth.

Instead of the pursuit of God, social media gives us the pursuit of happiness. This is deep, endemic, and, as Freitas states, universal. She writes:

"The pressure to appear happy online can become overwhelming. Adolescents learn early how important it is to everyone around them that they polish their online profiles to promote their accomplishments, popularity, and general well-being. They practice this nearly constantly in their online lives and this has a tremendous effect on them—emotionally, in their relationships, and in their behavior on social media. For better or worse, students are becoming masters of appearing happy, at significant cost. This is what I’ve come to think of as the “happiness effect.” Simply put, because young people feel so pressured to post happy things on social media, most of what everyone sees on social media from their peers are happy things; as a result, they often feel inferior because they aren’t actually happy all the time." (Pp. 13-14)

It costs your authenticity to gain a fleeting appearance.