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Anti-Social Media

If you Google the phrase "Facebook Depression," the query returns 283 million results*. Many of those results, including the very first one, are links to entire lists of articles dealing with the subject. Huffington Post alone boasts no less than fifteen stories on the subject. Not everyone agrees on the severity of social media's influence on depression and anxiety. In fact, has an article both for and against the idea. So, while the extent and influence of the issue is uncertain, it has clearly become a public concern.

Chopping Down the Social Ladder

I'm sure some of you have already seen this video. It has close to 2.5 million views on YouTube as I'm writing this, and it's also making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter. Still, I can't help but post it again. Words like "breathtaking" and "inspirational" just don't seem to cut it here. Watch it for yourself. I'll wait.

When I watch this video, the first thing that strikes me (after I pick up my jaw and the goosebumps fade) is that I don't know anyone who didn't feel this way in school, at least to some degree. It's not that I didn't see a social hierarchy when I was in school. What I mean is that I have yet to meet someone who, during his or her adolescence, believed that they were at the top of that hierarchy.

I've even met true narcissists, with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. From what they've told me of their experience during that time, they knew they were awesome, but they weren't convinced anyone else saw it. At that point in their lives, even the slightest off-hand criticism would cut them down. It didn't matter that they had self-confidence oozing out of their pores. No matter how much they may have loved themselves, they felt like everyone else only hated them more for it.

Now that we're adults, Facebook has reintroduced me to many of the people I thought were popular. I've come to find out that they had a very different impression. Some of my former classmates have even told me that they thought I was popular. (Are you laughing? I did.)

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