Social networking sites have literally millions members who post billions of statuses, photos, comments, and “likes” everyday. Many people have hundreds of “friends” that they do not know personally, or don’t regularly connect with directly along with the 150 individuals you might actually be real life friends with that the human brain can efficiently log social relationships with.  Every one of those posts can be viewed, depending on your privacy policy, by your friends, their friends, your friends’ friends, or anybody who has a Facebook. People who post want their opinions to be heard and validated by someone in their network of “friends”.

Teens are melodramatic by nature and often express their assumed anguish to their friends in any way possible.  Facebook is a new medium for channeling emotions, but unlike a personal journal or diary, Facebook “friends” can provide immediate feedback.  Not only can teens have these intense emotions and express them, but they can receive instant feedback from an audience that is now more vast than comprehension.  So it’s easy to say you really can’t read too deeply into anything, but we shouldn’t say that.

Although it is difficult to weed out the daily moody “fluff” from true cries for help from individuals in serious need of assistance, Facebook is a good place to learn things about people that, oddly enough, they might not reveal in person.  Some find it easier to pour their heart out to no one in particular and allow the cosmos to decide if anyone cares.  You don’t need to be a trained therapist or counselor to noticed that someone is seriously sad.

I have a personal connection with Facebook being a lifesaving tool.  A friend of mine (lets call her Lucy) was going through a rough patch in her life–nothing was going well for her and she expressed her anguish on Facebook regularly.  After friending our math teacher, Mr. Haines, he noticed how unhappy the young girl was and told Lucy’s parents.  Luckily, Lucy got help.  We all found out later that she had bought sleeping pills and was deliberating the ultimate decision.

Like I said, you don’t need to be a therapist to see that someone is sad.  If you’re worried about a friend or daughter, brother or student, talk to them.  Show some empathy and let them know that yes, the cosmos is responsive and people do care.  It’s called being a human being and I fully support it.

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