So according to a recent study, the Internet is making us depressed.
While the scientists behind the study link depression to the amount of time spent in a virtual world, I have a few of my own theories as to why the Internet is making us all very, very sad.
1: Checking on the Ex. If you are about to say that you have never fallen prey to Facebooking our ex you’d better grab a fire extinguisher, because your pants are on fire. After a break-up, as detailed by Ted Mosby on “How I Met Your Mother,” there is a clear winner and a clear loser. And of course, you want your ex to be the loser. So you’ll casually click on his Facebook, just to see how he’s doing (i.e. hopefully read a bunch of depressing status updates regarding his horrible life since you guys broke up, maybe some encouraging wall posts from his friends trying in vain to get him out of his depression of knowing that there was no one else for him than you…) and what do you find? NEW PICTURES OF HIM AND SOME GIRL?! IT’S ONLY BEEN A WEEK! WHO IS THIS “JESSICA”??! You click through the entire album at least twice, only to find that this little witch is now apparently dating your vile ex, and (after a small amount of clicking) she’s just gorgeous and cool and perfect. <Insert depressing Status Update here.>
2: Online Shopping. You avoid the expensive stores in the mall because you know you can’t afford them, but there’s no avoiding that amazing Botkier bag or Louboutin pump that you happen to come across while absentmindedly surfing the web in lecture. And seeing it there, taunting you with its beauty, sends you into a deep fit of depression when you know you can’t afford it.
3: Hey, I’m Doing So Much Better Than You! Even though you know that Facebook trawling is just as harmful as it is helpful (if not more so), you still can’t stay away. So you see in your Newsfeed that one of your old classmates is putting up pictures from their trip abroad this summer. Oh it’s no big deal – they just spent a month in Paris in cafes and then trekked down to the coast of the Mediterranean and spent a couple of weeks on the beach. Oh and there another friend spent, like, two months surfing in Australia. And this friend over here just changed their work info; oh they’re just casually working at NYLON now…while you are currently in a snow covered dorm boiling water on the sly for oatmeal. Depression.
4: WHAT TIME IS IT?! You may think that the internet is just good for killing time between things that you’re doing, but what if those other activities become the things that you’re using to kill time between your Internet time? It starts with Facebook (everything starts with Facebook now); you’re just casually clicking around, “catching up” with friends and, suddenly, you happen to catch the time. “How is it possible that I’ve been on Facebook for an hour?” But then you feel the need to start catching up on shows you missed last night on Hulu, which shouldn’t take long since these shows are only about 20 minutes long. But then you happen to glance at the clock again and, “ARE YOU KIDDING? HOW DID I LOSE TWO MORE HOURS ON THIS NONSENSE?!” And now you’re depressed and anxious because all of this mindless clicking means you missed out on everything. Including writing that paper, which will now have you up all night.
5: What social interaction? Admit it: you’ve IMed someone in the same room as you. If that’s not depressing, I don’t know what is.