Peer pressure is universal. Though it’s mostly considered a problem for teens, it plays a large part in the way that we interact as adults, as well. With the surge in popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, it’s also become a factor in our online behavior. Here are some of the ways that the people on your friends list are exposing you to peer pressure.
- To Join or Not to Join – These days, that really is the question. To millions of people, the idea of opting not to use Facebook is completely foreign. The moment it becomes clear that you don’t have an account, people in your life will start to extoll the virtues of Facebook in hopes that you’ll join up as well. This is only the beginning.
- Profile Picture Trends – Some trends have a vague connection to a charitable cause, like using a photo of your pet as a profile picture to raise awareness about animal cruelty. Others, like the Celebrity Doppleganger game, seem to have no real purpose. Regardless of the cause, not playing along will cause your inbox to be filled with messages from people who assume that you don’t know the game is happening because they can’t fathom the idea that you’ve chosen to ignore the trend.
- Virtual Games – Games like Farmville are capable of filling a huge chunk of your feed if more than one of your friends plays. They’ll give you cows and cupcakes, fully expecting you to return the favor with a snow globe or a piece of flair. Not cooperating will lead to awkwardness at family gatherings when your Aunt Thelma asks repeatedly if you got those things she gave you on Facebook.
- Things You Can “Like” vs. Things You Can’t – For many of us, the mixture of family, coworkers and bosses that you’ve been pressured to add (more on that later) means that we’re forced into self-censoring. Clicking that “like” button can be the cause of much grief, if the page is affiliated with politics, religion or low-brow humor.
- Supporting a Random Cause – These are usually passed through status updates. They open with a phrase to reference the cause itself, then devote the rest to mildly accusatory statements like, “ninety percent of people won’t re-post this. Copy and paste if you really want a cure for cancer!” The phrasing is designed to make you feel guilty for letting the cancer win by choosing not to change your status.
- Status Update Games – A distant relative of the Random Cause status update, the update game is a two-part system. First, you’re bombarded with messages that explain the rules, and asked not to explain them to others. You’re then expected to change your status to something completely inscrutable to those who aren’t in on the joke, and then laugh derisively when they ask for clarification. A specific example of this trend is the Bra Color game, which took Facebook by storm in early 2010.
- The Pressure to Share Too Much – With the well-publicized security issues in the Facebook model, it’s understandable to be hesitant about sharing things like your mobile number or posting pictures of your children. However, for every reasonably cautious user out there, there’s a friend or family member that insists they’re being paranoid.
- Adding Casual Acquaintances – All too often, you’ll receive add requests from people you barely knew in high school, very casual current acquaintances, or from your boss. The pressure to add old schoolmates and friends-of-friends can be steep, but adding your boss can feel like a requirement.
- Family on Your Friends List – This is the other side of the “Casual Acquaintance” coin. Getting a friend request from your parents or your great-aunt means that you can not avoid an awkward conversation. If you choose to accept the request, it’s almost necessary to explain that you may inadvertently say/post/like/share something that they don’t agree with or approve of. Not accepting the request means having to explain why, in a way that doesn’t cause hurt feelings, which can be nearly impossible.
- Event Invitations – The pressure to attend an event is exponentially increased when a friend sends you a Facebook invite. If you aren’t able to attend, clicking the “I will not be attending” link seems cold, so most of us opt for the “Maybe” button. Aside from making it impossible to plan for the hosts, it feels very much like the cop-out that it is.
Despite all of the pressure and silliness, there’s a reason that so many of us are Facebook devotees. Even most of those who complain endlessly about the site, still use it regularly, because its convenience and power to keep us all connected is undeniable.Taken From Internet Service Providers