I came across a Sacramento article entitled “Facebook leaves some feeling left out.” In it, a couple people are quoted noting they experience jealousy when their friends or online acquaintances are doing fun things or hanging out with certain people.

While I definitely see how these feelings are justified, I found this fascinating because, for me, Facebook does the opposite.

Seeing peoples’ trips, etc., on Facebook makes me feel more included, both in the happenings of those peoples’ lives as well as with the places they visit. Even though I haven’t been to Disneyland myself in a couple years, I always get a kick out of seeing photos from others’ experiences there.

If someone discusses an upcoming vacation, I’ll often try to check back in a few days to check out their photos if it’s someone/somewhere that interests me. It’s pleasing to see people encounter enjoyable experiences, and I’ve seldom, to my immediate recollection, felt more excluded from someone directly as a result of not getting do something they got to do; I feel more included by getting to see it (okay, that sounds creepy, but you know what I mean).

In response to Larissa, who expressed feeling jealous that others are out being social while she’s stuck at home – not to seem insensitive, but the ball’s in her court. If she doesn’t like knowing what her peers are up to, she should steer clear of the Facebook news feed. Likewise, especially now, there’s tons of social groups — from networking, to hobbies, to common interests, etc. — to seek out and get involved in if you’re desiring a more active social life.

I definitely used to be that girl: incredibly shy, a major homebody, etc., but as I branched out, started meeting more people and attending more social functions, I found I really enjoyed it. And, as a result, I don’t feel like my life is lacking in any regards in terms of spectating others on social media.

It’s a difficult barrier to breach when you’re not sure if a new group will “welcome” you, but once you break it, the rewards are great. Several of my most endeared friends currently are ones I’d have never met had I not overcome my fear of trying new things and meeting new people.

What do you think? Do you think social media causes more exclusion or inclusion to social communities?