On average we spend 118 minutes per day on social media ; this is good news for businesses practising digital marketing but bad news for us who naturally compare ourselves with those around us (hence Festinger’s theory below).
Why? Social media provides us with a platform to raise questions about our lives, relationships and body image by comparing ourselves to other users. The authenticity feel of social media makes us disregard the editing behind posts and we compare ourselves and lives naturally without realising it is harming us.
Collecting “likes”, “followers” and instant unfiltered comments (as shown in the video below) increases the pressure to put our best self forward. With everyone putting their best self forward we create a non – idealistic view of how we should be living.
“The perfect body”
Social media trends such as “fitspiration” and concerns like cyber bullying, adds to the pressure of posting the most attractive selfies, which as research suggests, leads to body image issues.
We’ve all seen posts similar to those above on our timelines – which makes us dream of the perfect relationship but the truth is that “all that glitters is not gold” as Patricia says below. Check out Lexi’s blog on 11 things we fake on social media.
“The Perfect Life”
Social media is an extension of our identity and as mentioned in previous posts, we use our online profiles to highlight our best achievements. Consequently we can find ourselves with low self-esteem when we see those around us post updates on experiences we cannot relate to and become anxious when trying to keep up.
“Too much of anything is bad for you”
Growing up with social media, it has become my number one source to network and share my creativity and like many I know I have to say I pretty much cannot live without it. So how can we use our favourite pass time without letting it harm us?
After exploring this topic I found that the key answer to this question is – to become digital media literate. This means not only create media but also be able to access, analyse and evaluate it.
I would recommend deleting all apps for a week; it helps you concentrate on what truly makes you happy and spend time with those around you, remember there is more to life than being online.
Diamond, A. (2015). Essena O’Neill: The Instagram Star Who Quit Social Media. [Blog] Pop Culture. Available at: http://www.manrepeller.com/minor_cogitations/essena-oneill-quit-social-media.html [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].
Herrick, L. (2015). 11 Things We Fake in Our Social Media Lives. [Blog] The Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lexi-herrick/11-things-we-fake-in-our-social-media-lives_b_7693182.html [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].
Lewallen, J. and Behm – Morawitz, E. (2016). Pinterest or Thinterest?: Social Comparison and Body Image on Social Media – Mar 29, 2016. [online] Journals.sagepub.com. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2056305116640559 [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].
McCluskey, M. (2016). Instagram Star Essena O’Neill Breaks Her Silence on Quitting Social Media. [Blog] Internet. Available at: http://time.com/4167856/essena-oneill-breaks-silence-on-quitting-social-media/ [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].
McLean, S., Paxton, S., Wertheim, E. and Masters, J. (2015). Photoshopping the selfie: Self photo editing and photo investment are associated with body dissatisfaction in adolescent girls. [online] Wiley Online Library. Available at: http://10.1002/eat.22449 [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].
Paxton, S. and MClean, S. (2016). Social media can damage body image – here’s how to counteract it. [online] The Conversation. Available at: http://theconversation.com/social-media-can-damage-body-image-heres-how-to-counteract-it-65717 [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].
Rodgers, R. and Melioli, T. (2016). The Relationship Between Body Image Concerns, Eating Disorders and Internet Use, Part I: A Review of Empirical Support. [online] Paperity. Available at: http://paperity.org/p/74043250/the-relationship-between-body-image-concerns-eating-disorders-and-internet-use-part-i-a [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].
Statista. (2016). Global time spent on social media daily 2016 | Statista. [online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/433871/daily-social-media-usage-worldwide/ [Accessed 23 Mar. 2017].
Williams, R. (2014). How Facebook can amplify low self-esteem/Narcissism/Anxiety. [Blog] Psychology today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201405/how-facebook-can-amplify-low-self-esteemnarcissismanxiety [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].
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