The Affects of Social Media On Self-Preception
May 29, 2014 | LOVE EMBRACE INSPIRE | By Tiffany Nicole
We all know that there are pros and cons in using social media platforms. As a user myself, I've come to see how social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube are great tools in branding, building your craft, skill, business etc. It is also a great place to network, meet people and build relationships that may have never otherwise been formed had there not been such a thing as "Social Media." I use it for all of those things myself, but I've seen how this outlet can also change people, hurt people, and down right discriminate and cause division between the masses.
One outlet that I've seen this happen the most on is Instagram. I like Instagram because it is a visual type of media outlet where one can pull inspiration, ideas, as well as virtually meet others who may inspire, motivate, and encourage you. Especially for those who are new to the natural hair "movement," Instagram is loaded with ladies who have walked the journey and have made it through who desire to inspire and encourage new, frustrated naturals. Are you into fashion? Tons of ladies share their style tips, lookbooks and more in that arena. Makeup? Yup it's there too, whatever your interested in, there's someone who one can get inspiration from or even you be an inspiration to on there.
Lately though, I've seen it as a place where followers and likes mean everything. How many followers one has seems to determine their social status? Wow, but yup people treat their number of followers like money, the more you have the better your status!!! What many fail to realize are that followers and likes can be purchased!!! If you have a smart phone you may know this because there's an app for everything including "Get More Followers" for most of social media outlets out there, (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter just to name a few)
So why am I bringing this up? Because my ultimate goal is to uplift and encourage women to be the best version of themselves. Not to compare and contrast ourselves to each other, but instead to celebrate each other in both our similarities and our differences. I believe if someone is not strong enough, they can be deceived in believing that because their following is not as high as the next person, that they are inadequate, and that their efforts to build their brand, business, network etc., is a waist. There are studies out there that show how social media networks affect self-perception and many find themselves drowning in depression, stress and low self-esteem. The pressure of taking the perfect selfie, wearing the right makeup, the right outfit and just the whole idea of competing for the spotlight is growing by the day, not to mention keeping up the unrealistic expectations of perfection.
I personally, do not believe all that I see on Instagram especially, because its only a page full of snapshots of what people want you to see about them. It is the perfect outlet to portray one's fantasy of perfection. Obviously, people do not showcase their negative characteristics, and that in itself creates a strict control of the way we are perceived. Instead, we are deceived to believe that other people's lives are better than ours, for many the social media outlets are virtual masks that cover deep issues. For others, it's a place where what they desire to be in their real lives (a fantasy) can be perceived by others as reality.
Obviously, not all who are on these social networks are putting on fronts, but there are more impostors on social media then their are real people. Remember that there is a such thing called "Smiling Depression" which is described as people who are depressed but appear to be happy and fulfilled. In the U.S. 6.7 percent of the population over the age of 18 suffer from major depression.
So, what can one do daily? Here are some suggestions:
- Try logging off from technology and social media accounts once daily. If that is too much, pick a specific day(s) when social media accounts are off limits.
- When you start to feel negative about yourself, your life, your talent, skill, etc., confront your negative feelings and investigate the origin and validity of your feelings.
- When your bored, pick up a good book, play a board game, take a walk, find something to do that will distract you from logging on.