Skip to main content

In today’s world, social media has become a part of our everyday lives. Billions of people use social media to satisfy their needs and make their lives more convenient. Social media is used by people in every country to connect and share information. Social media enables you to interact with friends and family, learn new things, pursue your interests, and be entertained on a personal level. On a professional level, you can use social media to increase your knowledge in a particular area and develop your network by getting in touch with other people in your sector. At the corporate level, social media enables you to interact with your audience, gather client feedback, and strengthen your brand.  Although, in reality, it can be harmful to the users if consumed incorrectly.

What is social media?

Social media websites and programs that let users generate and share content or take part in social networking are referred to as social media. Social media platforms provide connections and communication between people and businesses, as well as information sharing and real-time interaction with content. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, and Snapchat are a few of the well-known social networking sites. Each platform has distinct characteristics, target users, and goals. For instance, whereas LinkedIn is used for networking among professionals, Facebook is a platform for connecting with friends and family. Social media has revolutionized how individuals share information and communicate, enabling more effective and immediate communication on a worldwide scale. It has, however, also sparked worries about how social media can distort the reality of this world.

The underlying issue is that social media distorts our perceptions of life. By presenting users with content designed to resonate specifically with them. Therefore, we generate an untrue mental model of society.

Selective sharing

On social media, people frequently hide the negative aspects of their lives and only post about their accomplishments, enjoyable activities, and good times. This particular action is called selective sharing or highlight reels. Which, makes it seems like everyone can be successful without having to go through struggles or disappointments. For example, people usually post pictures of them traveling, going to fancy restaurants, and doing exciting activities on social media. This can give us the false impression that everyone else’s life is better and more fascinating than our own, which can result in poor self-esteem and a sense of failure. It sets up unrealistic expectations and can build up pressure on people who are struggling.

Unrealistic Standards

Unrealistic standards for happiness, prosperity, and attractiveness can also be produced by social media. Celebrities and influencers frequently promote impossible ideals, like flawless bodies, extravagant lifestyles, and constant happiness. On Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and other platforms, people frequently upload photographs that have been extensively staged. which can create a distorted view of what is normal or achievable. For example, someone might post pictures of their luxurious vacation, their perfect body, or their seemingly flawless relationship, which can make others feel inadequate. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. People might feel as if they are different from others or not good enough compared to the people who seem to have a perfect life. Especially, for those who spend a lot of time on social media.

Filtering and editing

Since technology is now more advanced, platforms for social media provide a variety of filters and editing tools that can improve images and videos. People may believe that others look better or have better lifestyles than they do, which might cause them to compare themselves to others and have unrealistic expectations. By having all these tools, the majority of people feel the need to use them before posting their pictures on social media. This can create an unhealthy lifestyle and a continuous loop of unrealistic beauty standards.

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

a type of anxiety brought on by the fear of missing out on an enjoyable experience that someone else is having. To make sure no one is doing anything exciting without you, you can, for instance, spend the entire day checking your Instagram feed or frequently checking your messages to see if anyone has invited you out. Which, can escalate into a bad habit. Another scenario is that you can see images of an activity that your friends got to enjoy and feel left out because you couldn’t join them due to a prior commitment. This can create pressure on one to keep up with others and be a part of every social event or trend. Also, it can lead to a false sense of reality where people feel like they are missing out on experiences that others seem to be having.

Confirmation Bias

Social media algorithms tend to show us content that aligns with our beliefs and interests, creating a bubble of confirmation bias. This can create a false sense of reality where we only see information that confirms our existing beliefs, leading to a narrow-minded and distorted view of the world. Making people less open-minded and believing in what we see without actually knowing the other point of view. This can create a tendency for people to think that what they believe is always true.

In point of fact, social media can distort our perceptions of reality by providing an idealized image of life that doesn’t necessarily match the highs and lows of being a person. It’s critical to keep in mind that what we see on social media is frequently not the complete picture and to refrain from drawing comparisons that can cause us to feel inadequate or unsatisfied. Those who consume media incorrectly can result in, mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-harm, or even suicidal thought.

How to reframe negative thoughts from social media?

            In this generation, almost everyone uses social media on a daily basis. There are ways we can benefit from media, without having a distorted vision of the world. First of all, we all need to be able to label what is true and what is not. Keeping in mind, we all should have a sense of reality and common sense. Jenkins advises naming cognitive distortions by putting them in paper when you experience them, as this makes them easier to recognize and comprehend. Distraction is yet another practical tactic. Spending time by engaging in enjoyable activities, such as cooking, drawing, or taking a walk, might ease the pressure brought on by cognitive distortions. Less screen time is always better anyways. Therefore, more outdoor activities without social media are extremely encouraged.

Leave a Reply