Likes. The number of people who like your picture, the number of hearts you receive, the number of comments you get on your recent post, and of course the number of retweets you receive. Individuals are now reduced to a mere number on any popular social media app. The desire and the need to be liked is something we all experience, but today with the boom of apps like Instagram and Facebook, this need has grown much more. It is a giant popularity contest where everyone now is caught up in the cycle of outdoing one another.
Before the boom of social media, it was magazine advertorials that were constantly criticized for promoting unhealthy and unrealistic beauty standards. But magazines and advertisements owned up to their wrongdoings and admitted that those who wear size zero are just models, and yes, their images are airbrushed and photoshop. The era before social media was where individuals competed with their idols, but the era of social media is where individuals compete with each other.
We have all fallen down the social media black hole and got caught up in the comparison cycle. While some of us were only in this cycle for a while, others continue to remain in it. You curate your life on social media. By that I mean, social media is a tool that individuals use only to post happy and good memories with the world and their network. So, most of our feeds are filled with smiling pictures of our friends either, traveling, eating, or doing something that sparks a tinge of jealousy or even spreads a few insecurities within us. Our minds go to, “She/he looks like she/he is having the time of their lives while I am stuck here doing nothing.” No one knows what is going on in the mind behind that smile, and hoe the day-to-day lives of that person are like. We only see what they choose to share. Therefore, social media becomes a sort of distorted reality, that makes others feel incompetent if they are not doing the same.
One of the main problems of social media is the Fear of Missing Out or FOMO. A phobia that is very prevalent in today’s time. Like I mentioned above when individuals see the luxurious lifestyle of others, or even celebrities for that matter, they tend to feel sad and can even fall into depression because they spend their weekend alone at home watching Netflix while others go out clubbing or on vacation. The fun and the excitement that is seen in those pictures and posts are staged. But because what you see in a post is what you get, so it can make an individual feel left out and lonely. This is not good for one’s self-esteem.
Girls on social media today are constantly trying to fit into the norms. These norms are not outwardly standardized but they are clearly present. The need to look thin with a face without any marks or blemishes are the two things girls these days obsess over. This gives rise to the use of image editing apps, to ensure that your picture is ‘perfect’. No one wants to be called fat or even have their pimples pointed out. But then there is also the comment of ‘she doesn’t look anything like her Instagram’. So girls are also now caught in the cycle of editing images but ensuring that they look natural.
Social media also causes various other mental health issues, such as depression, sleeplessness, and much more. We are constantly looking to validate ourselves from the comments we get from others. And we constantly promote a life that we don’t lead on social media. When social media starts to negatively take a toll on you, and when you find yourself getting affected by the number of likes and comments that when you need to know, that it’s time to go offline. Take regular breaks from social media, and spend time with your offline self.
While social media is a boon, it is also a bane, if we use social media accurately and for the right purpose, we can see use the apps for what they were truly created for.
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Read our blog on the most common mental health issues women face here.
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Originally published at https://www.fuzia.com.