Our obsession with social media can be detrimental to our mental health. This article explores the pitfalls of modern communication and how to avoid them.

Social networks have vastly changed how we communicate. They give us a perfect platform to stay in touch with close people in our lives wherever they may be. But it has mutated us into self-presentation masters to a point where showcasing our ‘perfect’ lives has become more vital than actually living life itself. Research suggests that the mainstream trend of continually optimizing our self-presentation is an unhealthy habit.

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Social media platforms have for sure brought a plethora of benefits such as being able to stay connected with persons we love from wherever they may be in the world as well as helps to reconnect with out of touch people and see what is happening with their lives. Considering how social media has risen to become an influential phenomenon, it’s high time science addresses the consequences it may have when it comes to interpersonal relations. There are other options for sharing opinions, news and current affairs, take a look at The Doe.

We decide how others view us

How do we present ourselves and communicate when we’re on social media platforms? Are the pictures we keep on uploading a mirror image of our real life? Or do we share the photos that meet the profile of how we want to be perceived by others? And if that’s the situation, how is the manner we present ourselves impact others? To put it simply: do we only share beautiful and happy moments (assuming that everybody else does too) and is it involved in creating negative feelings within us showcasing how everybody’s life is way more colorful, adventurous, and happy compared to ours? If that’s the case, it’s not difficult imagining that the vicious cycle of everybody showing off the best parts of their lives ultimately results in unhappiness.

Distorted perception

To assess some of these questions, Alexander Jordan of Stanford University, who was a psychologist together with his team, asked all participants of the study (all students) how often negative and positive things had occurred to fellow students. What was found was the students had some kind of distorted perception concerning the lives of participants. They have the view they were experiencing more positive moments than they actually had.

The unhappy others are, the happier we will get

Separate research looked at what way the evaluation of other people’s well-being influenced our very own. The findings showed that the more we keep on believing others are happier than us, the more unhappy we’re likely to get because of that. That’s because we subconsciously compare our lives to that of others, meaning we’ll be feeling like other people are living an interesting and more fun life experience. From there, we automatically depreciate the value of our life even more and become dissatisfied with it.

Fake image on social media

In social interactions and social media, scientists have pointed out we are more inclined to present sugarcoated imagery of ourselves. Apparently, we feel the need to exude flawless imagery of ourselves to people close to us. So after hearing about the finding of how we tend to ‘fake a perfect picture,’ maybe we should be asking ourselves if we would be better off letting others see the honest, vulnerable, and imperfect truth concerning ourselves – in real life and social media.