Social media influences so much of our lives, and it dominates how we communicate. Networks such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram allow us to reconnect with old friends, catch up with family, instantly spread news and share information. However, sometimes social media can be a platform for people to overshare. What boundaries should we place on what we do and don’t share on social media?
The Royal Society for Public Health has deemed Instagram the “most detrimental social networking app for young people’s mental health.” Instagram is the home of what our generation refers to as “flexing.” Flexing is when people show off, boast and brag about the material items they have or the accomplishments that they achieve. Scrolling through Instagram and seeing people experiencing the good life can be quite discouraging to people who feel like they are inadequate.
For example, being a young college student working day and night to earn a degree in hopes of securing a job that will help sustain financial stability in the future is a huge accomplishment in itself. Except, when you see your friend of the same age who is not in school posting videos of him or herself on Snapchat, driving around in foreign cars, posting pictures on Instagram of their latest $300 pair of Jordans and buying the newest iPhone the millisecond it is released, your academic accomplishment does not seem to compare.
People who have to show the world everything they have are usually seeking approval and attention. This tendency may be naive and even foolish. People can see what you are flashing on social media and it can lead to robbery. It also makes people jealous and can bring about harsh feelings and malicious motives against you. In addition, even if you are fortunate enough to have nice things, it is important to be humble because not everyone is so lucky and humility is a much more lovable trait than arrogance.
It is common to experience feelings of insecurity as heavy consumers of social media, whether you tend to use the platforms to brag or you feel inferior by comparison.
People who succumb to the things that they see on social media constantly compare their lives to the people they follow. They place value on material things and buy fancy products in order to join the “flexing” competition. They want to appear as though they are “living their best life” as our generation would say, but in all actuality, they are doing more damage than self-improvement by spending lump sums of money on materialistic things that will fade next season instead of responsibly investing for the future. They will post every new luxury handbag they get and every name brand clothing item in order to show people that they are living the good life, rather than actually seizing their days behind the camera on their iPhone X.
In contrast, people who develop a sense of self when it comes to social media tend to be grateful for the life they have regardless of how much “better” their followers are doing. They also understand that generally, people only post the good things that happen in their lives and not the bad. People are way more likely to post a photo of themselves smiling rather than a photo of them crying.
It is understood that people only share pictures and content that supports the image they want to project. Lastly, these people understand that someone else’s success is not equivalent to their own personal failure. It takes time to build the life of our dreams and we are all on completely different journeys to reach our goals. So, next time you feel your confidence plummeting after seeing someone with something you wish you had, just keep being you! It will all come together if you work hard enough and stay focused on your own purpose.