Expectations from Social Media

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We are often faced with stories or posts online from celebrities and influencers, where we only see an aesthetically pleasing, a fun or a cool side of them. We often forget that this is not reality and there is so much more to a person than their social media and what they choose to portray in public.

Over time, this has extended out to friends and families as well. Sometimes we see a friend on social media, and they seem to be living their best life, but when you see them in person, it is not always all about what their social media demonstrates.

Expectations are created like this and tends to lead people on to nit-picking their lives. Confidence levels are always rising or falling due to social media. With all the trends and expectations building up, some people sub-consciously end up obsessing over them in order to feel more confident amongst certain groups of people, even if they are online.

A good example of this, and a popular trend, is the #glowupchallenge, which many online users try to follow vigorously by watching multiple glow up diaries on YouTube and TikTok. According to all the glow up content on these social media platforms, there are certain steps to take in a certain order, specific products to buy to achieve the best results, and particular routines to keep everyday to be able to feel like you are glowing up and living a good life.

Trends like these are constantly being shared amongst communities of any interest. People challenge each other and tag their friends to do the same, creating multiple chains for popular trends.

Another example includes the #dontjudgemechallenge, which showcases a video of an ‘ugly’ and then a ‘pretty’ version of the person partaking in the challenge. The message is clear and teaches to not judge others based on appearances. Although this was quite positive and popular, the delivery was not completely optimistic for groups of people who felt that they did not have a ‘pretty’ version of themselves to show off.

According to a study called “Measuring Emotional Contagion in Social Media” by Emilio Ferrara, the likeliness of adopting positive emotions is greater than adopting negative emotions. This does not rule out the fact that negative emotions can not be adopted, but it does mean that the social media effects on your emotions isn’t all bad.

Emilio Ferrara mentions that it is important to note that there is a time limit of how much positivity your brain can take before it starts absorbing negativity. According to the study, the brain is actively finding both good and bad in everything, it is up to the person mainly on what they choose to focus on. This tends to be going from either negativity to positivity, or vice versa.

How do we look out for ourselves then? How do we put more focus on our real lives, rather than our online lives? How do we stop ourselves from obsessing over what other people are doing online?

The answer is simpler than you would think.

Reducing the amount of time spent and cleaning up the kind of people you are following on social media can change so much more than is expected.

Some benefits of this would be that you don’t scroll through the app for hours, giving you more time to focus on your everyday routine as how you would like to spend it. When you are on any social media app, you will only focus on the people you want to see and would want to catch up with. Following celebrities and influencers is good too, but only if you know there won’t be moments when you start comparing your life to others.

Social media is not real life. Focusing on everyday moments can be more healing than expected. In fact, the best glow ups come from finding happiness in everyday life. There is no such thing as a perfect life, as showcased on social media.

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