Social Media Peer Pressure: Are You Feeling It?
I know it’s a new year and the festive season is well and truly over but after going through the pictures I collected over the Christmas period, I suddenly realized the photos I posted on my social media accounts (mainly Facebook and Instagram) weren’t exactly showing the whole truth about my yuletide adventures. As well as wholesome festive fun, there were tears, drama and drunken regrets. Photos of which, naturally, never saw the light of day.
Let’s be fair, I know everyone knows that most of the pics and posts people show on their social media accounts aren’t exactly a true representation of life. Which is fine. However, around the festive period, there is a definite influx of engagements announcements, expensive gift photos and everyone generally making their lives seem fabulously amazing. Nobody puts up a status saying they’re stressing out about how they are going to buy presents or that they hate Christmas because their family situation sucks because nobody wants to be the Grinch. Most of us have been on both sides of this issue; when you’ve gotten a new job or had a great night out, you want to share it with your friends. Being on the other side isn’t as fun though. Who wants to share how they haven’t gotten dressed or left the house in three days because they’re feeling down?
The majority of my generation share far too much online except for the things we probably should speak to people about. Depression. Loneliness. Isolation. Anxiety. Not everyone has an amazing time all of the time, but people don’t want to be the person who posts something negative online, in case you get judged for being a moan. Or even worse, in case you’re just ignored.
The definition of peer pressure states it as: ‘the pressure to conform to the standards and behaviours of one’s peers‘. Social media peer pressure is becoming a serious issue for the online generation. We all feel envious of other people’s lives at times, it’s natural. However, when other people’s lives online affect how you feel about yourself, that’s when it becomes an issue. Personally I find this happens to me around Christmas, especially when I think I’m doing alright and then I see whatsherface has just got engaged and is currently celebrating with champagne on a beach in Bali…while I guzzle chocolates snuggled up to my dog watching Harry Potter. Suddenly I begin to second-guess myself and start stressing out. Will I ever get engaged? Why am I single? Should I emigrate to Bali? What am I doing with my life?!
So what to do about it? It’s not like we can avoid the internet or should have to. The trick is to find a healthy balance, take a step back and be realistic. Maybe that girl from your class in school who’s living it up in New York isn’t sure how she’s going to pay for her next meal. The likelihood is that couple whose smiling faces are plastered all over Facebook fight like everyone else does. You just never know what goes on behind the screen, people present themselves in the best light so try not to compare yourself to anyone else. Comparing yourself to someone else doesn’t change anything and certainly doesn’t do anything positive for you so take a break from social media and go live your life offline. Where it counts.
Photo c/o wonderhowto.com, twitter.com