It doesn’t matter who you are — social media has changed your life.
While a majority of people think that growth in technology and social media has benefited them, there is still an overall feeling of enviousness that people get when they are active on social media platforms. There are plenty of theories on this subject, and testimonies as well, but one of the fastest ways to prove this idea is by heading to Google and searching “Instagram makes me feel”. What you’ll find in the suggestions are results like inadequate, like a loser, fat, and so on. For most people, learning that social media is causing feelings of depression or jealousy isn’t much of a surprise. People that are active on platforms such as Instagram understand that a majority of the accounts are intended to make that user’s life look a certain way. It’s also no secret that the accounts that receive the most fame are ones that feature skinny, attractive, and wealthy people.
How did we get here? When social media first began growing, the overall mission was to connect people and create a virtual space for community. Now that platforms like Facebook have connected over 2 million people, there are more comparisons and judgements being made than ever before.It’s not what these companies set out to do, but the results have proven jealously and depression are commonly associated with social media platforms. However, the more pressing issue is that marketers and advertisers are using this information to sell users the very idea that causes them this pain. Aside from paid partnerships that influencers are implementing on their accounts, playing on jealousy in social media has transitioned into mainstream advertising. Most recently E*Trade came out with a new campaign that included the tagline “Don’t get mad, get
E*Trade”, which referred to seeing someone you know living a lifestyle you wish you had. Other examples can be found in most travel advertisements. In fact, some campaigns even use actual photos from social media in their messaging. All of these examples result in selling viewers something that will dissolve the envy they have.
Researchers are concerned with how this will affect society and future generations. It will be interesting to see what social media will look like in years to come, especially since it’s already under scrutiny for lack of responsibility with privacy data. The next big scandal might just be holding these sites responsible for the mental well-being of their users.