Is your social media profile the girl you want to be?
She is hilarious. I mean really funny. And she always looks fabulous. She is usually surrounded by people doing something cool, like partying on a rooftop or at the beach or playing with her adorable dog in the park. Her outfits are always great, and with that huge smile on her face you can’t imagine that this girl is stressed at all. It may sound like I am describing a girl in an ad for tampons, but actually this is what I see when I look at pictures and quotes of myself on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The profile of the girl you see on my social media accounts is similar to my real self, but not the same. She is a more enhanced version. My social media alter ego is the girl I want to be. Does anyone else have this problem?
While the version of myself that I communicate to social media outlets is me, it is an exaggerated, perfect version. I only post the cute photos, or the ones where I look skinny. My status updates seem like I just came up with them on the fly, but most of them definitely took some thought. And don’t even get me started on Instagram. Was that necklace really placed perfectly next to that magazine? Probably not. Filters are literally metaphors for self-improvement.
As French blogger Garance Doré said, we put an edited version of ourselves online. She said:
We all do that. I show a more idealized version of my life and the things I see. I was never trying to show reality, but rather the world as I want to see it and myself as I want to be. So we’re all the same, we edit ourselves, we show the best things, but it’s also sometimes good to say, “Okay, there’s also crap happening and it’s fine.
It looks like I am not alone in this self-editing process on social media. There is a reason we do it. Millennials are obsessed and accustomed with getting everything instantly, and this includes people’s approval and adoration. We now can literally measure our popularity in the form of likes and comments. While we may feel a surge of self-esteem in the first few minutes of like-nirvana, it will not last long. According to research out of the University of Wisconsin, when people looked at their perfect Facebook profiles they felt a rush of self-esteem, but this hurt them in other ways. From LiveScience:
Toma and colleagues found that the participants experienced a significant boost in self-esteem even after looking at their own Facebook profile for just five minutes. However, the burst of self-worth seemed to sink the participants’ motivation to perform well on a follow-up math task.
Compared with a control group who didn’t spend several minutes navel gazing, those who had just looked at their Facebook profiles before the test answered fewer questions in the allotted time, though their error rate was unchanged. ”Performing well in a task can boost feelings of self-worth,” Toma said in a statement. “However, if you already feel good about yourself because you looked at your Facebook profile, there is no psychological need to increase your self-worth by doing well in a laboratory task.
So you may have a great looking Facebook page, but you may literally be failing at life. Somehow that doesn’t add up.
Makes you think twice about putting up that witty status message, doesn’t it?
But maybe it’s okay that we show a better version of ourselves online. After all, many of us are using social media as a way to brand ourselves. And your brand needs to present the best version of you. However, I think we can all agree that, no matter how you present yourself on social media, the most important thing is to try to live in the moment of the experience you are having, and not spend all your time figuring out how you will present this moment to the world on various online platforms.
By: Meredith Lepore