For all the positives of social media, there are plenty of well-documented downsides.
That sense of insecurity that people feel due to the perceived lives of others is one such downside. However, I think it’s a downside that’s actually causing us all to lead much more fulfilling lives. We just can’t see it.
When we scroll through social media, most of us are aware that we’re only being shown the best bits of other people’s lives, because we do the same ourselves. The stuff we don’t post is probably near-identical to one another, nothing out of the ordinary, and so there’s no point announcing it. We’re seeing the highlights of each others lives, and that’s the way it should be.
What’s more, it’s likely that the ‘BEST HOLIDAY EVER’ was actually spent applying after-sun to prickly heat and disagreeing over where to go for dinner. Even though we know all this, those posts are often taken on face value, and we allow ourselves to see a person leading a far better life than we ever could.
The feelings of anxiety that this leads to in some people is scary. Then there are those who are consumed with jealousy, again to the point of unhealthiness. But, as I said, we’re all aware of the downsides.
The upshot is that it encourages us to do more with our lives. We’re exposed to a great deal thanks to social media and, whether it’s from FOMO (fear of missing out), jealousy, or just plain old intrigue, it results in many of us doing more, going to more places, and experiencing more things. Even something as simple as trying a new type of food – there are things we just wouldn’t have known about before social media. Look at avocados, where did they come from?! We’d never heard of them a few years ago, and now they’re everywhere.
Because of this, I think it’s fair to say the majority of people are living, what would be considered, more fulfilling lives than people did 20 years ago. Unfortunately, I think most people actually feel less fulfilled than their 1990’s counterparts. However much they experience, it’s not enough. They assume everyone else is making more of their lives – doing more, doing it better, and getting more enjoyment from it.
Shame, innit? Makes me feel like crying into my overnight oats, coconut milk latte in-hand while reading a travel blog by somebody with far worse grammar but far more hair than me.