Fake it til you make it ; the deception of social media

Over the past few decades a great deal of change has occurred in the realm of technology due to advancements and unimaginable innovation. From super speed internet to super smart “smart phones”, society has been presented with great power and along with that great responsibility. Although created with intentions to improve everyday via communication, social media has had detrimental effects on the population

In a study done by Church and Thambusamy the negative consequences of social media have become much more evident through results obtained in the end. Conducted mainly on middle aged/younger women, the study highlighted that the “key finding of the study confirms the idea that status benefits encourage competition in online setting”. From this statement one can extract the fact that social media users such as the women in the study are influenced in one way or another to behave. Specific influences may be attractive as one has the possibility to gain status benefits such as being labelled in a higher position than others. Labels that may be gained include beautiful, appalling, successful, etc…

In a piece of writing by classmate @cleacatona6529 on the same article by Church and Thambusamy, they title it as “What do we want? Approval! When do we want it? Now!”. In it they do a great job of criticizing the efforts of society as individuals go to great lengths in order to be approved of or admired by their audience(s). This is a basic human need via love/belonging as expressed in “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” so the basis of its existence is understandable from a psychological standpoint. Nowadays actions such as editing, filtering and distorting one’s public image are extremely common and made simple with phone applications. This is just one example of how people today feel pressured to fit into certain images. With a great number of the population participating in this facade, it creates unrealistic expectations and perceptions for those absorbing it.

In the same piece @cleacatona6529 states that “We no longer simply have to seek out the approval of our family and small town communities, but that of what many see is to be the entire world”. Because of social media presence from technology people are able to portray their entire lives to large audiences, perhaps larger than should be. The known effects on the mental and physical health of using vast amounts of social media are unknown due to the newness of it, but recent research has shown that many are exhibiting lesser abilities of focus.

For now people should attempt to realize the indirect motives of competition that may be present in their actions as social media becomes more and more present in the everyday life.

#WRDS150 #Competition #Socialmedia #Technology

5 Comments

  1. Hello, this was a very insightful read! I really like how you tied it to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and how we fundamentally need to feel a sense of belonging in order to build confidence in our own selves or our own image.
    I’m wondering however if this sense of belongingness is an illusion online since so many individuals are distorting personal information online. I feel like when individuals receive compliments online, they may feel as if they are being accepted and recognized by others, when in reality it may be an illusion because they’re only presenting an idealized image of themselves online. Perhaps this actually hinders personal growth in the sense that they won’t reach the next level of self-esteem in the hierarchy. What are your thoughts on this?

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  2. I really liked this reading response. Do you think that this notion of social media competition over likes and other forms of validation disproportionately affects young women over men? Women tend to post much more frequently on social media apps like Instagram as a general rule and have much higher post engagement.

    Also, is this form of competition unique to the internet or is it merely another theatre of modern societal competition as a whole? I believe the latter as I see no functional difference between wearing flashy, expensive clothing with well known brand names in order to obtain approval and admiration from others and seeking the same validation online through well-shot photos etc. What I believe unites every difference manifestation of modern aesthetic competition is a need for novelty; to be the next trendsetter. This could be why clothing companies like Supreme or Bape for example no longer advertise on tv or in other forms of media and instead rely on large logos to essentially turn their wearers into walking advertisements. Also, with the advent of Instagram models, this notion of being the next big thing has become more relevant than ever as there are many aspiring Instagram models using their looks and photography skills to compete with one another.

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  3. Very good point as to how online media accounts may create feelings of recognition for a fake persona. It’s interesting to see the lengths that many will go to in order to present a certain image/personality. This is evident through social media influencers, stars and even Youtubers. I personally believe that those that fall into these groups are to an extent keeping themselves back from self-growth as they may feel trapped into an identity that is not fluid and real. As people will receive likes, compliments and attention for the perception of one character they possess online, they may fail to expose the truth of their nature due to approval of one over the other

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  4. I believe that the notion of social media competition affects both men and women, however, the actions taken by women are more noticeable to the eye when compared to the subtle ones committed by men. For women lengths such as extreme dieting and photoshopping are extremely evident as the unrealistic images of others exist on various platforms thus often times create unconscious influences. Feeling the need to fit into these crazy standards women often post to show that they are indeed “normal”.

    Men on the other hand often specifically curate what kind of content they wish to post due to high stereotyping made on their publications. Those that post as much as the average women are viewed as narcissistic or self absorbed while on the other hand those that rarely post are labelled as ghosts or outcasts. Males have to carefully craft who they wish to be and also with the right amount of online presence in order to be considered “acceptable”.

    Also great point with the fashion industry. Humans have always been judgemental creatures and nowadays it is even harsher or perhaps more evident. Through clothing and certain brands people can more easily express who they are e.g a “hypebeast” in this case or more so, an individual with high fashion tastes and funds to provide to their lavish tastes.

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