Research Nugget #3

Article Citation APA: Jessica Winter.Selfie-Loathing: Instagram is even more depressing than Facebook. Here’s why . Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/07/instagram_and_self_esteem_why_the_photo_sharing_network_is_even_more_depressing.html

Link to article: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/07/instagram_and_self_esteem_why_the_photo_sharing_network_is_even_more_depressing.html

Link to blog post: http://rampages.us/sburlaaay/2014/07/01/research-nugget-1/

In Jessica Winter’s, Selfie-Loathing: Instagram is even more depressing than Facebook. Here’s why, the author discusses the shocking realities and truth behind the ever so popular social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook. Although there has been much speculation about social media being a cause in low self-esteem and even depression, Winter focuses more on the how and why of these matters. One of the first points that Winter makes is talking about the two main relationships/ ways that individuals use social media. The first way is just for sharing a news article or maybe chatting with an old friend. The second way is more on the lines of stalking; spending hours upon hours looking through people’s photos and statuses and comparing your own life to theirs.  However, what the writer says is that even using Facebook in a more positive aspect can still be a double edged sword in that sharing articles can bring upon arguments or debates or maybe even cause a friend to “unfriend” you. However, as multiple Facebook studies have been done, the writer points out that the “greatest undermine at the social media cock tail party” would have to be the little rainbow camera next to our camera app, Instagram. Moreover, the author reveals that although there are not many studies or statistics on Instagram, one can infer that based on studies done on Facebook and social media in general, Instagram can truly affect one’s emotional state and overall perception.

The author then explains that Instagram is one of the worsts when it comes to self-esteem. Instagram is sort of a game or business where individuals are spending hours trying to perfect a photo by trying out different filters and using those lightning and brightening tools only to know that the rest of the world is doing the same exact thing. Your friend posts a selfie and her 50 likes gets your mind moving and you start to think about yourself and how attractive you look in the presence of your followers. You post a selfie then soon after to find that you beat your friend by 10 likes. Your same friend then sees your selfie and wants to make her photos even better and then you do…..it is an endless cycle. In other words, Instagram starts to mess with your time, “the more distorted your perception is that their lives are happier and more meaningful than yours (Winters).” Winters words are true because even when I scroll through the pictures on my newsfeed, I sometimes find myself cringing at the thought that I am cooped up inside my room while others are vacationing in places such as France. As I continue reading the article, it got me to notice this passage:

“You get more explicit and implicit cues of people being happy, rich, and successful from a photo than from a status update,” says Hanna Krasnova of Humboldt University Berlin, co-author of the study on Facebook and envy. “A photo can very powerfully provoke immediate social comparison, and that can trigger feelings of inferiority. You don’t envy a news story.”

This is so true which is also makes this a bit frightening because people actually get envious of each other through social media, when in fact, social media/networks intentions were to connect individuals and build relationships.

However, what this also does is makes me wonder why individuals get so angry or envious because generally, individuals will want to post things that are positive. They are not necessarily living better lives, it is more so that for social media, it is better to post happier news than one that is tragic (among peers).

What this particular nugget does is also relates me back to my first post, when I discussed Jessica Gummow and her article, 7 Telltale Signs Social Media Is Killing Your Self-Esteem”, in which she discusses that Social media disrupts your real-world thoughts and interactions.

Again, someone posts a picture of their vacation in Hawaii and soon after individuals start to become jealous. I think this is interesting because in some ways I can understand the jealousy because the world is not fair and some individuals are more blessed or fortunate than others. A little jealousy is not always a bad thing but when it starts to consume your life, make you feel like you are below others, or you start to hurt others because they have something that you do not, that is when one should take a step back on social media and realize that life is too short to worry about the lives of others.

That then leads me to wonder why we compare ourselves, for what reason? For the satisfaction that we are doing better or the satisfaction those others aren’t? This use to trouble me, the way that individuals fixate and care about what others are doing so much, that we get lost and start to lose sight of ourselves. Then I finally came to a hypothesis, that human beings are innately selfish (arguably), we do think about ourselves first before others and the fact that someone else is “doing well” or “better” by the simple glance of a selfie, is a bit troubling. However, I cannot be a hypocrite here, I sometimes find myself wishing I could take a selfie like my friend or wishing I could have landed an internship, but what I also realize is that instead of spending so much time wishing or being envious, that I should go after what I want, not for the satisfaction of others, but for myself. And if it so happens that individuals see that I achieved my goal, I would only hope that this would inspire others to reach theirs. However, as “happy-ending” as that sounds, the reality of life seeps in and not everyone can live under a model such as that.

However, why can we not live in a way without envious eyes or comparing ourselves to others?

The author explains that:

Three things that Instagram is currently for: loitering around others’ photos, perfunctory like-ing, and “broadcasting” to a relatively amorphous group. “I would venture to say that photographs, likes, and comments are the aspects of the Facebook experience that are most important in driving the self-esteem effects, and that photos are maybe the biggest driver of those effects,” says Catalina Toma of the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “You could say that Instagram purifies this one aspect of Facebook.”

Unfortunately, the author is correct, photos and pictures is what gets the blood boiling or what makes individuals feel inferior to others. Why I believe this to be true is because of the way human beings are built. People like to see proof. It is easy to post that you are in Hawaii but to see actual photos validates your statement. Again, as I stated before, we are conditioned to project only our best and the best way to show that on social media, is through pictures which is what Instagram is all about. That is why I am studying the motives behind Instagram users, because individuals’ motives play a large part in individuals’ self-esteem. And also those motives can be both positive and negative

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