If our lives aren’t unfulfilling enough with traditional advertisers telling us what we don’t need and cannot afford, we can count on our Facebook friends to reaffirm our feelings of inadequacy by convincing us that they do, in fact, have it all.
Norwegian filmmakers The Higton Bros have made a YouTube video that portrays how social media dangles the good life in front of us without any hope for a payment plan.
The film takes its name from the question Facebook asks its users each time they log on: What’s On Your Mind? In it, a man compares a drab evening at home with his girlfriend to the self-aggrandizing updates of his Facebook friends.
“Everything he sees devalues his reality, eventually driving him to just make some shit up in order to seem less lame–to himself, as well as to anyone who might be paying attention,” explains Fast Company.
“He is validated in return, with a substantial number of ‘likes.’ From here on, the differences between what’s actually happening and ‘what’s on your mind?’ begin snowballing, in ways that range from subtle lies to wholesale fabrications.”
Psychologists point to the danger in being constantly aware of the exciting and resourceful lives our friends portray on Facebook, which makes our own existence seem mundane in comparison. The compulsive nature of such information seeking is particularly harmful to people who already exhibit low self-esteem.
Facebook posts create an illusion of ourselves and we ‘Like’ it when others’ responses support our perception that these glimpses somehow represent our complex and cohesive psychological selves.
It’s important to keep in mind that Facebook updates capture only a small fraction of a person’s life and in no way represent a comprehensive, or truthful, picture.