Social media: Mixed bag of envy, connection

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Illustration by Liz Coffee

Illustration by Liz Coffee

Social media could be the best or worst thing to ever happen to this generation.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all platforms that were made to connect people together.

Which is pretty fantastic.

Two people living in different countries can keep in contact on a daily basis, and it’s free.

Grandmas can stalk their grandchildren to their heart’s content without having to wait for a phone call.

Social media is also largely to thank for the Arab Spring revolution.

In 2011, Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian, set himself on fire to protest police corruption.

His death was recorded with cell phones and spread on social media sites, kick-starting the rebellion in other countries.

Who would’ve thought social media would be the platform for rebellion?

It is a truly amazing invention.

However, social media induces something that isn’t so great: envy.

It’s become a competition between who has the most followers and who gets the most likes.

Less than 100 likes on a photo?


A study called “Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction?” found a link between Facebook use and feelings of envy and frustration.

The longer someone spent time browsing the site, the more these feelings increased.

These findings are not incredibly surprising.

If a person’s friends are doing cool things and going to cool places, they want to be a part of that social group and participate as well.

People just want to feel like they belong.

With Valentine’s Day came dozens of social media posts from couples enjoying the day with each other.

Want to know who wasn’t posting?

Single people.

No posts with the caption “Spent the day eating ice cream and watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ while wallowing in self-pity.”

Or “Rearranged all of the furniture in my apartment to avoid feeling depressed.”

Or “Drank myself into a stupor and ordered $52.75 worth of takeout Chinese food for one #valentinesday.”

That’s because people only post highlights from their lives.

Remember, Instagram and Facebook posts are not full or true representations of someone’s life.

No one posts photos from bad days.

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