Comparing yourself on social networks Comparing yourself on social networks

By being constantly connected, social networks can play an important role in the way you see the world and the way you see yourself.

Advisor: Santiago Herrera
Psychologist, master’s degree in History

Choosing the prettiest photo, finding the right filter, the best background, and even taking a picture of your food before eating it. Have you thought more than once before posting a photo, and even regretted it? Social networks are a part of our daily life and they are used for different purposes. One of the common uses today is following and interacting with famous people or people recognized for their activity on social networks, known as influencers, who share what happens in their lives on these platforms.

Even though comparing yourself to others may be natural, which does not necessarily have to happen in a virtual setting, this is much faster and much more immediate with social networks. What used to happen, for example, in a high school reunion, now happens all the time. Psychologist Santiago Herrera explains, “Comparison always exists because the other person talks about me. When the other person talks about me, I am building my identity, I am realizing what I am. We often compare ourselves with people of the same age to find out if what I am doing is what is expected of people of this age in the place I am developing.”

Identify, evaluate, compare

Even though comparison is common, you have to pay attention if it becomes a compulsive habit that affects your relationships with others and with yourself. “It is harmful when we stop doing things we like or enjoy because we think that in relation to others it is not well regarded. The same happens when we distance ourselves from people because we feel bad when comparing ourselves to them,” adds the psychologist.

As a result, we end up with a negative and unsatisfied vision of ourselves, which affects our confidence and self-esteem. As psychologist Santiago Herrera clarifies, in this specific case, social networks are the “public dimension of our privacy,” which is why there is such a selection to choose from when we go to post something, as we want to show our best face. Herrera also recognizes that these platforms have been able to promote social impositions by highlighting certain prototypes of how people should act or what people should look like.

Part of the reality

One of the reflections is understanding that social networks are commonly used to create bonds, as communication or marketing tools, and to express empathy for others who share our likes. What should be understood first is that a social network is part of our reality, but it is not reality. “People do not have a problem with who is cute or with a photo, but with their own esthetic vision before society and with their self-image. So, the reflection is not on the people I follow or do not follow, but rather on the issue that is really affecting us,” says the specialist.

As social network users, this whole scenario establishes a responsibility for self-care. Consider that these tools are designed for immediate consumption, that they are part of reality, but they do not show the social background of it, given that popular consciousness has been created by the same social network users. “We adults have the necessity and obligation to question the world we are in, and whether or not we decide to fulfill the social requirements. Sometimes the cost of doing what we want is not complying with social impositions,” comments the psychologist.

370 million Facebook accounts are fake, according to the social network: one of every 6 accounts does not belong to a user.

Related: Knowing oneself and enhancing our self-esteem