Social Networking or Social Comparing?

 Social Networking or Social Comparing?

You logged-in into your facebook account and the first post that you see is the status of a friend saying, “Bought a new car today! Yippiee!!!” followed by a series of smileys. Instantly you feel a sense of deep sorrow filling your body from head to toe. Why is that?
The immense popularity of social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Google Plus enables us to constantly peek into the lives of others. If you are a regular user of these websites, you can’t resist yourself from sneaking through the profiles of people you have on your list. There is nothing wrong in doing that. In fact, this is the main purpose of these websites – to keep you connected to the rest of the world.
But the problem starts, when you start comparing your life with others. More and more people have agreed to the fact that they feel depressed and jealous when they see other people’s profiles. Take for instance, the case of Priyanka Bakshi, a 26-year-old journalist, who social-networkingconstantly feels dejected while surfing through social networking websites since profiles of her friends from school and college are filled with pictures and status messages conveying how happy they are with their lives.
When Miss Bakshi sees that people of her age are getting new cars, are going to overseas vacations with their girlfriends or boyfriends and some of them are even planning to get a house of their own, she feels depressed because she doesn’t have a boyfriend nor she is happy with her professional life. People compare themselves to others when they are not happy with who they are and what they have achieved and if you are not comfortable in being you, you are bound to feel dejected.
It is a scientifically proven fact that people who constantly compare themselves to others end up being disgusted by themselves. You need to stop all the comparisons since it is making you feel inferior to others.
We are voyeuristic people – We humans are voyeuristic by nature because we love to keep an eye on what’s happening in other people’s lives, even if we have absolutely nothing to do with them. And our voyeuristic instincts are getting stronger like never before, all thanks to the invention called internet. Social networking websites enable us to anonymously observe everything from a distance. This phenomenon is known as ‘mass social voyeurism’. People with low self confidence usually end up becoming the peeping toms on popular websites. They rarely post anything on their own profile pages and they don’t even comment on other people’s posts, but they keep a close eye on what’s happening in your lives. Go through your friend-list and I’m sure you will be able to identify at least one or two peeping toms yourself!
How you can avoid turning into a ‘social voyeur’ yourself – The last thing you would want is to become a social voyeur yourself. The easiest way of avoiding this is by making sure that you are happy with yourself. Be comfortable with who you are and you will never need to know who has bought what and who has been promoted over whom. The more self acceptance you have acquired, lesser you will get drawn towards vague comparisons. Remember, if you can’t make yourself feel good, you can’t make anybody else feel good about you either.
If you still couldn’t help but feel depressed while surfing online networking websites you can try limiting the time you spend on the internet or you can try distracting yourself by doing other activities that you really enjoy. You need to constantly remind yourself that you are unique in your own individualistic way. Talk to a close friend or your parents and if nothing else works, delete your profile!

Megha Vaishnav

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