A Facebook profile will often show a persons’ life, in the view they want you to see it. Some people display “perfect lives” on social media, and then there is a big difference compared to their actual life. Maybe even posting pictures, and only feeling happy or worthy when it reaches a hundred likes.
Facebook provides a resource that can help fulfill the basic human need: social connection. We all care about our reputation, and can easily manage it through social media websites. There is research showing that use of social media may result in decreased well-being – rather than increased well-being, for users. For example “Facebook Fame” addiction, and “selfitis”: the obsession to take selfies. I posted a selfie in the middle of writing this blog post, and next morning it reached 100 likes. There it was. The magic number.
Researchers found that people who gained positive feedback about themselves on Facebook showed stronger activity in one part of the brain – a region associated with “reward”. This part is responsible for the addiction. From studies it appears that Facebook is used to gain attention and boost self-esteem. That can seem positive, but what if the user doesn’t get the same good feeling in the long term? Do they begin to struggle, searching for ways to get more feedback? The same research reports users feeling less confident when comparing their achievements against others, leading to them presenting idealized versions of their life. “The perfect life”.
The condition, can be explained as “the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self, and post them on social media”.“Selfitis” is not classified as a mental disorder, but even if the term isn’t explained in psychiatry books yet, it seems to be an issue among social media users that could result in incidents or worse.
There has been several selfie-related deaths around the world in 2015: Drowning, incidents in contact or close to trains, boats that tipped over, selfies while standing on a cliff and falling off, and even people accidentally shooting themselves. Danny Bowman is a nineteen-year-old British guy, who spent 10 hours a day taking up to 200 selfies for a two-year period. He became so obsessed with taking the perfect selfie that he tried to kill himself when he failed to do so.
Danny told to The Daily Mirror, that: “I would pore over pictures of my idol, Leonardo DiCaprio, and then take selfies in different poses, trying to look like him. But I felt so ugly.” During my previous blog post I explored whether social media can influence us in a bad manner. Does “the perfect life” and appearance of celebrities give us the urge to try looking like them? Danny is the extreme case, but his obsession is real. His struggle is real. The key is to live with social media, rather than living through social media. Finding that balance is individual, and might be a battle of its own.
My selfie-history. 141 selfies out of 295 pictures. #Enoughsaid
(Both pictures are screenshots from my personal Instagram profile. https://www.instagram.com/mekida/)
Would we still strive after all the likes and the perfect life – regardless what celebrities did and said? Is “Facebook Fame” and “selfitis” real concerns, or just a hoax?
Enjoy this day! #YouOnlyLiveOnce