Are We Socially Two Faced?
I am the first to hold my hands up and say that I probably care too much about what people think of me. After reading a recent study from the Guardian suggesting that Facebook and Twitter feed anxiety, it got me thinking about how many of my friends also feel pressured to be perceived in a certain way. When it can feel that social sites are a constant reminder of friends’ and colleagues’ accomplishments and lavish lifestyles, is it really any wonder we don’t always feel we measure up?
So, are we socially two faced? Often, we post exaggerated truths about our social lives or achievements as we strive to fit in and be the best. If we are honest, we are probably all guilty of posting to our benefit in the hope that a certain someone will see. Out of the 298 people who were polled by Salford Business School at the University of Salford, for the charity Anxiety UK, 53 per cent said that they had changed their behaviour because of social sites. This begs the questions: ‘Why are we putting this pressure on ourselves and who are we really trying to impress?’
The question of whether we want to be associated with a certain brand by publicly liking their business is something we are often mindful of in the fear of being judged. Similarly though, if you are trying to create a more exotic persona for yourself, you might choose to follow brands that you interpret will be well received by your peers. You can be sure this will be picked up by those who seem to live their whole lives on social networking sites and it is a true example of how we manipulate our social profiles to present an alter-ego.
There are times when all of us would relish a second chance at an impression we have made. At one point or another, the majority of us have spoken before we thought, sent a text to the wrong person or pressed send on a social media site, just as we decided we didn’t want the news to be public. Although news on social networking sites goes live for all to see, we can take a little comfort in that we can amend our slip-ups by editing, deleting and untagging. So that when someone looks at our profile, we can choose which side of our personalities they see.