Social Media Illusions: Impression Management and Comparison Standards

Social Media Illusions- ImpressionZilla van den Born, a Dutch student, recently spent six weeks posting updates and photos from her gap year tour in Asia on Facebook for her family and friends. She Skyped her parents from her hotel room, posted photos of the exotic foods she was eating, and showed off cultural sites. Except she did it all from home.

ven den Born was conducting a school project to show how people can shape their online profile in a way that vastly differs from reality. It’s not surprising that people use impression management to put their best selves forward on the web; while this is an extreme example, many people highlight the positive and downplay the negative in their social media personas.

This story caught my eye because it speaks to the danger of comparing our own lives to what we see our friends post online. ┬áIt’s natural to feel jealous of the adventures your friends are having, and use them as inspiration for your own plans. Just don’t forget that you’re probably not seeing the whole story.