Recently I have been reading a lot of blog posts and research studies talking about Facebook Envy and how people can get depressed because others may seemingly have better lives as reflected by their facebook updates. I have been thinking about this for weeks and have been evaluating related subjects on perception management, personal branding, self esteem, genuineness, core values and credibility. All of these I think being related to the emotions people feel when they are constantly exposed to other people’s social media profiles. Here are some of my thoughts on this ….

  • Self Esteem and a sense of reality: There is no doubt about it that we have a natural tendency to compare ourselves constantly with other people. Grass is always greener on the other side, success is relative to others are concepts that most people at some level understand. It’s also true that how we manage ourselves and how we react to other people’s success is dependent our concept of self worth. A low self esteem will always get you into trouble and consume a person with feelings of envy and depression. A thankful heart for what you have and a good sense of what you are the best antidote to envy and self pity.  We must also remember that no matter what ones social status or perceived success index is, we all have our own issues and problems; many of them don’t ever get reflected or revealed on Social Networks.
  • Perception management is not same as personal brand building: I am a big believer in personal brand building and I do think that we owe it to ourselves to do a good job of it. But personal brand building to me is very different from creating a perception about yourself; the latter can’t take you very far. If you don’t have the meat you won’t finish the race. Personal brands can only be built on strong core values and on a strong foundation of truth. Perception management may bring you short term results but over a period of time people will see through it and you will eventually come across as just a phony.
  • Being real has its own merits: By no means am I suggesting we need to reveal every negative emotion that we may have or be rude and critical most of time even if that’s our base nature. But at the same I am not sure if being political correct and manipulative all the time is being very inspirational. There is nothing wrong in showing that no matter how successful we may be, we can have bad days and that we have a vulnerable side to ourselves.  My personal belief is successful people who can be real about their short comings are often more inspirational.
  • Credibility is most important: Do people believe that what you believe and what you say is what you do? Do you come across as someone who is genuine and without any agenda? Social media is a great tool to establish credibility which ultimately can be a huge differentiator that separates you from next door poser.

So next time when you visit your friends profile think hard before you entertain those thoughts of envy, in the same breadth maintain a level of honesty and humility to your updates.

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4 Responses to The trap of social media envy

  1. Asuthosh says:

    Really perceptive post! And apt for the times. The distinction you draw between personal brand building (PBB) and perception management (PM) resonates very well when you look at the social media space now. Ultimately I think we all indulge in both all the time – the key is the mix. If it’s PM all the way you will become a turn-off. But a 90:10 ratio of PBB to PM will make for an effervescent social presence. And your last statement couldn’t have summed it up better. Honest and humility occasionally sprinkled with a dash of passive aggression just to spice up the interactions a bit, eh?

    • Thanks for your comments Asuthosh 🙂 … Over the years i have begun to realize that merits of being transparent outweigh the efforts on perception management. PM is exhausting beyond a point so if i were to give any personal advice here then i would say be yourself and sleep well at night 🙂

  2. Vyankatesh says:

    Great thoughts.

    Rightly said. These are some important points in today’s social world!!

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