The person you are online may play an influential role in your life. Your facebook, Instagram, or twitter may seem inconspicuous but chances are you are on these profiles almost any time you pick up your phone. The influences of these communities and the personality we portray may actually be advantageous to how we feel about ourselves.
In a study, participants were told to look at their own profile and then received constructive criticism on a speech they had to give. The participants who looked at their own profile “felt more positive emotions and accepted the feedback (Toma, C.L. 2010).” What this tells us is that looking at their own profile helped remind the participants of the value of their life, the friends they have, and importance of their life. This helped them take the criticism better and feel more positive about the critique than those who looked at other people’s profiles.
This study also shows how important and influential social media can be to our daily lives. Those who show us a ‘fake’ life online may make us feel inadequate and question why our lives aren’t as interesting. The reality is that online profiles are only a small clip of daily life. The people in those profiles are selectively sharing their triumphs, while covering up their failures. Little things like this, while viewing other people’s profiles, may make us feel worse in the long run. Considering almost everyone has a social media account, what is the proper way to avoid feeling this way? What is too much to share online, and does everyone have a ‘fake’ life on the internet? These are questions to consider when thinking about the influences of online communities.
Toma, C. L. (2010). Affirming the self through online profiles.Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’10.