Social Comparison: Is it healthy?

Do you feel a sense of envy when you scroll through your social media networks? Does pictures of a friend’s promotion or a relative’s lavish wedding make you feel inadequate?

Well, you are not alone!

Social comparison is a common issue and a growing concern with social media networks.

However, it is also an unfair measure to put on yourself. This is because most social media users post curated content regarding their accomplishments on their profile. No one talks about the daily struggle and life’s issues.

Let’s face it! No one leads a perfect life! We all have our challenges and flaws that we deal with on a regular basis. And while it may seem that (almost) everyone is leading a surreal life on social media, chances are they may be dealing with their own problems alongside as well.

In this regard, Facebook conducted a study of 37,000 participants in 18 countries to analyze the impact of social comparison in their lives.

As expected, the results showed that social media is making social comparison worse. The participants of the study also admitted that they compared their profiles to others, especially those with posts that have a high number of likes and comments.

The researchers also noted that teenage users experience more social comparison than adults while women are more impacted than their male counterparts.

Interestingly, the survey respondents were content with the posts they see on Facebook – regardless of the competitive feeling they experienced. In fact, when the respondents were asked if they felt worse after seeing the posts, only half said they wished they hadn’t seen it, while a third said they were very happy for the poster.

How to reduce social comparison?

Based on their study, the researchers acknowledge a few ways Facebook can help lessen social comparison on their network. This includes:

· Using filters such as unfollow and snooze to limit such posts on their timeline

· Help people customize their feeds to increase positive posts

· Reduce the focus around feedback counts (likes, comments) on other people’s posts

· Enhance meaningful interactions on the network

· Encourage users to share positive updates about their life, such as someone’s journey towards a specific goal

The researchers also think Facebook can also help make things better by updating its algorithm to reduce the emphasis on content management.

A similar study is also being carried out on the impact of social comparison on Instagram.

Photo: Rawpixel

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