Is Social Media Really Just A Highlight Reel of People’s Lives?

After reading many of the research studies on social media this week, it got me wondering how much social media really influences our daily lives. I find myself constantly checking different social media sites throughout the day to see what is going on with my friends and family, but can this be a bad thing? Does social media create unrealistic expectations of people’s lives by only containing the “highlight reels” of what is really going on?

In a study done by a University of Houston researcher Mai-Ly Steers, she found that being exposed to the constant highlight reel on social media, Facebook in particular, can lead some to have depressive symptoms. Steers explains that “It doesn’t mean Facebook causes depression, but that depressed feelings and lots of time on Facebook and comparing oneself to others tend to go hand in hand.” I found this study interesting because I can attest to falling into the “highlight reel” trap. When I log into Facebook my timeline consists of people traveling to exotic places, landing awesome internships, or getting married/engaged while I am laying in bed with my dog watching “Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” Naturally you start to compare your life with that of your peers and sometimes it leaves you feeling underwhelmed with what is going on with in your life or how you look compared to another person, which is why I am interested in learning what the long term effects this may have on adolescence. So my question is:

  • Does social comparison in adolescence frame their feeling of self worth?

It seems like today more than ever, it is getting harder and harder to be a teenager. It is now important to know the number of likes you got on an Instagram post compared to someone else. The constant need of trying to showcase the positive things in one’s life is becoming the social norm on all social media platforms. This is why I want to know how this will affect adolescence, who are known for being at a crucial age that helps define who they will become later in life. In the TED talk below, Samia Khan talks about some of the pitfalls of social media and how it can effect the people and the way they think. I can admit to being guilty of only posting the fun and exciting things happing in my life, but it seems to me that our society needs to get more real and not only post the good but also the bad. We are all human, we all have bad days!



One thought on “Is Social Media Really Just A Highlight Reel of People’s Lives?

  1. I, toot, find myself only posting about the positive things that happen in my life and it sometimes makes me question whether the people i follow on social media are actually as happy as their lives are portrayed online. I think that social media could potentially have a negative impact on adolescents as well. I know i sometimes find myself comparing my life to people who i follow on Instagram so I’m sure adolescents feel the need to compare themselves as well to those who seem to have “perfect” lives.


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