Could social media be causing us to feel inadequate?

Posted on August 13, 2015


People who regularly use social media are more likely to feel inadequate and like a failure than those who steer clear of it, according to a recent study conducted by Future Foundation, a consumer trends agency.

The research was based on 5,000 Brits and the results showed that approximately one third felt like they were not living up to their own potential. However, this figure rises to over 50% when isolating participants who used social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

It is fair to say that at times, we like to boast about the events that happen in our lives and give in to the temptation of putting a little gloss on it, so we post pictures of ourselves on our holidays and when we look at our best to send subliminal statements to our friends when they’re scrolling through their news feeds.

However, this study shows that this may not be giving us the boost we are seeking, but in fact doing the total opposite. According to the research, we are constantly feeling down about ourselves because we tend to judge our own lives against other people’s successes. The results suggest that appearance, happiness and careers are amongst the things that we compare.

Young men are the demographic that feel these emotions the most, with the study revealing that more than a third of guys between the ages of 25 and 34 desire to be more like the identity they portray on social media than their real selves.

The research company suggests that it’s perhaps not that surprising that younger people feel like this, as they have grown up with constant use of social media. Statistics showed that 63% of 17-33 year olds felt like they were failing in life, whereas only 37% of people aged 55-70 felt the same way.

As well as this, location also had a bearing on results, with 55% of those living in the capital feeling unsatisfied, compared to just under half (47%) of those living in the ‘happiest’ area, the West Midlands.

This study leaves us asking the question, do we really put a misleading gloss on our lives and do we feel a need to compare our own lives to those of our friends?

Operations Manager at Engage Web
Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Operations Manager.
Alan Littler
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