There have been countless studies to suggest that “passive consumption” of your Facebook feed can elicit strong feelings of jealousy and envy (which we didn’t really need science to tell us). And while similar studies have yet to be done on that new-fangled social media network called Instagram, Slate took into its own hands and wrote a lengthy, well-pondered diatribe against the photography app.
Slate said that if reading Facebook status updates can make you jealous, so can looking at pretty photos of your pretty friends with their pretty other friends at a trendy restaurant in the West Village (or something). What’s more, photos make the experience of envy and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that much worse, because nothing sucks more than seeing graphic evidence that you’re missing out.
“I would venture to say that photographs, likes, and comments are the aspects of the Facebook experience that are most important in driving the self-esteem effects, and that photos are maybe the biggest driver of those effects,” Catalina Toma of the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin–Madison told Slate. “You could say that Instagram purifies this one aspect of Facebook.”
Basically, if science is to be believed, social media is making us all incredibly neurotic and insecure about our own lives, because we get falsely informed via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter that everyone else’s lives are richer, cooler, and more exciting than our own.
This, of course, isn’t always true: everyone who isn’t legitimately rich and famous spends just as much time curating their Instagram photos as you do. Which means right before they waltzed into that trendy restaurant with that group of pretty people, they probably cleaned their bathroom with a sponge that should have been replaced months ago or something equally mundane. Instagram just fools us into thinking everyone’s lives are much more glamorous than our own when, really, they’re not.
To read the entire story—and you should, it’s pretty though-provoking—head on over to Slate now!
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