Whether or not we admit it, we’ve all become online stalkers.
Not like weird trolls or anything sinister, but we all, whether we admit it or not, creep onto people’s profiles and skim through all their photos and status updates – ooh, is there a photo of them in a bikini? What did they wear on holiday? WAIT HAVE THEY GAINED WEIGHT? In fact how can they afford THIS many holidays?
We scrutinise each other all the time, just because we can. Because we have access to so much information about each other’s lives 24/7 without the other person really seeing how much we’re spying. That’s the dream with social media, no-one has to ask to see anything.
With things like MySpace and Facebook it wasn’t as bad because we had privacy settings (admittedly, no-one really ever touched them), but with Instagram and Twitter, the majority of us have our profiles happily open to the big wide world (and oh, we judge anyone that has a closed one. WHO THE EFF HAS A PRIVATE TWITTER ACCOUNT? THAT DEFEATS THE WHOLE POINT!). So, yup. Information EVERYWHERE.
But if we’re constantly scrutinising everyone else, and having everyone else scrutinise us – how is that actually making us feel? The constant need to compare ourselves to other people, the contstant need to assure ourselves that we’re not the most unsuccessful person on our Facebook feed must be having some terrifying effect on our mental health, right?
But it’s too new a concept for there to be any long term studies about how much the 24-hour buzz of social media will effect us both in the long and short term. All I know is, i’m often left jealous and confused by the things I see other people having, the objects other people own, the experiences other people are having, and that can’t be healthy for my mind, surely?
And yes, just like everyone else, I have certain people I hone in on. Certain people I have become slightly obsessed with, and they’re not celebrities. They’re normal girls.
But what do other people on the internet have to say about the social media and mental health combination?
Well, there’s this, from here…
‘Research has shown that young adults with a strong Facebook presence were more likely to exhibit narcissistic antisocial behavior; while excessive use of social media was found to be strongly linked to underachievement at school.
‘So if you take roughly 1.2 billion Facebook users and 450 million people suffering from mental disorders, what do you get? A global pandemic that’s showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon.’
And also this ‘Addiction arises because of the fact that the social media activity stimulates the pleasure centers in your brain, which are thus activated, for example, when people click the “Like” button on your profile, reply to your comments, or make comments on your photo.’
Oh, and also there’s been a study which found this ‘We thought people with low self-esteem may find Facebook a more appealing place to connect with people because they don’t have to have that awkwardness of in-person interaction,’ she says.
‘But, what we found was people with low self-esteem tend to express a lot of negative emotion and not so much positive emotion. The reactions they got wasn’t so great. People with low self-esteem were liked less.’
‘People with high self-esteem posting positive status updates were rewarded with more comments and “likes” by their friends.’
Basically, I want to do my own little bit of research on it. As much as we all have a little giggle and LOL and acknowledge our online stalking habits because it’s just become part of our daily life – is there a running theme on who we’re becoming obsessed with and how we’re becoming obsessed with them?
And, more importantly, how does this change the way we view ourselves?
I’ve got seven speedy stalking questions for you here, answer them for me, will you?