Unravelling The Social Media Fraud
We've all been caught up with the grandeur of the lives of others expressed on social media. Our Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat stories are filled with videos and images of our friends enjoying their lives, spending a fortune on shopping and vacationing at luxurious, expensive destinations around the world. These stories are updated and replaced with more content, leading us to believe that others around us are leading far grander, better lives than we think. But is that really so?
The answer is not as simple as 'yes' or 'no'. The answer lies in the intention behind creating the content.
Is it a business page/profile?
If the person or page you follow is a media influencer who reviews exotic places for a living, then there is an element of exaggeration to the truth in order to make the 'product' more marketable. That does not imply that their opinions and thoughts are not genuine; it simply means that their posts are created to attract the attention of others to fulfill their business's aims and objectives. Thus, the creative content you view on social media has been molded to improve 'product' sales and create a state of 'the ideal fantasy'.
Is it a personal page/profile?
From my experience as a coach and helping some with their anxiety of looking perfect on social media, I've recognized two key intentions behind people's online behavior:
- The page or profile is indeed a true reflection of the user's personality and lifestyle - the way they write or create content is a form of self-expression, much like an artist's creation. Through their posts and stories, they try to convey their thoughts and opinions and want others to see them as they are. Such a person's content or page isn't cause for concern - they are just being themselves anytime, anywhere!
- The Fraud: Here comes trouble! A 'social media fraud' is someone who portrays a 'fake' persona and leads you to believe that their life and experiences are nothing short of 'perfect'. This person is not only dangerous to themselves, because they refuse to acknowledge life's quirky, yet teachable imperfections, but they also put out a negative vibe to influence the behavior of their viewers.
The social media fraud's online content stems from a place of ingenuity and 'lacking of'. For instance, they may look for validation online because of low self-esteem or a troubled past. This almost leads to a split in personality - their online life showcases them as someone else, but in reality, they find it hard to come to terms with day-to-day situations. The struggle of trying to keep up with the facade of social media and real life could eventually lead them to a decline in overall emotional health in the long run.
The life of a social media fraud puts immense pressure on the viewer to follow suit - they feel that if they do not experience what the 'frauds' do, they will fall back socially and at times, emotionally. The so-called ideal that the fraud creates becomes a life the viewer chases to achieve, resulting in the rise to a vicious cycle of more 'frauds' online.
Can you save yourself from being a fraud?
Absolutely! My advice to people on encountering the 'ideal' life of the social media fraud is to assess their present situation socially, emotionally, financially etc. Once you've made a list of where you currently stand, think about where you'd like to be in all these aspects. While identifying your present achievements and future aspirations, try to collect pictures or content online of things that inspire you and only use them as inspiration and not COMPARISON!
Put simply, don't create and live a so-called 'ideal' life that does not reflect the real you. It's alright to post positive content that inspires you to reach your goals, however, try to steer clear of materialistic possessions or experiences that are far from reality - this can be very damaging to you and also, your viewers!
If you know of any 'fake' social media influencers or feel guilty of being one, it's time for a reality check where you reflect on the negative effects your content has on you and those in contact with you.