Although social media is widely used and enjoyed by a significant portion of the population, there is a current wave of people taking a break from technology. Some of them do it to spend more time on other activities, to engage in face-to-face interactions more, or even in response to clickbait articles with titles like “Quitting Facebook Makes You Happier.” And while many tech users could benefit from a little less screen time, time spent on social media is not necessarily wasted or proven to decrease your mood.
Interestingly, time spent viewing your own photos or profile will actually have a positive emotional effect due to our online persona being self-curated. This phenomenon, known as “the curated self,” means that the image of oneself that is cast through the lens of their own profile often consists largely of flattering photos, funny posts, or the like. Essentially, we tend to put our best foot forward when it comes to social media profiles; additionally, one’s posts often contain other people or beautiful landscapes, reminding the viewer of close relationships, former vacations or memorable moments rather than making them anxious about how their lives don’t compare to others’.
However, the interesting thing about that is that because social media profiles tend to portray a curated self, looking at another person’s profile may make you feel jealous, less attractive or boring while you are sitting at home scrolling on your phone, because you’re comparing your average daily life to someone else’s curated one. Keeping this in mind while scrolling through one’s timeline can also be beneficial to avoid getting FOMO (or, the Fear of Missing Out).
Of course, browsing your LinkedIn may not give you that same warm feeling that your Instagram will, despite also being crafted to a certain extent. This is because the type of curation changes with the user’s primary purpose, as differentiates: “social curation is content for interaction with friends, family and acquaintances, spectacle curation is content for strangers and authorities to evaluate, and a business curation is content for the furthering of professional interests. ”
Overall, social media, like technology in general, is not in and of itself good or bad for your emotional and mental well being; rather it depends on how it is used, and for that reason, selfie responsibly.