Social Media: A Pseudo-reality Taking Over Real Life Interactions

In today’s world with rapidly increasing technological innovations, almost everything happens online, and social media has become a dominant means of communication and interaction. Social media can be described as a means of interacting with people through creating and sharing information in virtual communities. A pseudo-reality is something that isn’t real but can pass off as reality. Therefore, social media can be referred to as a pseudo-reality because it is a medium that imitates the reality of face-to-face interactions.

Before the advent of technology, people communicated mostly through letters and interactions were mostly face-to-face. The advent of social media has made communication a lot easier although it is slowly stealing the feeling of connecting with people, especially loved ones without being disrupted by the buzz of the internet.

social media

The Shifting Landscape of Communication

Online communication is now a norm today and it has made information easy to relay. People can instantly send a message and receive a response without having to write long letters and wait for it to be delivered. Social media has made this easy through the use of emails and text messages.

  Furthermore, technology has made it so easy to do everything from the comfort of your room. From ordering food to working, and even making friends. However, there is a great decline in face-to-face interactions due to an over-reliance on technology. Now, no one wants to meet up physically anymore; everyone just wants to remain at home and do everything.  While the use of technology saves people the stress of having to move about for everything and anything, it is making people more and more uninterested in physically connecting with the outside world.

    Although the response of people on the internet may sometimes be empathetic. The rise in dependence on social media is leading to a decline in the empathy of people online. Nowadays, any random person can hide behind a fake profile and say vile things to a stranger on social media without considering the feelings of the person. Little by little, people seem to be forgetting that behind every profile, there is a person who has blood running through his or her veins and can feel things.

Constructed Realities: The Illusion of Perfection

With social media, 50% of things aren’t real. Everyone tries to create a perfect profile and image to make people see them in a particular way even if their real life doesn’t reflect this image. I can create a profile and make myself be whoever I want to be by creating a perfect illusion and executing my imagination. Honestly, I do not blame some people because that’s how you get the jobs and make significant connections.

However, there is a tendency to get lost in this pseudo-reality. Individuals who try to create a perfect image for their online audience may end up burning out because the pressure to maintain a certain standard and show the world a certain side of yourself can be draining.

Also, there is a concept called FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out. This is a situation where one has a constant fear of missing out on things that other people are doing. This feeling is a result of constantly looking at the perfect people on social media who seem to have their lives together. People who suffer from FOMO tend to always be on the phone obsessing about other people’s lives and making comparisons. They also get caught up with doing new things every time without fully focusing on one because they want to be seen as industrious and successful. And they find it almost difficult to reject offers and say No to requests. 

Constant scrolling through social media can hurt one’s self-esteem and mental health. Spending a ridiculous amount of time on social media leads to individuals comparing themselves with other people and this affects their self-esteem. When a person sees someone of the same age making waves online, even though it is not real, there is a chance that he or she may begin to compare his/her life with that of the person on the internet. 

This in turn leads to the individual having high and unnecessary expectations of himself or herself thereby resulting in low self-esteem.

Furthermore, uncontrolled consumption of social media can make an individual lost in the fake realities of others thereby leading to anxiety. Also, people fail to realize that humans run accounts on social media and when they say vile things to people on the internet, it messes with their mental health and sometimes makes them question their reality. Not everyone is strong enough to receive hate and remain unmoved. Some people get affected by the things that people spew on the internet. 

How to address this issue and deal with it.

1. Take breaks: Sometimes you need to leave social media and touch grass outside. This may be hard for introverts and socially anxious people but it is very helpful. Taking a break from the social media simulation and stepping into the real world and nature helps to clear your mind and put you in a better place mentally. One thing that will help with taking breaks is involving friends and family by planning a hangout or picnic. Or anything that encourages face-to-face interactions and brings you into the actual reality of life rather than the pseudo-reality on social media.

2. Screen time management: This also applies to taking breaks. It is important to take time off your screen daily and this takes intentionality and discipline. Fortunately, technology has made this easy as most mobile devices come with a screen time manager where the user can set a duration of use for each app.

3. Enlightenment on the consequences of bad online behavior: People need to be educated and reminded that although it is impossible to see the person you are communicating with face-to-face, it doesn’t make the person any less of a human. Therefore; in every interaction, it is important to show empathy and refrain from dropping hate comments on other social media users. 

4. Understanding the reality of social media: People need to understand that most things on social media are not real. No one’s life is perfect, however, they will not intentionally show the imperfect side of their lives on the internet. Therefore, before comparisons that reduce self-esteem are made, it is important to be reminded of the fact that very few people have it all figured out in life.

Praise Abidoye

Praise is an academic writer, content writer, proof reader, and sign language interpreter. She is currently writing content and building with new brands as well as start-ups. She has worked with wonderful and talented people across different industries and she is passionate about bringing exceptional and persistent productivity to the forefront of the table. When Praise isn't working, she's reading books and spending time with family.