How Social Networks Affect Our Self-Esteem

January 6, 2019

Nowadays, we share moments of our life on the Internet every day. We share photos, videos, and thoughts, hoping to receive ‘likes’ in return. But for what purpose? Do we need the approval of people we don’t see too often to feel like our life is exciting? The truth is that social networks affect our self-esteem in many ways.

And it doesn’t only depend on the number of interactions we get on a post. Although we may not be fully aware of this, there are more factors we should take into account to avoid self-esteem problems that new technologies create.

How social media posts affect our self-esteem

Many people follow influencers, brands, or magazines on social media. Their posts are more similar to advertisements than the day-to-day posts normal people post. In fact, normally, the purpose of these posts is to advertise a specific product.

“Social marketing eliminates the middlemen, providing brands the unique opportunity to have a direct relationship with their customers.”

-Bryan Wiener-

The influence of social networks on our self-esteem usually affects us negatively.

Thus, we constantly see unrealistic images of who we should be or how we should live on our phones. These images show us unrealistic beauty and lifestyle stereotypes. This can lead to great discomfort and even affect our self-esteem.

When we see that our reality doesn’t match with what we’re ‘supposed’ to be and look like, internal conflicts arise. When we see these posts, we set unrealistic and difficult to achieve goals and dreams. Consequently, if we don’t get what we want, our self-esteem is affected.

The lives we see the people we follow in social networks lead is hard to achieve for ordinary people. For example, we may not have enough money to travel as much as they do, eat in the same places, or live in the same houses. However, that doesn’t necessarily imply that our life is worse than theirs, rather that it’s simply different.

Social networks and self-image

Social networks don’t only affect the goals we set for ourselves, nor is that the aspect of our life they affect the most. Social networks can greatly affect our self-image. For example, the female image social media projects tends to favor extreme thinness.

In general, the self-image that everyone wants is very close to the representation that influencers and brands on social media reflect. These posts affect our self-esteem even more if we spend a lot of time on social networks.

Nevertheless, this situation doesn’t only affect women. Apart from what we’ve mentioned, a 2oo7 study by Aparicio Martínez et al found that men also wanted to look like the muscular men they see on social media. However, the difference between both genders is that men are less concerned with fulfilling that beauty standard.

A man using social media.

Of course, we must bear in mind that this doesn’t happen to everyone. In the same vein, having good self-esteem is a protective barrier against everything we’ve talked about and will help us maintain optimal psychological well-being.