Drugs & Health Blog

Social Media: Nothing But the Truth?

The NIDA Blog Team

Social media is a terrific way to connect with friends, and to see what’s going on with people you admire—like celebrities and athletes—on Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, and other sites.

If you want to be a savvy user of social media, however, it helps to remember that what you see on it isn’t always true, and almost never shows the complete picture.

People tend to present the best possible image of themselves on social media. They share fun things they’ve done and show their most flattering photos, creating the impression that their life is just one good time after another.

Insta-bummed

Ironically, all that positive information can have a negative effect.

For some people, looking at all those “perfect” lives can be a serious downer. Research has shown that the more time a person spends looking at social media profiles, the more likely the person may be to have negative feelings like loneliness and envy, or to feel that their own life is lame compared to others’ lives.

Real fakes

Sometimes “showing yourself in the best light” can go too far. An Australian teen, Essena O'Neill, had over 612,000 followers on Instagram before she quit last year; after quitting, she rewrote many of her photo captions to say that the photos weren’t real life and were mostly designed to sell products.

That may sound like an extreme case, but most celebrities make sure that every image they can control on social media looks great.

And that’s not all. There are a lot of fake social media accounts out there. According to research, up to 8 percent of Instagram accounts—that’s about 24 million accounts—are created by “bots” for marketing purposes. Other fake Instagram accounts are set up by hackers. Many of the fakes are made to look like they belong to celebrities: it’s happened to Beyoncé, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Akon, KRS-One, Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian, and many others.

It isn’t just Instagram. Facebook estimates that approximately two percent of their user accounts are fake or spam; that’s 20 million fake accounts worldwide. And there may be over 40 million fake accounts on Twitter!

You don’t have to completely stop using social media to avoid the downsides. Just keep in mind as you use it that, while it can be fun and informative, social media may—or may not—be showing what’s real, and it definitely isn’t telling the whole story about anybody’s life. 

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.

Comments

I pray that you people of NID will keep up your experiments and studies of knowledge of the damage ALL dope does to the brain. Especially a child's brain that has not finished growing. GOOD LUCK I know too many parents who's children who have been brain damaged already by the lack of knowledge of the seriousness of dope to the brain.
cool
I pray that you people of NID will keep up your experiments and studies of knowledge of the damage ALL dope does to the brain. Especially a child's brain that has not finished growing. GOOD LUCK I know too many parents who's children who have been brain damaged already by the lack of knowledge of the seriousness of dope to the brain.
This is very important i believe for everyone to know about. Everyone is so focused on looking perfect on social media because of the image models, celebrities and many others have started. Dont be a follower be a leader everyone. you are beautiful.
That is true
I think it is so important for people to understand this article and to be introduced to it. I've noticed that so many people are focused on their appearance because of the influences of social media.
many people are changing the way they look for social media and for other people and not for themselves
I feel that Instagram may need to be more stubborn and careful about its rules and regulations. However, people need to begin taking responsibility for what they post and also need to think about what this may mean to others.
Kids today believe everything on the internet.
This is interesting

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