It is not too ambitious to say that social media has become such a powerful part of most of our lives that it’s gone on to influence our buying decisions. We wake up, we check our social media feed. When we’re on our way to work, we’re probably scrolling through the same feed to check in on updates. When we’re done with work, we go out for dinner and take insta stories of the entire night’s happenings.
If you don’t have a Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or other social media account, you might be living under a rock.
Social media is society’s latest drug, and it’s addictive. While social media networks can be an important tool that can enrich your life, they can also take over and consume you without warning.
Sadly, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.
Social Media Has Taken Over
There’s no doubt that social media has taken over our lives. Most people check their Facebook or other social media accounts before they even get out of bed in the morning. It’s also the last thing we do before we close our eyes to sleep at night.
Studies show that the average internet user spends more than two hours a day on messaging and social media. This accounts for a third of the total time that these users spend on the internet daily. A closer look at their activities reveals that half of this time is spent on Facebook and its products.
Social media has become a way of life. We use it to stay in touch with friends, send messages to wider audiences on various topics and to gather support from others that have similar interests or are facing similar situations.
However, like many addictions, social media can be a double edged sword. Users become obsessed. We obsessed over the number of likes, shares and comments that we have. It’s all about receiving that undivided attention so that we can feel good about ourselves.
Here’s a catch. We almost always forget that social media glorifies things. Behind that flashy photo of your favourite celebrity relaxing on a beach may hide deep and personal struggles.
How Social Media Pushes Us To Overspend
With all that’s been said about the power that social media wields, it is no surprise that it’s also influencing how we spend our money. Think about it. When you see your favorite blogger or celebrity with a dress that looks good, you’re likely to order it as soon as possible.
A study has shown that social media actually drives millennials to make unplanned purchases by spending money that they don’t have.
You don’t have to go far to determine whether this research is true or not. Think about the last time you were on Facebook or any other social media network. Now think about what you did during or after your session of browsing.
Chances are that one of the things you did was browse Amazon, ASOS or any other online shopping store absentmindedly. It’s not your fault. It’s hard to resist that flash sale that you saw advertised on Facebook.
However, overspending isn’t just about being enticed by flashy sales ads or the latest trends driven by celebrities. It’s much closer to home. Many people overspend because they want to measure up to the standards set by their friends. They may feel anxious, dissatisfied with their lives, or plain old jealous about what their friends have.
All these boils down to social pressure and the temptations that come along with social media.
The important thing to take note here is that most of these photos don’t document the full story. The picture of your favourite blogger dining happily at a cafe might be hiding some personal struggles she’s currently going through.
The moral of the story is that the things represented on social media should never be taken at face value.
Avoid The Trap
With all that has been said, you must be thinking “So what can be or should be done to solve this problem?”
The important thing to note here is to know how to discern between real and reel. Many people, especially celebrities or bloggers tend to show only the positive side of life on their social media feed. That said, you may never know exactly how they feel, or the struggles they’re going through.
Another thing you can do to prevent yourself from falling further is to mute or unfollow certain accounts that may be making you feel inferior about yourself. To take things one step further, you can also follow accounts or hashtags that promote good social well-being.
Lastly, if all else fails, the last straw would be for you to disconnect from social media once in a while, or take a social media break. It affords you with a new perspective on things and who knows, you might be less inclined to make hasty purchases after!