Ever felt like you were living two lives: your real life, and the one you show on social media?
In the digital age, online personas are the ones we spend time perfecting. And why not? Everyone from friends to relatives and future employers are watching. It’s natural to want to put your best foot forward and in doing so, create a version of your life that’s engaging, inspirational, and aspirational.
Public Service Announcement: Your friends appear a lot richer on social media than they actually are.
At first glance, it might seem like your social media obsession has nothing to do with your personal wealth. But you might be surprised to find how much it can cost you.
SOCIAL MEDIA MAKES IT HARDER TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES.
The “Joneses” can be anyone—a person or couple that seems like they have it all: Attractive spouse, great apartment, high-paying job, etc. It’s only natural to compare yourself to them and find yourself lacking. But we have news for you: The Joneses have their own problems! Things are rarely as rosy as they appear.
It used to be easier to ignore the Joneses of the world and focus on your own life. Now, with constant images bombarding us on social media, there’s no escaping the seemingly endless number of people living enviable lives. But here’s another #truthbomb: People look a lot richer on social media than they actually are.
Insta-envy is SO real. Continuous exposure to tempting images has a subliminal effect on our behavior—especially our spending habits. We feel like we should buy that pair of shoes or book that vacation because everyone else is doing it. But remember: You have no idea what goes on behind closed doors (or social posts). The Joneses could be in credit card debt, living a life they can’t afford, or have no savings. Their behavior today could easily come back to bite them in the future, when you, H.E.N.R.Y.™, are living your #bestlife.
TIME SPENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS TIME LOST.
Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you should never visit a social page again. Instagram, Snapchat, and others are fun ways to keep up with friends and the world around you. But if you’re finding that you frequently scroll so far down your Facebook feed that you’re seeing repeat posts, and you can’t remember a time before you starting scrolling, it’s time to back away from your device.
While we enjoy social media as much as the next person, there are many better ways to spend your time. Pick up a side hustle, learn a new skill, or read that book your mom gave you. Embark on a journey of self-improvement that doesn’t involve buying things you don’t need or stalking people who’ve remodeled their kitchens.
The easiest way to get rid of social media FOMO is to stop looking and start doing. You might find that after a few Instagram-free weeks, you won’t even care what other people are doing, because you’re on your way to great things, too.
IT’S GOTTEN REALLY EASY TO BUY ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
Retailers have gotten very good at targeting the right audiences with their merchandise. Ever wonder why 2 seconds after you google “Omega watches” Omega ads pop up on your social feeds? Companies pay money to find out what people are searching for. They then use that data to advertise directly to people they know are interested.
To top it off, many retailers have rolled out simple, beautifully designed feeds and sites that make it easy to buy. One minute you’re scrolling Instagram, and the next, you’re inputting your credit card info without ever leaving the app. It’s a genius move on the part of the retailer—welcoming apps and targeted advertising campaigns make it hard to realize you’re being sold anything.
Next time you find yourself online shopping, ask yourself: do I actually need this, or am I just buying it because it’s right in front of me?
Before we sign off, we should discuss micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers are people with a social media following of 30,000+ who get paid to advertise products on their social feeds. Successful micro-influencers can make as $10,000/month in sponsorships! If you have that kind of following and an knack for creating eye-catching posts, then you may actually be able to profit from social media.
However, if you have less than 30,000+ followers, it can be risky to invest too much in the Insta-façade. For most of us, keeping up with the Joneses (or the @joneses) is more likely hurting our net worth than helping it grow. And trust us, most people care more about their own feeds than they do about yours. Money spent making it look nice is probably money wasted.