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Tlon: “The more you ignore other people’s journeys, the less you will be able to enjoy your own”

This article on the impact of social media on the holidays was published in issue 24-25 of the Vanity Fair on newsstands until June 18, 2024.

If our Perception of life is increasingly influenced by what we see of other people’s lives. If some time ago we compared ourselves with neighbors and acquaintances, today social networks intensify this phenomenon, constantly exposing us to the shiny existence of thousands of people who in reality behind the scenes they are often as ordinary as ours. This effect is highlighted during the holidays which are (very slowly) approaching, that is, a period when images of exotic travel and luxury resorts will fill our Instagram feeds, generating “comparanoia”, i.e. comparison anxiety.

Several studies have investigated the impact of social media on diminishing vacation satisfaction in the age of social media. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology emphasized that intensive use of Instagram is associated with greater social anxiety and feelings of inferiority. The more you ignore other people’s journeys, the less you will be able to enjoy your own. The data have
shows that people actually tend to compare themselves to the perfect images of others, often cherished and idealized, developing feelings of inadequacy and disappointment.

In a socio-economic context like the present in which one in 10 boys is poor and 40% fear the future (data from Save The Children), seeing luxury vacations and constant international travel on social media can make many people feel isolated and dissatisfied with their experiences, however enjoyable they may be. This phenomenon has been explored in depth in studies that show how the dissonance between real life and that portrayed on social media lead to strong feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Ultimately, people think that if they can’t have Instagram-like experiences, it’s their fault, lack of commitment or ability. This misconception ignores real economic and social difficulties which most people face on a daily basis. On the other hand, social platforms are designed to maximizing engagement, exposing users to content that elicits strong emotional responses. This design reinforces the cycle of comparison, constantly feeding the desire to measure ourselves against unrealistic standards.

Marketing strategies for influencers they further contribute to this dynamic, promoting a lifestyle that is unaffordable to most people but perceived as desirable and normal. In the society of demonstration of every aspect from life it is essential to create the right distance. We must understand that “other people’s lives online” is a substance that can cause “comparanoia”, dependence and addiction and which must be limited: therefore holidays must not be measured against the unrealistic expectations of others, but through our personal satisfaction and happiness. In this way, we can deal with the influence of social media on our lives with greater awareness enjoy your free time as it really is.

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Source: VanityFair

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