BUT WHAT HAS SO­CIAL ME­DIA DONE TO OUR PSY­CHE?

WE ASK DR ALEKS KROTOSKI ABOUT THE PSY­CHO­LOG­I­CAL BEN­E­FITS OF BE­ING REAL ON SO­CIAL ME­DIA

ELLE (UK) - - The Conversation -

DOES THE ‘IN­STA-PSY­CHE’ EX­IST (A VER­SION OF OUR­SELVES CU­RATED FOR IN­STA­GRAM)?

We’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in how other peo­ple think of us, and so­cial me­dia is the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to scratch that itch. If there is any­thing like an ‘in­sta-psy­che’, it’s sim­ply peo­ple us­ing the most widely dis­trib­uted way to per­form ‘the self’ in a con­trolled way. If you be­lieve there’s a ‘true’ self, then we all search for it in dif­fer­ent ways. In­sta­gram is just the lat­est way that peo­ple are try­ing on and dis­card­ing dif­fer­ent ver­sions of them­selves in an ef­fort to see what fits and what doesn’t.

DO YOU SEE A BACK­LASH AGAINST THE CON­TRIVED PIC­TURES PEO­PLE POST, AND A DE­MAND FOR SOME­THING MORE REAL?

We want to put our best foot for­ward when we think we’re be­ing viewed by oth­ers. With no real knowl­edge of who’s on the other side of the screen, we de­fer to­wards mak­ing our­selves look good. I don’t ex­pect a back­lash per se – we’ve had this de­bate about public per­for­mances of the self for a long time. What is ‘real’ to one per­son may be false to an­other. It de­pends on who you think is watch­ing, and how true it is to you.

WHAT ARE THE PSY­CHO­LOG­I­CAL BEN­E­FITS OF BE­ING MORE AU­THEN­TIC?

We as­sume oth­ers’ psy­cho­log­i­cal well­be­ing based on the slice of life we see on their so­cial me­dia, and we might think that ev­ery­one is hap­pier than we feel. But we’ve chased that ideal since the golden age of ad­ver­tis­ing – now we’re just do­ing it our­selves.

SPEAK­ING OF WHICH, WHY ARE BRANDS LOOK­ING FOR MORE AU­THEN­TIC­ITY?

We’re talk­ing about au­then­tic­ity more now be­cause peo­ple fear we’re not be­ing au­then­tic enough. This is a trend that comes in cy­cles – and right now, we want thumbprints on ev­ery­thing.

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