How creating an “ideal self” online may lead to depressive symptoms and low self-esteem.
Back in 1976, Wells and Marwell found that discrepancies between the perception we have of ourselves and the idealised perception can lead to low self-esteem. The closer together these two constructs are the more confident a person will feel, and likewise if the person they would like to view themselves as is very different from the reality, this will leave them feeling unfulfilled and low. With this in mind it is no wonder that a recent study by researchers from the University of Houston and Palo Alto University found that increased profile access on Facebook is linked to an increase in depressive symptoms. By reinforcing this exterior people become more aware of the subtle differences between the self that other people see and the one whose life they are living.
Social media acts as a filter from us to the rest of the world, only showcasing the aspects that we as universal adjudicators deem worthy of being seen by other people. The only problem is that now we are left with all the other dilemmas and questions that we were too afraid or too cautious to put out there, and the fact that we have to deal with it on our own is why people who use social media can end up feeling socially isolated.