Beware of the Fakebookers
What would you do with $2,000? Take a holiday, go on a shopping spree, or get a new Facebook profile photo?
The majority of us would probably pick either of the former, and simply say “thank you” to a friend for taking a drunken photo of us lying in the gutter which we then deem a suitable profile photo…or is that just me? But in India, Facebook Facelifts are a must-have. That is, going under the knife to get a great profile photo for the ‘small’ price of $500-$2,000. Apparently these days, Photoshop is not enough. This Mashable article explains all about the craze, with many stating that if you don’t look good on Facebook, no one will want to marry you.
Reading this article reminded me of some research conducted earlier this year, which found an alarming number of men and women lied about key aspects of their lives on social media. From simply doing something when in reality they’re sitting home alone, to lying about their relationship status…no, that imaginary friend you had as a child does not constitute as having a boyfriend.
So why do so many people lie on social media? Social media offers users the opportunity to become an “ideal” version of themselves; to hide their imperfections which are visible in the real world. Another survey by Barclaycard found 39% lied on social media due to the “pressure of needing to have a good time or sound upbeat” and 33% admitted their lives are “too boring without embellishment”. It seems that social media has given a new standard for people to always be happy, but as human beings, we’re not always happy, so we need to lie about it. But do your friends really care if you’re sat at home refreshing your Facebook feed on a Friday night rather than having a good time in the club you claim to be at? Probably not.
But the truth is, there is a whole other school of fish who probably do care if you claim to “Like” something on Facebook which in reality you don’t, or if you retweet something on Twitter because you might win something – advertisers. Everything you do/say/share/like on social media is a valuable piece of data for brands and advertisers. They use it to provide you with targeted adverts which they believe are relevant to you; if you lie, the advertisements you see will be less meaningful. But why should you care if the adverts and recommendations you’re seeing on social media aren’t exactly relevant? Advertising is often deemed intrusive and annoying anyway…
All of your social media activity is used to help deliver a more personalised experience on social media. If you lie, the experience you’re receiving will be that of some other "fictional" character. In an age where we demand more personalisation, this is a big deal.
So what it all boils down to is this: to get the most out of social media, you have to stop fabricating your life on social media. Start telling the truth. If there is such a thing.