Copyright 2016 Zane Rozzi. All rights reserved.
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Zane Rozzi is a successful entrepreneur. He is also well known in the field of executive development. Zane Rozzi has a large and loyal following as a pickup artist who teaches others the keys to success in attracting the opposite sex. He designed and produced the popular and highly praised Communication Fundamentals course.
Before we get started, it’s important to note this book is in no way giving medical advice. The purpose of this book is to provide general information that may be of interest.
Depression is a serious medical condition, which requires treatment by a qualified medical professional. If you’re in crisis, or having suicidal thoughts, you should immediately seek the help of a qualified medical professional.
As an expert in communication skills and psychology, the many ways in which social media disrupts both fields are very interesting to me. I wrote this book as a pet project. It’s a bit of a departure from my usual work. Because of the success of my other bestselling books on psychology, and my popular and highly praised Communication Fundamentals course, I’ve decided to give away this pet project for free. I feel my status as a successful author has already been established; so I have no qualms with giving away this work for free. Please feel free to share this book with anyone you believe might benefit from the content.
The event that got me thinking about the problem took place while I was on vacation in beautiful Hawaii. It was great to be in Hawaii. The vacation was a getaway from winter. The weather was much warmer in Hawaii than it was at home. I was 8 days into my 14 day trip. The sky had been constantly clouded over and pouring rain for the past 7 days. I was still having a great time, but I wasn’t relaxing under a sunny blue sky like I had imagined when booking the trip.
Finally, in the afternoon of the eighth day, I was treated to one of the beautiful scenes I was looking forward to. The sky was clear and blue and the sun was bright and hot. It was perfect. I spent the whole afternoon outdoors enjoying the sun in beautiful Hawaii.
That evening, I saw a post on social media. The post was a beautiful picture of the perfect day in a tropical paradise. Along with that picture was the caption: “Another beautiful day in Hawaii!”
I thought the person who made the post must have been on a different island, or at least on the other side of the island I was visiting. The caption another beautiful day in Hawaii implies that each of the previous days looked just as beautiful as the one in the picture. After a brief conversation, I learned the person who made the post was staying less than a mile away from me on the same island. She had also experienced the same gloomy and rainy weather I had for the past 7 days. The discussion included how visiting Hawaii was intended to be a sun vacation for both of us and how we both wished we could have seen more of the sun.
After the discussion, it became clear to me the picture captioned another beautiful day in Hawaii was clearly misleading people by implying every day looked like the one pictured. The person who made the post was attempting to brag to all of her friends back home by stretching the truth to imply she was having the perfect dream vacation. That’s not to say she wasn’t enjoying her vacation. But she admitted being disappointed by the same rainy weather I had experienced for the past 7 days.
She strategically took the picture posted to social media at the most opportune moment in the past 8 days then made it seem as if she could have casually snapped that picture at any moment during the past 8 days.
So why did she do that? Probably for a couple of reasons.
First, as we’ll discuss, to brag to all of her friends about her vacation. Her friends commenting favourably upon her post would make her feel good and boost her confidence.
Second, to make herself feel good about her vacation. She probably invested a lot of time, effort, and money into planning and booking the vacation. She probably also had to make a number of arrangements to make the trip work out such as booking time off work, arranging for a house sitter, possibly finding someone to care for pets, and preparing everything at home to be left without her attention for at least two weeks. She needed to make herself believe she made the right choice. It would be difficult for her to accept maybe she could’ve had a better vacation and seen more sun by travelling to Mexico, the Bahamas, or the Cayman Islands.
People browsing that post were probably successfully duped by it. They would read the comment, see the picture as proof, and then take it at face value. Typically, most people won’t assume their friends are lying to them on social media. You don’t stop and think, with Hawaii having a tropical climate, it’s unrealistic to expect to go two weeks straight without a single drop of rain. If they claim that’s what happened, you have no reason to doubt them. You assume their exceptional story is the truth.
What’s so bad about the little white lie to make everyone think every day in Hawaii looked just as perfect as the picture? Everyone does it. You’ve probably caught your friends doing it when posting about events that you’ve also attended. Although you don’t want to admit it, you can probably recall a few times you’ve done it yourself.
Despite appearing harmless, the white lie does damage to the people browsing the post in their social media feeds. To demonstrate, pretend for a moment I hadn’t been in contact with her. I would’ve seen the post, and believed she spent the last week in Hawaii enjoying the beautiful sunny blue sky pictured in her post. I would’ve then compared her beautiful and sunny vacation to my gloomy and rainy vacation. My vacation then looks disappointing in comparison to hers. I would have still enjoyed my vacation, but I would’ve been jealous of hers. I would’ve wished that I could have also enjoyed seven days straight under a beautiful sunny blue sky just as I had imagined when booking the trip.
But it wouldn’t have been just me. It would’ve been all 600 of her social media friends and followers. Any of her friends and followers who saw her post in their social media feeds would have compared their last tropical vacation—which probably had at least a few days of rain—with her perfect vacation. Consequently, in the back of their minds, they are jealous of her vacation and wish their last vacation could have been as perfect as hers. After all, aren’t they just as deserving of a perfect vacation as she is?
A large portion of the world’s population with internet access uses social media. A significant increase in the use of social media has been a substantial lifestyle change for many people over the past few years. Consider how many hours the average person spends using social media each week—or even each day. The use of social media is relatively new. It didn’t exist only a short time ago. So far, the effects of using social media are not completely understood.
For many people, social media consumes a significant portion of their time each day. They are constantly staying up-to-date with everything posted by celebrities, their friends, hobby or interest groups, and their favourite businesses. Browsing all of those updates means people are taking in a significant amount of information from social media each day. They’re also spending time on social media to express themselves. They’re creating information for other people to take in.
It might not seem like people are using social media that much when it’s only a few minutes here and there. If people took the time to add up those minutes, many of them would be surprised to learn how the minutes add up to hours over the course of a week. The more time people spend on an activity, the more opportunity that activity is given to affect them.
This book cannot offer any scientific evidence proving a causal relationship between social media use and depression. This book will, however, present a number of theories and anecdotes I believe many people will find worth considering. Much of it should seem like common sense.
Until the proper research has been conducted, the theories and anecdotes presented in this book should be considered the opinion of the author—not established facts.
Whether or not you agree with the opinion that follows is up to you. I hope the ideas presented in this book get you thinking critically about the ways social media could be affecting you and others.
Many people feel like they’re in a constant state of competition with others. That is something they feel automatically, without thinking about it. They’re constantly comparing themselves to others as a means of determining whether or not they’ve made the right life choices. Comparing themselves to others gives people feedback on how their life choices measure up to those made by others. People judge their own success by how their results measure up.
People feel good about themselves when they believe they’re doing better than other people. Doing better than others reassures people they’re making the right life choices.
Similarly, people feel bad when they believe others are doing better than they are. When people see others excel in an area, or obtain something interesting, they believe they should also have those accomplishments in their own life. People believe they should be worthy of the same accomplishments as anyone else.
People second-guess their own life choices when they observe others outperforming them. They begin to wonder whether they’re doing things right, or how things could have been different if they had made different choices earlier in their lives. Doing so can cause them to spend more time than they should dwelling on the past.
It’s impossible to know what the future will bring at the time life choices are being made. People usually make the best choice given the information they have available at the time.
Social media has taken the comparison process and magnified it exponentially. Unintentionally, social media has become a large forum for people to compare their own lives and accomplishments to those of others.
Social media provides people with the platform to put their lives on display to others. It allows anybody to look through other people’s lifestyles and accomplishments. While browsing through the accomplishments of others, people automatically begin comparing themselves to others. They are free to browse through everyone’s exciting vacations, fun nights out with friends, major purchases, new career opportunities, and any other exciting things happening in other people’s lives.
All of that information from other people’s lives is available in nearly real time. Most people carry their smart phones with them at all times. Social media apps and smart phone cameras allow people to capture and share anything exciting happening in their lives at that moment. As a result, anyone browsing a social media feed can see the events of other people’s lives as they take place.
Before social media, people didn’t have that kind of access to the events of other people’s lives. In the past, people would’ve heard about the life events of others through the grapevine, or shared days or weeks after the events took place. But now, everyone has a front row seat. Not only are the events often posted to social media in real time, but they are also often posted with multimedia such as pictures and videos, which give the observers a vivid means of experiencing the event.
Smart phones are able to record high definition pictures and videos. The high definition pictures and videos posted on social media have a much bigger effect on people than simply hearing about the event through the grapevine a few days later. Multimedia, posted in real time, gives people a vivid experience to compare with their own lives.
The comparison problem, however, becomes even worse because social media is not an honest picture of other people’s lives.
People like to brag. They always have, and probably always will. People care about looking good in front of others because they want others to think highly of them. People seek out credit for anything they’ve done. Some people even try to claim credit for things they haven’t done.
In addition to comparing themselves to others, people also seek out reassurance they’re making the right life choices by soliciting positive feedback from others. They solicit positive feedback by bragging about their accomplishments. The positive feedback, in the form of compliments, fulfils people’s fundamental human need for self-esteem. It makes them feel good about themselves.
Social media has become one of the main conduits people use to fulfil their need for self-esteem. They’ll brag about their accomplishments on social media hoping someone will pay them a compliment. Some people brag directly, while others take an indirect approach and post something vague to lure others into asking questions.
People are trying to look as good as possible to others through social media. To accomplish that goal, they must post updates that make them look good and avoid posting updates that make them look only average or reflect poorly upon them. Consequently, people are posting only the highlights of their lives. The people browsing social media are observing only the best of the best from everyone else.
People posting only the highlights are trying to create an online persona, which everyone can see, that paints them in the best possible light. They’re bragging about their accomplishments, vacations, fun nights out with friends, career success, major purchases, and anything else exciting going on in their lives. They write updates as if nothing could be better. They seem to be making all of the right life choices. They’re trying to influence the opinion of others through their posts so they can feel better about themselves. The more positive feedback they obtain through social media, the better they feel about themselves and their life choices. There’s nothing wrong with that. Wanting to be accepted by others is human nature.
To maximize that effect, many people ensure every picture posted to social media is taken from the perfect angle to highlight their success or accomplishments in the best possible way. Some people actually spend quite a bit of time arranging the scene before taking a picture to be posted on social media.
Social media updates are not just pictures, the updates also include written descriptions. Just like optimizing a picture to show themselves in the best light, people also write descriptions in a way that makes themselves look as good as possible. They creatively select what to include in the description and what to leave out. The description will be strongly biased toward the positive aspects. Their descriptions depict ideal scenarios to be shared with others. The real scenario often does not match the ideal scenario.
The perfect picture combined with the ideal scenario is posted to social media under the guise of a random quickly snapped picture and an impromptu description of what’s taking place. People give others the impression the posted picture and description accurately describe the entire event. They try to make it seem like the picture could’ve been casually taken at any time throughout the extraordinary event.
The deceptive effect is magnified further because the people browsing social media usually take the posts at face value. The people browsing the posts don’t take a moment to consider how the pictures are strategically taken from the best angles and the descriptions are strongly biased toward the positive aspects. When viewing the pictures, people can’t see the work that went into taking the pictures. They see only the end results.
The example given above, another beautiful day in Hawaii, is only one person making one post which greatly exaggerates the truth to make herself look good. Every day, however, people’s social media feeds are filled with hundreds of posts just like the exaggerated post described above. People want to make themselves look good to everyone else around them. People like to brag and need recognition from others to boost their self-confidence. They are fishing for compliments from anyone who sees their posts. Most of the people posting to your social media feed are the same way.
When people post only the absolute best parts of anything, and imply the best parts are normal or average for them, they manipulate everyone’s opinion of them and their accomplishments. Their posts make it look like they’re living the perfect life. You then see those posts and believe they are living the perfect life. You automatically assume everything is going great for them, since that’s how they portray their experiences on social media.
When using social media, you are browsing through hundreds of posts in which everyone you know is bragging about their perfect lives. Sure, there is the odd complaint mixed into your feed, but the majority of the posts are people bragging. Every day you see hundreds of highlights from perfect lives. That makes it seem like everyone’s life is filled with unrealistically extraordinary events.
When are you most likely to browse through social media? When you’re bored. You’re most likely browsing through social media because there is nothing exciting going on in your life at that moment. You’ve got a few minutes of boredom to pass and you take advantage of social media to pass the time.
Everyone’s life goes through highs and lows. You likely agree, when you’re bored enough to use social media, your current mood is closer to a low than it is to a high. So there you are, in the middle of a bland and boring moment in your life, comparing other people’s exaggerated perfect lives to your own bland and boring moment. If you were in the middle of a high point in your life, other people’s highs would seem more comparable to your own life—despite some exaggeration. But that’s not when you end up using social media to compare yourself to others. Instead, you make the comparison when you’re at your worst and they’re at their best. That makes the apparent difference in quality of life seem drastically more significant.
Almost anything other people are doing appears more exciting than being bored and looking at your phone screen. That comparison brings you down. You regret being bored looking at your phone while other people are travelling the world, having fun with their friends, making exciting new purchases, making great memories, and accomplishing their life goals. You wish you could be experiencing what other people are experiencing at that moment.
You are superior to other people in some way as a result of a skill you possess or something you’ve accomplished. Similarly, other people are superior to you in some way because of a skill they possess or something they’ve accomplished. For instance, you might be a better football player than someone else. The other person, however, could be a better hockey player than you.
No one can be the best at everything. It’s simply impossible. For most people, it’s not even realistic to expect to be the world champion at any one thing. Out of all the people in the world, there is only one person who can be named the best at any one thing. Moreover, it’s nearly impossible for any one person to be the best at more than one thing.
Chances are, many people are better than you at many different things. That’s a fact of life. Many of those people are probably also posting to your social media feed. But on the flipside, you’re better than other people at many different things. There are people browsing your social media posts who envy your skills and accomplishments.
The problem is, on social media, people’s posts are strongly biased toward their strengths. Most people don’t post things they are struggling with. That’s not to say there are no complaints in your social media feed. Some people do occasionally use social media as a forum to vent their frustrations to the world. The overwhelming majority of posts in your social media feed, however, are positive. People tend to post about winning sports tournaments, winning awards, and accomplishing other feats that prove they have strengths in some area.
For example, you might see people make posts indicating they are excited about an upcoming sports tournament. If they won the sports tournament, you’ll see pictures of the celebration after the game, pictures of them holding a trophy, pictures of everyone on the team holding up a number one, and any number of other positive photos showing the celebration. The captions along with the pictures will be some form of bragging about winning the tournament. All of that stuff is often posted to social media only minutes after winning the tournament. They’ll make a quick post from the field or locker room bragging to everyone about winning.
If they lost the tournament, however, there would likely be silence on their social media page. The average person won’t logon to social media minutes after losing the game to post pictures of themselves frowning along with their sad teammates. They won’t be in a rush to urgently make comments about how they came up short, screwed up, or could’ve done better.
People aren’t posting about their weaknesses, or areas in which you can beat them. People are quick to post their strengths and very slow to post their weaknesses—if they do at all. The reason for doing so comes back to people’s desire to look good to others.
As a result, you see a lot of strengths and very little weaknesses in your social media feed. So what happens? You don’t think about the 10 things in which you can beat every one of your friends and followers. Instead, you focus on the 200 things in which 200 different people can beat you at.
You’re not comparing your average skills to their average skills. Nor are you comparing your best skills to their worst skills. Instead, you’re comparing yourself with the material available in your social media feed, which consists primarily of other people’s strengths. You are, therefore, comparing all of your weakest and average attributes to their strengths.
The people you’re following on social media are going to be at a variety of different life stages. Many life events and accomplishments are more common at certain life stages than others. Thus, someone who is 18 years old, and just getting started out in adult life, should not expect to have accomplished everything people who are 30 years old have accomplished. People need to recognize and accept what is common at their life stage to ensure they have realistic expectations.
Different life stages also restrict or free people in different ways. People who are 18 years old, with relatively few commitments and responsibilities, can do much different things at that stage in their lives than people who are 40 years old and have lives filled with responsibilities and commitments.
It’s not reasonable for an 18-year-old, who is just getting started, to compare the car he or she drives to a luxury vehicle driven by someone who is 40 years old and at a more advanced stage in his or her career.
It’s equally unreasonable for someone who is 40 years old, with a committed career and family life, to expect to be out partying every night like someone who is 18 years old could be. The 40-year-old should not be comparing his or her slower social life with the social life of someone at an earlier life stage who would be expected to have a much more active social life. The 40-year-old should also refrain from comparing his or her responsibilities to an 18-year-old’s freedom to spend a year travelling across the world.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each life stage. Comparing yourself to people at different life stages is not an equal comparison. It’s especially unfair to compare people’s exaggerated highlights from their different life stages to the boring moments of your own life stage.
Nobody’s average can compete with somebody else’s highlights. Thus, it’s easy to see the faults in comparing the average moments of your life to the exaggerated highlights of other people’s lives. That contrast can make our own lives look less satisfying in comparison. But that’s not really what we’re doing while we’re comparing ourselves to other people on social media. It gets much worse than that.
What people often end up doing, although they’re not consciously aware they’re doing it, is combining everything they see in their social media feeds—from hundreds of different people—into one super person.
Consciously, people know what they are seeing in their social media feed is being posted by several different people. That’s obvious. However, subconsciously, everything in their social media feed is combined and becomes the life of one super person. It’s the impossibly extraordinary life of that one super person which most people end up comparing their own lives to.
People don’t make that comparison intentionally. They know better than that. If they were to step back for a moment, and consider what they’re doing, they would realize the error. Most people, however, don’t take that moment to consider what they’re doing.
Comparing yourself to everything going on in your social media feed is creating an impossible standard to live up to. When you think about it, you know that no one person could possibly accomplish everything you see in your social media feed. That super person couldn’t possibly exist. You do, however, compare one person—yourself—to that super person.
Making that comparison creates the unrealistic expectation one person should be able to compete with the fictional super person. No one can. That comparison is only setting you up for a guaranteed failure.
No one person could possibly have all the resources required to do everything you see in your social media feed. Even if people had the money to do everything, they probably would not have the skill to do everything, and they definitely would not have the time to do everything. Moreover, people cannot be more than one place at the same time. No one can be surfing in Hawaii at the exact same time they are seeing their favourite band live in New York.
Two people in your social media feed, however, could each be doing one of those things. By comparing yourself to the super person, within the span of 30 seconds, you could be wishing you were surfing then immediately wishing you were also at a concert listening to your favourite band.
No one has unlimited resources of every kind. Everyone is limited in time.
People vary in the way they are limited by resources. Some people might have more money than you, but you might have more free time than they do.
Everyone allocates their resources differently based on their own personal preferences. You might be jealous of the way someone in your social media feed spent a large portion of their resources on an extravagant house. Your living arrangement could look depressing in comparison. At the same time, the person with the extravagant house might be jealous of the way you spend a large portion of your income going on vacations to exotic locations. Both you and the other person want everything. The super person has everything, so why can’t you?
People spend their resources on what is most important to them at that moment. You should be content in knowing that you chose what you valued most. Without a question, having the nice things other people have would be great, but you would probably not be willing to forgo something you thought was more important to get those nice things.
Giving the super person unlimited resources is another area where you run into trouble. Your social media feed is probably filled with people bragging about exciting new toys they’ve purchased. Their toys could be anything from the newest Apple product to a new motorcycle. You might find yourself envying all of the toys at once—wishing you could have everything that everyone in your social media feed has. The super person has all of those toys, so why can’t you?
Do you know why your friends are posting excitedly about their new toys? Because it’s a big deal to them. They’re excited about the purchase and want to brag about it. Why are they excited? Because just like you, they can probably only afford to buy a very limited number of new toys each year.
When browsing your social media feed, with updates from hundreds of people, you’ll find the super person is buying several exciting new toys every day. That gives you the false impression all of your friends are always buying exciting new stuff. Consequently, you feel left out and at a disadvantage.
The super person is also experiencing the best of every life stage at once. The super person spends five nights a week out partying with his or her college roommates. The super person also has a senior position in a high paying career that enables him or her to live in a fancy house and drive a luxury car. The super person also has the three cutest kids you’ve ever seen. The super person is also able to spend a year travelling the world because he or she has no responsibilities or commitments.
None of the individual people in your social media feed have all of those things at once. You, however, envy the super person having all of that at once. You might wish you had the social life of your younger friends, the family life of your older friends, the freedom to travel possible for your friends with no kids, and the money and career success of your friends who are at a later stage in their careers than you.
You could expect to have each of those things in your own life, but at different times, during different stages of your life. You lose one of those things as you move on to obtaining the next. No one can have all of those things at the same time.
Comparing yourself to only one person makes it easy for you to win several of the comparisons. It’s easy to find a number of things you can do better than any one person. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. No one is the best at everything.
It is, however, impossible to win while comparing yourself to the exaggerated highlights of hundreds of people combined into the super person. While browsing your social media feed, take a moment to consider which of your friends can beat the super person. Not your friend with the nicest car, or your friend the best job. Neither can your friend with the most interesting social life. Not even that one friend who took a selfie in front of every major landmark across the world. No one can beat the super person.
Once in a while, someone will complain on social media. They use social media to vent their frustrations to the world. The vast majority of people, however, don’t complain much on social media. Complaining makes their lives seem unpleasant and frustrating to others browsing their posts. Instead, most people are trying to make themselves look good to others.
If someone has a boring and average dinner, you are probably not going to hear about it on social media. This week, you’ve probably had a few average dinners yourself. How many of those boring and average meals did you post about on your social media pages?
If the boring dinner was served by an extremely rude waitress, people might choose to vent about the service on social media. But, if nothing was out of the ordinary, they probably wouldn’t bother posting about it. For that reason, the super person has very few boring and average moments appearing in your social media feed.
However, if the people eating a bland dinner in an ordinary restaurant spotted a celebrity sitting at the table next to them, you better believe a picture of that celebrity will end up on those people’s social media pages. The people who spotted the celebrity will brag to their social media friends and followers about seeing the celebrity in real life.
When you see the celebrity sighting in your social media feed, you falsely assume the person who made the post had an extraordinary day because they saw that celebrity. You probably wouldn’t be imagining specific details to fill in the rest of their day, but you would probably assume the rest of their day was more exciting than your average day.
You don’t think about how that person might have been stuck in the worst traffic jam ever that morning, had an extremely busy and stressful day at work, then had a boring and average dinner at an overpriced restaurant before spotting the celebrity. That sounds a bit pessimistic, but it’s probably closer to the truth than what you might automatically fill in for the rest of that person’s day based upon their post about the celebrity sighting.
When comparing your day to their day, be careful not to automatically assume their entire day was at the same high level of excitement they felt when spotting the celebrity. The rest of their day, and the last three days before that day, were probably just as average as your last few days.
A lot of boring and ordinary stuff happens to you throughout the day. That type of stuff happens to everybody. However, if that ordinary stuff is not something you would post about, it’s probably not something other people will post about either. Although you don’t see it, all of the people in your social media feed spend most of their time doing the same ordinary stuff you do.
The super person’s life, as you see it in your social media feed, is like a movie trailer. All of the slower and average parts of the movie don’t make it into the trailer. Instead, the movie trailer shows only the best parts to make the movie look as interesting as possible. The super person’s life appearing in your social media feed does the same thing. You’re shown only the best parts, making it look more interesting than it really is.
People don’t post their average everyday happenings because those activities are boring. Those activities don’t interest other people, have zero value for bragging, and are poor bait when fishing for compliments.
You don’t watch a movie to see someone live a life that is completely average. That would be a terribly boring movie. Instead, you watch a movie to experience events that are more exciting than anything going on in your life at that moment. The movie must be filled with exciting events, problems worth solving, and interesting characters. In a good movie, every scene has a purpose. Something entertaining and relevant happens in every scene.
To hold your interest, your social media feed requires the same thing. You would have no interest in browsing your social media feed if all of the posts were about events more boring than what you’re doing at that moment. Like a good movie, you want to be entertained by seeing a bunch of interesting and exciting posts. You want to experience things that are more exciting than what’s going on in your life at that moment—while you’re bored enough to be browsing social media.
Reality TV is extremely popular. A large portion of the shows on TV now are reality shows. The reality shows that seem to attract some of the largest audiences are those which are filled with drama, conflict, and people experiencing problems.
What is it that makes those shows so appealing? Although some people might not consciously realize it, one of the reasons they watch those shows is to contrast the life and problems of the people on those shows to their own life and problems. The comparison makes most people feel better about their own life and problems. Some people watching the shows think: “Sure I have some problems, but at least I don’t have it as bad as those people.”
Other people enjoy watching those shows because it makes them feel superior. They feel superior when they know the solution to the reality show characters’ problems. They enjoy watching the person try to work through the problems while they know what the person should be doing. They get a boost in confidence when they guess the correct answer to a game show question and the contestant gets it wrong.
In both cases, watching reality TV makes people feel good about themselves.
You feel good when your problems are not as bad as the problems of others. You also feel good when you feel superior to other people. What do you think happens when you compare yourself to someone you believe is superior to you? What about when you compare yourself to someone who is vastly—and impossibly—superior to you, like the super person?
Your own life and problems look worse by comparison. The contrast between the exceptional super person and you being bored during the average day makes your average day look bland by comparison.
Your average day might have consisted of going to school or work then spending the evening at home. While at home, you’re able to browse a social media feed filled with exciting things other people are doing at that moment.
If your social media feed was filled with drama and negative events, like reality TV, you could get the same confidence boosting effect as watching reality TV. Social media posts, however, are strongly biased toward the positive. Most people make posts that brag about things. Hence, there are hundreds of opportunities for you to contrast the exciting things happening in your social media feed with the moment you’re bored and browsing social media. There are very few opportunities to get a boost in confidence by seeing posts showing people who are worse off than you. Other people’s bias toward making positive posts makes your comparison biased as well.
You need to remember, despite that exciting post, the rest of that person’s week was probably just as average of as yours. In fact, they were probably jealous of something you posted a few days ago. Everyone has the bland dinners no one wants to post about, but when you don’t see posts about it, you don’t think about it. It’s easy to focus only on what you see posted and forget about what’s actually happening behind the scenes
Social media can have a much larger impact on your self-confidence than watching reality TV. The reason being, you know social media is real. You don’t have the buffer of a TV separating you from what you see. You might be desensitized to much of what you see on TV because it seems far removed from you. You’re also accustomed to seeing fiction on TV. In contrast, not only do you know social media is real, but you also personally know many of the people starring in the posts. You see them regularly in real life. You know them as real people. Thus, social media posts seem more real than what you see on reality TV.
Our own biases also contribute to the problem. We always hope we’ll be better off in the future than we are now. We hope many of our problems will be solved in the future. We hope to have more resources in the future. We hope to experience the future benefits from the hard work we put in now. Nobody hopes they’ll be worse off in the future than they are now. Some people might believe the future looks gloomy, but they don’t wish that upon themselves. Most people hope the future will bring the answers to all of their problems.
We constantly want to improve ourselves and our circumstances. As a result, we tend to focus on things other people have that we don’t. We look at those things with envy. We hope to also have those things in our lives in the future. The desire to improve ourselves in the future focuses our comparisons on what we want, not what we already have.
Your social media feed—being very positively biased—is the perfect source of material to make those comparisons. Your feed provides a constant flow of new things you can wish you had in your life. Consequently, we rarely focus on the things we are doing great while browsing our social media feed. Instead, we want to be better.
Some people, no matter what they have right now, always want more. Seeing other people have more than them further incites their need for more. For those people, keeping up with the Joneses might not be enough. They have to beat the Joneses by enough to brag about it on social media. Browsing their social media feed provides a never-ending supply of areas in which they don’t measure up to others and need to improve themselves. The chase will never end.
A few years ago, only a select group of people had access to celebrities. Most people’s sole experience with celebrities was seeing them interviewed in magazines and discussed on news programs. Those interviews and news programs could have been recorded several weeks before the date they’re released to the public. Moreover, the person conducting the interview controls the interaction with the celebrities, and the hosts of the news programs decide the information they relay to the public.
Now, through social media, everyone could potentially have direct access to celebrities. Using social media, celebrities are able to communicate with their fans in real time. Celebrities can reach out to millions of fans in an instant by posting on social media. It’s a direct connection between people and the celebrities they love. There is no interviewer working as an intermediary.
Technically, the celebrities are available for two-way communication via social media. Fans can send messages or shout outs to the celebrities; and occasionally, the celebrities do receive them and respond. Celebrities with millions of followers could receive hundreds of messages per day. Even if they wanted to, they couldn’t possibly read and reply to every message they receive. Thus, the communication is primarily one-way—but there’s always the chance of getting through.
Unquestionably, there are many positive aspects to connecting fans with celebrities. Connecting with celebrities through social media gives fans more exposure to the celebrities they love. Social media provides an additional means for people to be entertained by their favourite celebrities.
The social media connection allows celebrities to speak directly to their fans. The direct connection can make people feel like they know the celebrities.
Fans also learn about new projects the celebrities are working on through social media, which is good for both fans and celebrities. Staying in contact with the celebrities allows fans, to a certain extent, to stay current with what’s going on in those celebrities’ lives.
There is, however, a downside to connecting with celebrities through social media: The lifestyles of the rich and famous are now part of your social media feed, which significantly magnifies the effects of everything we’ve discussed above. Now you’re comparing your own life not only to the lives of all of your friends, but also to the extravagant lifestyles of the rich and famous.
If you thought the bar was set high before, think about where it’s set now. Even the lives of your most interesting friends can seem average and boring when compared to the glamorous lifestyles of the rich and famous. By following celebrities, people get a taste of the celebrities’ glamorous lifestyles in their social media feeds every day.
When you follow celebrities, you’ll see posts showing them hanging out with other celebrities. You’ll also see them in private jets, at the hottest clubs, driving exotic cars, and attending the most exclusive events and parties. You’ll see them treated as VIPs everywhere they go.
The glamorous lifestyles of the rich and famous are mixed in with everything else in your social media feed. That compounds the comparison problem exponentially. If you thought your life seemed boring when compared to the exaggerated highlights of your friends, what do you think will happen when you start comparing your life to the exaggerated highlights posted by celebrities?
The contrast between the boring moments in your life—when you have nothing better to do than browse social media—and the celebrities’ exaggerated highlights is even greater than the contrast between your boring moments and your friends’ best moments. That makes your boring moments seem even more boring.
Most people don’t intentionally compare themselves to celebrities. Having access to a small taste of the celebrities’ lifestyles, however, does cause people to automatically compare their own lives to what they’re seeing in their social media feeds. It happens the same way people habitually compare their own lives to the highlights of their friends’ lives. They see something exciting in their social media feed and wish that exciting thing could have been a part of their own lives.
Upon waking in the morning, most people don’t lie in bed wishing they could be a rock star. The thought doesn’t cross their mind first thing in the morning. They are content with everything they have. Once they begin browsing social media, however, they see what their five favourite rock stars have been up to. The unintentional and automatic process of comparing their own lives to the lives of the rock stars does, on some level, make them wish they could be a rock star. That comparison makes their own achievements seem less significant.
Just like your friends exaggerate their highlights, celebrities also exaggerate their own highlights. Moreover, if you’re following 20 celebrities, you’ll see the highlights from all 20 celebrities in your social media feed. The super person you’ve built from the aggregate of everything displayed in your social media feed has now become a super celebrity. Despite their individual glamorous lifestyles, none of the celebrities you’re following can compete with the aggregate of the highlights from all of the celebrities in your social media feed (the super celebrity).
I hope it’s obvious how unrealistic it is to compare your own life to the super celebrity’s life. Most people don’t intentionally make the comparison. Instead, it happens automatically as they browse their social media feed.
Just like your friends, celebrities have average moments and problems of their own too. Again just like your friends, most celebrities don’t display their average moments and problems to the world through social media. Despite the celebrities’ problems that become public through media outlets, you don’t see most of the regular everyday stuff celebrities do while they’re not out performing or connecting with fans. Like your friends, celebrities also want to make themselves look as interesting as possible. Thus, you see only their highlights.
You already know your friends try to make themselves look as good as possible on social media. Celebrities have to take that process to a whole new level. Celebrities are brands. The public’s perception of their personality has a significant impact on their careers. Their desire to make themselves look good is not only to make themselves feel good, but also to improve their career success.
Celebrities are in the business of entertainment, so everything they do must be entertaining for their fans. The more celebrities can do to entertain you, the more valuable their brands become. You follow celebrities for the same reason you watch TV shows: To be entertained. You want to follow the celebrities who entertain you the most. You’re not interested in following boring celebrities, just as you would not be interested in watching boring TV shows.
Keeping fans entertained, and enticing new followers, requires the celebrities to maintain a positive public perception and be as interesting as possible. Celebrities’ career paths are determined by the public’s perception of their character. The celebrities with the largest following get the best contracts.
Compared to your friends, celebrities have more reasons for exaggerating their highlights to make themselves look good. Most of your friends will embellish for personal reasons. Celebrities embellish not only for personal reasons, but also for business reasons.
Many celebrities use public relations managers to help them optimize the public’s perception of their persona. Public relations managers take the embellishing process to a whole new level. Don’t think for a moment you have a chance at competing with a persona that has been professionally managed to look as entertaining as possible.
If you were to listen to someone make a sarcastic remark, then write that sarcastic remark on a piece of paper, then hand that piece of paper to a third person to read, the third person would have no idea the remark was made with sarcasm. The third person is seeing only the words written on paper.
Only through people’s nonverbal communication (their body language and tone of voice) do you get the information the remark was spoken with sarcasm. Without the nonverbal communication, the true meaning of the remark is lost.
Studies have shown that nonverbal communication makes up anywhere from 50% to over 90% of our total message when communicating with others. Thus, depending upon the study, you could be losing over 90% of the message when reading words written on a piece of paper. As you can see, it’s very easy to misinterpret the message when up to 90% of it could be missing. The true meaning of the message could very easily be contained in the 90% that is lost.
People have been aware of the missing nonverbal communication for a while. We’ve tried to solve the problem using combinations of punctuation marks that look similar to facial expressions (emoticons). Most social media platforms have taken emoticons a step further by automatically replacing the punctuation marks with pictures of the emotions. It’s easier to recognize an emotion displayed in a picture than one built out of punctuation marks.
Emoticons are a step in the right direction, however, they fall drastically short of the nuanced information you send and receive through nonverbal communication. People’s tone of voice and body language relay a huge amount of information.
Human beings are social. We thrive when we’re able to socialize with others. To maximize our ability to socialize, we’ve developed a complex system of communication. We’ve developed complex languages with thousands of words and sophisticated rules of grammar—and that’s only the verbal part.
Social media strips our communication down to the words alone. Consequently, as demonstrated by the paper test above, the true meaning of the message could be lost.
Reading words is a lot different than hearing the words expressed with the emotion relayed through the speaker’s tone of voice. The person’s body language while speaking also communicates the emotion behind the remark.
You’re even further away from making a connection with someone if you’re communicating at different times. You could comment today on a post someone made three days ago. That person could then respond to your comment another three days later. Even though you’re still communicating with the other person, that exchange feels significantly different than talking with him or her in real time, let alone in person.
The people reading what you wrote are getting some meaning from your message. The writing is not completely meaningless. As a result, there is some level of communication taking place; usually even enough to get by on.
It is, however, not completely accurate to say you’re interacting with another person. Because, in a way you are, but also, in a way you’re not. The other person is sending you information, and you’re sending information back in response, but the information is not received directly from you or the other person. The information is being received from an electronic device, such as a smart phone. A chunk of plastic, metal, and glass, among other things. Your pet dog—a living being—has more personality than your smart phone.
When communicating through social media, you’re reading words off the screen. You might see a picture of that person, but looking at a picture is drastically different than interacting with a real person. Emoticons can’t replace a warm smile or a contagious laugh. You lose those pleasant aspects of communication when interacting through an electronic device.
Communicating using an electronic device creates the illusion of interacting with other people. Yes, there is some small level of communication happening, you’re controlling what they see, and they’re controlling what you see, but you’re still only looking at an electronic device. Because you can get the gist of their meaning, and they can understand most of what you’re saying, you might think that’s good enough. You’ve communicated what you wanted to say and they’ve replied. Despite getting the essence of your message across, beware of falsely assuming you’re interacting on a deeper level than you really are. Communicating through an electronic device gives you the impression you’re socializing with other people while you’re really not. You’re interacting with a piece of plastic.
An electronic device just can’t give you the same feeling you get when interacting with other people in person. To demonstrate, think about sitting in a room with a good friend, a family member, or your significant other. Neither of you needs to say a word. Simply being present in the same room gives you a comforting and pleasant feeling. You can enjoy his or her company just by sitting there in silence with him or her. It’s that pleasant aspect of simply enjoying another person’s company that is missing when you’re looking at a piece of plastic to interact with other people. The electronic device cannot provide that comforting and pleasant feeling you get when someone else is in the same room as you.
That feeling means you’re making a real connection. You need to be physically present with other people to make that kind of a connection. That feeling of being connected to other people is one of our fundamental human needs. If that need is not fulfilled, you do not feel complete. You feel like something is missing, because something is missing. Consciously, people think they can trick themselves into feeling fulfilled by interacting with others through an electronic device. Subconsciously, however, you’re aware that your needs for social interaction are not being met. That’s proven by the way you feel. You can be messaging everyone you know using your smart phone, but still feel lonely. Staring at a piece of plastic is not social interaction.
Social media provides a platform where people can express themselves to their friends, family, and the world at large. Accordingly, it allows people to seek attention. They express themselves hoping others will respond and validate them. People’s friends and followers validate them by commenting on, liking, or up-voting their posts. Each of those actions tells people others support them.
Being validated by others fulfils people’s fundamental human need to be accepted by others. If people are repeatedly validated through social media, they become conditioned to seek validation from social media. If it has worked in the past, they continue trying it again in the future. Some people become dependent upon it. They begin making posts fishing for validation.
Those people are no longer simply expressing themselves through their posts. Instead, they are tailoring their posts to maximize the response from their friends and followers. They’ll begin making posts for the sole purpose of having their friends and followers comment on, like, and up-vote their posts.
Some people take seeking validation another step further. They begin measuring their own self-worth by the number of people who validate them through social media. They interpret their number of friends and followers as a number that represents their self-worth. They see it as a popularity contest and it becomes another way they compare themselves to their friends. Some people might even believe they should have a specific number of followers. A number higher than they currently have. They might not even know how they determined that target number of followers.
But it doesn’t stop there. Each time they make a post, they also measure their own self-worth by the number of people who validate their post by commenting on, liking, or up-voting it.
Those people feel good only when others validate them. If they failed to obtain the validation they were seeking, they feel depressed and their fundamental human need to be accepted by others goes unfulfilled. Their self-esteem is tied to the number of people who interact with their posts.
For instance, they might post something with the intention of having a large number of their friends agree with their post. However, if only a couple of people validate their post, they feel depressed and wonder why no one is willing to support them.
Anyone with an Internet connection can sign up for a free social media account and connect with their friends. The social media platforms provide a nearly unlimited source of free entertainment. Users just like you are posting new content every second. Social media is free for you because you are not their real customer.
Some social media platforms charge people a subscription fee to use the premium features of the service. However, most platforms offering paid subscriptions also have free accounts. The platforms need to offer those free accounts because the number of people using the social media platform determines the value for the paid members. The more people using the social media platform, the more valuable it is to the paid members. Who wants to be part of a social media platform with hardly any other users to connect with? A social media platform with no one else to connect with is useless. The free accounts are essential to increasing the number of users. Few people are willing to pay subscription fees compared to the number of people willing to sign up for free accounts.
Anyone can connect with other people through social media for free. Social media, however, is not a social service paid for by tax dollars to be free for the public at large. Nor is it a non-profit organization set up to provide a service free of charge to everyone. Social media is a for-profit business. Like any other for-profit business, the owners want to make a profit from their investment.
Every additional person who uses the social media platform increases the platform’s expenses. Each additional person might not add a lot to the expenses, but multiply that additional cost by millions of users and it adds up very quickly. If you’re not giving them any money to cover their expenses, who is?
Social media companies make money selling advertising. Worldwide, companies spend a huge amount of money on advertising. Every business from multinational corporations to the small family owned businesses in your city buy advertising space to promote their business. Those businesses advertise to attract customers to buy their goods and services.
For advertising to work, people have to see the advertising. The price businesses have to pay for advertising is determined by the number of people who will see the advertising. The more people who will see the advertisement, the more expensive the advertising space. Have you ever heard of the ridiculous cost of running an advertisement during the Super Bowl? An advertising slot during the Super Bowl costs significantly more than an advertising slot at 4:00 AM during a rerun of an old show. It costs more to advertise during the Super Bowl because significantly more people will see an advertisement ran during the Super Bowl.
If a company that sells advertising wants to grow their business, and make more money, there are two ways they can do it. They could get more advertising space, or they could get people to see the advertising space they already have more often.
The user interface of a social media platform only has so many places an advertisement could be displayed. If the user interface displays too many advertisements, users won’t have a good experience and will stop using the social media platform. So, the best ways for social media platforms to grow are to get more users and expose existing users to the advertising more often.
But you probably already knew that. So what does that mean to you? Your time and attention are the products the social media companies are selling; and the more of your time and attention they can sell to advertisers, the more money they can make off of you.
Business owners want to see their businesses grow to become more profitable. Businesses grow by selling more products. If the product being sold is your time and attention, they have to sell more of your time and attention to grow. To sell more of your time and attention, they have to actually be able to obtain more of your time and attention.
To maximize the amount of time you spend using social media networks, and being exposed to advertisements, the user interfaces are constantly updated to take advantage of the latest in psychological research. They use any techniques psychologists and researchers have found make people more attracted—or even addicted—to using their services. Do you know anyone who’s addicted to social media? That happened on purpose. The social media networks’ techniques are working on that person.
Social media companies increase their revenues when they increase the number of times you open their app and the amount of time you spend using it. Thus, it’s profitable to make the user interface as addicting as possible.
The social media companies are continually finding new ways to create alerts that will attract your attention to their app. They try to make the alerts irresistible so they can take your attention away from whatever you’re doing and divert it to their app.
Alerts significantly increase the amount of time you spend using their app. You might have had no intention of browsing your social media feed at any given moment. An alert, however, can make you interrupt whatever you’re doing to access the app and view the alert. Once you view the alert, the user interface attempts to keep your attention for a little longer.
Sure, your friends are often the people who are generating the alerts, but do you feel the need to view the alerts as soon as possible? Do you often interrupt whatever else you’re doing to view an alert? If you do, the social media companies’ techniques are working.
The social media companies could have designed the user interface differently. They could have kept all of your alerts waiting silently until you chose to open the app and browse through them. If it was set up that way, they wouldn’t need to use alert notifications that interrupt you and divert your attention to the app. You would get to them when you get to them. Instead, by using irresistible alerts, the total time you spend using social media apps is increased significantly. Thus, the amount of your time and attention that can be sold to advertisers is increased significantly.
If they could, the social media networks would make it so you never had to leave their user interface. In fact, many are already working toward that goal. They are continually adding new features that allow you to access content from other places on the web through their user interface. By doing so, you’ll still be exposed to their advertising while viewing the external content. That’s a clever way to obtain more of your time and attention to sell. I don’t blame them for doing it. In fact, it’s a great business move on their part. Every business has to innovate to increase profits and stay viable in the future.
Spending more time on social media isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you don’t have anything productive you should be doing, you might as well spend your downtime doing something you enjoy; as long as you can differentiate enjoyment from addiction.
You can also look at it as free entertainment. Technically, it’s not free, it costs you your time and attention, but it doesn’t cost you any money. Some people have more time than money. They don’t mind giving up their time to receive something they value in return, instead of spending money. Spending some of their time and attention seeing advertisements in exchange for entertainment seems like a fair trade to some people. For those people, the business model is mutually beneficial.
It’s up to you to decide whether or not you think giving away your time and attention is worth the entertainment you’re getting from social media. It is important, however, to be honest about whether you’re giving away your time intentionally, or simply because you’re addicted. Ensure you are consciously making the choice to give up your time and attention in exchange for something you genuinely enjoy. Don’t let your time and attention be stolen from you as a consequence of addiction.
If you honestly believe using social media is a good use of your time, by all means continue using it. Do what you enjoy. But, beware of the negative effects of comparing yourself to others described earlier.
Some people treat their time as the most valuable commodity they have. They realize it is the one thing they can never get more of. Those people understand they have only a limited amount of time on earth and how they choose to spend it is one of the most important decisions they have to make. People with that perspective might choose to spend their time on entertainment that is 100% entertaining; instead of giving up a percentage of their time being exposed to advertising.
If you use social media, a portion of your time and attention will be focused on advertising. There is no way around that. The owners of for-profit businesses want to make money. The social media companies are always taking steps to ensure they are able to sell your time and attention. Once again, they use the latest in psychological research to find the best ways to grab your attention and divert it to the advertising.
Focusing your attention on the advertising is crucial to selling more advertising. The people paying to advertise their goods and services on social media networks will only continue to buy more advertising if they are making a profit from it. Social media users must actually be seeing the advertising and buying the goods and services being advertised.
The simple fact that people are continuing to buy advertising on social media networks proves that it’s effective. People are spending time seeing the advertisements, and the advertisements are affecting their purchasing decisions. The time you spend looking at advertising is time that you are not spending being enjoyably entertained.
Some people try to use social media completely for free by using ad blocking software. There are, however, ways the social media companies can still sell your time and attention despite your use of ad blocking software. The social media companies are always trying to stay one step ahead of ad blocking software, and the ad blocking software programmers are always playing catch up.
There is also something else to consider. People should support the businesses they like. If you want to keep using a business’ services, you need to do your part to ensure that business stays viable by being profitable. All for-profit companies need to continue making a profit to stay in business and continue offering goods and services. If you prevent your favourite companies from staying profitable, they won’t be around tomorrow.
Just be certain you are supporting the social media platforms you use by choice, not out of addiction.
Avoid having social media contribute to depression by being aware of the tendency to unintentionally compare yourself to others. Don’t compare the moment you’re bored, and just trying to pass time using social media, to the exaggerated highlights posted by your friends and celebrities. Being aware of that tendency helps you avoid it. You can also reduce any negative effects by being aware the posts made by others are exaggerating the best of the best to make themselves look good. Distancing yourself from your social media feed helps you look at it more objectively and see it for what it really is.
It’s easy to subconsciously combine all of the exciting stuff in your social media feed into one super person to compare yourself against. Being aware you’re looking at the exaggerated best of the best from hundreds of people’s lives also helps reduce the negative effects of comparison. It’s ridiculous to compare yourself to a fictional super person. The problem is, people tend to make that comparison automatically. It’s important to regularly remind yourself there’s no one super person who is doing all of that exciting stuff. Remembering that fact helps minimize the negative effects of making that comparison.
Remember to realize, not even the celebrities you’re following can compete with the super person. They can’t even come close. Not even the most adored celebrity can be more than one place at a time or experience multiple life stages all at once.
You also need to realize that any one person posting something exciting in your social media feed might only take one exciting vacation every five years, or buy only one expensive new toy every three years. However, when you are following hundreds of people, you see exciting vacations and fancy new toys every day. Lots of them. Remember, seeing different people experiencing those things every day makes them seem more common than they really are.
You also need to remember you don’t see what led up to the exciting post. All you see is people bragging about the exciting end result. At the exact moment you’re looking at the exciting post, there is usually no story attached to it going into detail about the years of hard work, failures and recoveries, and other sacrifices made to accomplish the exciting end result.
Without that supporting story, it’s very easy to minimize the time and effort people put into obtaining those end results. You don’t see what they had to do every day for the past two years to accomplish it. It’s even easy to falsely believe that some of those end results were accomplished by luck alone instead of through hard work. That false belief can make you wish you could also have that same assumed luck. It’s easy to want something if you think it’s free and effortless to obtain it.
Some people do post about their setbacks and failures on the way to their goals. But those posts could have been made months or years before bragging about the end result. When you see a post bragging about an exciting end result today, you probably don’t immediately think back to the 10 failures that person posted over the past 3 years—if you even remember seeing those posts. Instead, you tend to automatically compare yourself to the end result without comparing what you did over the past 3 years to what the other person did over the past 3 years.
When you see an exciting accomplishment posted, remember to think about everything the person would’ve had to do to make that accomplishment happen. Once you take a moment to think about the necessary sacrifices, you might decide you would rather not have that accomplishment in your life. Thus, you stop wishing you could also brag about that accomplishment and you’re not negatively affected by comparing yourself to it. Instead, you’ll probably find you spent the past few years working on accomplishing something more important to you.
It’s important to remember, if you see 10 impressive accomplishments posted in your social media feed, it probably took 10 different people at least a year each to make those accomplishments happen. If you envy those accomplishments, you need to consider whether you’re willing to invest 10 years to have all 10 of those accomplishments in your life. After that thought, you might prefer to have spent your last 10 years exactly the way you did.
It’s important to balance your social media feed by following people and groups who make posts which boost your confidence and support you. For instance, groups dedicated to posting motivational quotes and pictures. Following those groups ensures your feed is balanced with posts that support you. Those supportive posts mix into your feed and help counteract the negative effects of comparing yourself to the accomplishments of others.
You should also consider following groups dedicated to making funny posts. A good laugh breaks you out of the monotony of browsing enviously through other people’s exaggerated best case scenarios and accomplishments.
You can also balance your feed by following people who post general information on various topics. Determining what is an interesting topic is up to each individual person. Some people will be interested in following people who post art, nature pictures, gaming news, and the latest scientific discoveries. Other people will be interested in following people who post medical research, movies, music, random trivia questions, and cat pictures. All of those topics can entertain you without making you think you are in some way inferior to what was posted. There are thousands of topics you could find interesting, and thousands of people who post about each of those topics.
You can also consider following groups who provide inspiration to reach your goals. Inspirational pages are common with topics such as health and fitness. Those groups often make posts featuring people who’ve reached the goals you’re striving toward. Many of the posts also include motivational quotes.
If you’re going to follow groups who make inspirational posts, it’s important to approach your goals with realistic expectations. For instance, a sport or fitness group might make posts featuring professional athletes. The posts often feature people who are the best in the world. If used properly, those inspirational posts can be a tremendous motivation to achieve positive results in your life. However, be cautious of comparing yourself to several professional athletes. Many of them have dedicated their lives to perfecting their ability to excel at a sport. Your life has taken a different path and you’ve accomplished other things.
Most social media users will check their feed any time they aren’t actively engaged in another activity. They’ll check their feeds while waiting in line, riding in a vehicle, or any other time they have a couple of free minutes. They could do so several times an hour.
The more often they browse social media, the more often they are potentially exposed to the negative effects of comparing themselves to others. Repeatedly exposing themselves to discouraging comparisons, in short bursts several times throughout the day, ensures a negative comparison is always fresh in their mind. Several times a day, maybe even several times an hour, they are thinking about how they don’t measure up. They are constantly reminded how the moments they are bored during their average day are less exciting than what others are posting.
That repeated reminder throughout the day can be avoided by setting aside time once a day to check social media feeds and stay up-to-date with friends. For instance, time can be set aside in the morning while eating breakfast, or at night before going to bed.
Most people end up automatically comparing themselves to others. It often happens out of their control. By browsing social media only once per day, they expose themselves to the negative effects only once per day.
As you know, social media companies make more money when you spend more time using their services. In an effort to increase their profits, they’re trying to draw your attention to using their app as often as possible. They’ll use several different kinds of alerts to interrupt whatever you’re doing and persuade you to open their app. They will make your phone beep, blink, and buzz so you can’t resist seeing what’s going on. They know people who are addicted can’t resist a new alert.
The social media companies know, once the alert makes you open the app, you’ll often spend additional time browsing through the app after you’ve looked at the alert. Some people can’t resist seeing what’s new in their feed once they have the app open. Social media companies hook your attention with the alert, then keep you focused on using their app to sell as much of your time and attention as possible.
If you take the advice given above, and browse your social media feed only once per day, you won’t get hooked by alerts. You’ll have no problem ignoring the alerts until the time you’ve set aside to browse your feed. You should also choose to silence or disable the alerts so they’re not begging for your attention and tempting you to open a social media app. If you disable the alert notifications, all of your messages will still be waiting safely for you at the time you have set aside to browse your social media feed.
Very rarely are the social media alerts so urgent you need to respond to them right away. If someone urgently needs to get a hold of you, they’ll find another way such as texting or calling you.
So far, we’ve focused primarily on problems which could potentially be caused by viewing social media. There are potential problems associated with posting to social media as well.
All of the content appearing in your social media feed has to be created by someone. The workload of creating all of that content is spread out across everyone you’re following. As a social media user, you’re likely doing your part as well. You make your own contributions by recording videos and taking pictures on your smart phone, then sharing that content with all of your friends and followers.
The time you spend taking those videos and pictures could lower your quality of life.
For example, you might have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience something amazing. That experience might only be 10 seconds long. Most heavy social media users will waste at least 7 of those 10 seconds experiencing the event through their smart phone screen as they record the experience or take pictures. Their concern with bragging about the experience to their friends on social media causes them to miss out on the experience themselves. If they are going to take in the experience through their smart phone screen, they might as well just watch a video already posted online by someone else. Either way, they’re experiencing the event through their phone screen.
You see people doing that everywhere. Those people are more concerned with bragging about their life experiences than actually enjoying those experiences. That leads you to believe many people are more concerned with making other people think they are living a good life than actually living a good and fulfilling life.
People might have invested a significant amount of money, time, and effort to have the opportunity to take in a great life experience. Attending an extraordinary event is rewarding on its own. That’s obvious when you focus on getting the most out of the event. You don’t need other people to tell you what you should think of the event. You also don’t need people to tell you they are jealous before you can enjoy the event.
Some people could benefit from monitoring exactly how much time they spend on social media throughout the course of a week. They could be very surprised to see how a few minutes here and there adds up to several hours over the course of a week.
Keeping a log, however, is inconvenient and takes effort. People often fill their bored moments by using social media because it’s so easy to simply open an app and begin browsing their feed. It requires no effort, and no thought, to begin browsing their feed and zone out. Their smart phone is already on them so they don’t even need to get up. Some people turn to social media simply because they’re too lazy to do anything else. Those people are very unlikely to make the effort to log every single time they spend a few minutes here and there on social media. They are, however, some of the people who could benefit the most from doing so.
If keeping a log of your social media use isn’t practical for you, take a slightly different approach. Every time you’re about to open your social media app to browse your feed, make a mental note you are about to start browsing social media.
Many people browse social media simply out of habit. If they have a moment to spare, they automatically open their social media app without even thinking about it. They should take a moment to make themselves aware of what they are doing. They need to remember, each time they’re about to open the app, they should make a mental note by saying to themselves “I’m going to browse my social media feed.” If they can do that, they can get a better idea of how many times they’ve used social media throughout the day.
Acknowledging they’re about to use social media helps alert them they’re about to habitually open the app and begin browsing. Without that acknowledgement, they might not even realize what they’re doing because it happens automatically—just like any other habit.
You should learn how much time you’re spending on social media. There is no right or wrong amount of time to spend using social media. Each person will have a different allotment of time they’re comfortable spending using social media. But if you don’t know how much time you’re actually spending browsing social media, you can’t know if you’re comfortable with the amount of time you’re spending using it.
Once you learn how much time you actually spend on social media, you might be shocked and want to redirect some of that time to doing something more productive. Many heavy social media users could easily free up three or four hours per week by browsing their social media feed only once per day and ignoring alerts.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish with only a few hours a week. If you’ve ever taken lessons to learn martial arts, dancing, music, or any other skill, you probably attended lessons once or twice a week for a couple of hours. Those lessons do, however, require a solid block of time rather than a few minutes here and there throughout the day. But it is worth considering what could be accomplished with the amount of time you’ve saved. Perhaps there is a hobby or skill you’ve always wanted to learn, or a sport or activity you’ve always wanted to participate in. Reprioritizing your time could allow you to do so.
By checking your social media feed only once per day, and ignoring all alerts, you’ll be spending significantly less time on social media. You’ll now have an abundance of free time. Heavy social media users could free up over an hour each day.
You should find real-world activities to fill that free time. Get out and meet up with other people. Get the feeling of being connected just by being in the same room; the feeling you can’t get when interacting through an electronic device.
Typically, for something to be entertaining and hold your attention, it must be continuously supplying new information for you to process. Your social media feed does the job perfectly by providing a continuously updated stream of information. Depending upon the number of people you follow, you could be receiving updates faster than you can review them.
Many people browse social media frequently throughout the day not only because it’s addictive, but also because it can be the easiest way to instantly escape boredom. Most people always have their smart phone nearby, if not already in their hand. So, out of all the things they could use to entertain themselves, their smart phone is often the easiest thing to grab. Most people won’t even need to get out of their seat to grab their phone.
In case you haven’t noticed, many people are lazy. Quick and easy is king. Once their smart phone is in their hand, being entertained by social media couldn’t be easier: Open the app with one tap and start browsing. They don’t need to type in a URL, they don’t need to type in a search phrase, they don’t need to evaluate search results and guess which ones might be most interesting, and they don’t even need to scan through any articles to decide which ones they want to read. Most importantly, they don’t need to think about what they want to do to entertain themselves. In fact, they don’t have to think about anything. They need only open the social media app and zone out. It’s quick and easy.
Can anything compete with how quick and easy it is to be entertained using social media? Not much can, especially considering it requires no thinking to habitually open the app and start scrolling. Especially when people always have their phones on them.
Two things are necessary to use a portion of your time more productively. First, you must have the desire to use some of your time more productively. That desire motivates you to break out of the habit and do something different. Second, you must make it just as easy to do something productive.
Let’s revisit learning that skill or hobby you’ve always wanted to learn. You have to find a way to make the effort required to learn the new skill comparable to the effort required to browse social media.
First, let’s match the fact you often don’t need to get out of your seat to begin browsing social media. You’ll need to use your smart phone to learn the new skill.
Second, we need to match opening the app with one tap, not having to make any decisions, and instantly having a continuous stream of new information to review. An eBook read using a reading app on your smart phone meets all of those requirements.
An eBook does, however, require some preparation before it’s just as easy to use as social media. That’s where your motivation is required. You have to spend a few minutes in advance deciding which skills you want to learn, shopping for a couple of eBooks that look interesting, and installing a reading app on your phone. Once you take those steps, anytime you’re struck with a couple of minutes of boredom, you need only open your reading app with one tap, then instantly begin reading on the last page you left off. You don’t have to grab anything other than your phone and you don’t need to think about what you’re going to do. It’s just as easy as opening a social media app and zoning out. However, you’ll be learning a useful skill or hobby you’ve always had an interest in learning. You’ve just found the time you’ve never had to get started learning.
The only difference is, you’ll need the motivation to take the steps required in advance. You can save a lot of time by purchasing several eBooks at once. Having several eBooks ready to read means you’ll have several hours of entertainment available instantly. Buying more than one eBook at a time also minimizes the number of times you’ll have to work up the motivation to spend a few minutes shopping for new eBooks.
You need to use eBooks to make the sporadic entertainment just as easy as social media.
If people wanted to learn a new skill, but were feeling lazy, they would be reluctant to search for new free articles online. Searching for new articles requires quite a bit of thinking (compared to zoning out using social media). They’ll have to browse through search results and lists of articles then decide which articles sound like an interesting use of their time. That could be too many steps for someone who is feeling tired and only needs to kill five minutes. That’s not quick and easy.
By spending five minutes reading eBooks, 10 times each day, every day for a few weeks, you could be well on your way to learning a new skill or hobby in only a few weeks. You could learn valuable skills that improve the rest of your life—even if you never thought you would have the time to learn something new.
I’m not claiming you should completely stop using social media. Using social media can be enjoyable. There are also a number of needs social media fulfils very well, and in ways nothing else can. I find social media very useful for staying in touch with friends who live in other cities. Social media can be priceless for staying in touch with friends with whom you would’ve otherwise lost contact.
I don’t want to discourage you from using social media. Its benefits are definitely deserving of a role in your life.
I do, however, want you to be aware of how much time you’re spending using social media. You need to know how much time you’re actually spending using social media before you can decide whether or not you’re comfortable with spending that amount of time using it.
I also want you to be aware of the possible negative effects of comparing some of the most boring moments in your life to the exaggerated best moments in the lives of hundreds of people and celebrities. Awareness of what you might be doing can help you avoid it.
I also hope you reconsider the way you post on social media. I would like to see more posts where people are truly expressing themselves, not posts made only to impress others or to fish for validation.
I also want to encourage people to focus on enjoying the best moments in life with the people around them; instead of experiencing those moments through their phone screen as they take pictures and videos to brag. Some people might need to reprioritize once they decide what’s really most important: Impressing their friends and followers, or actually living a good life with the people around them.
The following is a bonus chapter from my bestselling book, 48 Ways to Control People: How to Leverage the Way the World Works for Your Own Gain. That book is volume 1 in the highly acclaimed two-volume series, How to Leverage the Way the World Works for Your Own Gain.
If you put someone in an awkward and indirectly intimidating—not directly intimidating—situation, they’ll be too dumbfounded to escape the situation. Accordingly, they will comply with your requests so they can be released from the awkward and indirectly intimidating interaction. The indirect intimidation allows you to deny any coercion took place. Since there were no overt threats, the extortion can easily be disguised as an innocent interaction with the other person. Despite being able to deny the extortion, the extent to which you can coerce others using this technique can be significant.
Homeless people use this technique very effectively. They know, if they just sit quietly on the sidewalk meekly holding out a hat, most people walk right past them. If they call out, “Spare change please,” they can get a few people to stop and donate money. If they can single out people from the crowd and talk to them directly, even more people will donate some money. But the real money is made when they use this technique. Not only do they get more donations, the average value of each donation goes up significantly.
Here’s how homeless people use this technique: They take advantage of someone who is separated from the crowd and stopped somewhere waiting. For instance, someone waiting at a street corner for a traffic light to change so they can walk across the street, or someone waiting at a public transit stop. The homeless people approach those people while they are waiting and ask them for spare change. When those people see a rough looking homeless person standing in front of them, and feel like they have nowhere to go because they are stuck there waiting, they will often comply with the homeless person’s request for a donation. They give him what he wants just to get rid of him so they can end the awkward and slightly intimidating interaction. Those same people, had they saw that homeless person sitting on the sidewalk, would have walked right past him without donating any money. But now, they feel forced into giving him a donation just to end the awkward and slightly intimidating interaction. They pay him so they can escape the awkward and indirectly intimidating situation.
The homeless people are not robbing those people. So those people cannot claim they have been extorted. After all, those people could have easily said no or walked away. But their mind was already set on waiting there until an event took place, such as the traffic light changing or public transit arriving. Thus, once this rough looking homeless person confronts them, they feel trapped and intimidated. So they pay him to get rid of him.
When you look at what happened from a psychological point of view, it’s easy to see these people have been intimidated and extorted into giving a donation. But when you describe what took place, a humble—but rough looking—homeless approached someone and simply asked for a donation, it’s hard to claim any sort of extortion took place. It’s easy to make the argument the people could have simply said no, as there was no threat of force. It’s also easy to make the argument the people could have simply walked away as the homeless person was not restraining them or blocking them from leaving. Yet, psychologically, the people feel trapped and intimidated. They feel intimidated even though they could’ve said no or walked away at any time.
Those two parallel realities of the situation are what makes this technique so effective. You can use this technique to coerce what you want out of people without being accused of extortion.
Many people in positions of power take advantage of this technique as well. But they do so in a slightly different way. The psychological effects, however, are the same. People in positions of power ask their staff for personal favours, for instance, asking subordinates for a ride from work to pick up their personal vehicle at the shop. The employees feel they cannot refuse their boss; even though their boss has no authority over them to ask for personal favours outside of work.
Many new employees fall victim to another version of this technique when it’s applied by their coworkers. New employees, wanting to make a good first impression, feel like they can’t say no. They don’t want to create a bad first impression by denying others help or refusing others’ requests. Many people take advantage of this and offload many of their most unpleasant chores on the new employees, and the new employees feel like they are not able to say no. This happens with requests from their peers—people who have no authority to assign the new employees new duties.
The new employees could easily refuse, but they don’t because they don’t want to create a bad first impression. This also happens with requests outside of work duties, such as managing a work social club or other volunteer positions. People even take advantage of the new employees for personal favours, such as asking the new employees to donate to causes they support or to join groups they are a part of. People know the new employees feel they can’t say no during their first few weeks on the job.
When someone is new to any group, and trying to make a good first impression with the rest of the group, that’s your chance to offload your worst chores. You can finally unload the chores someone stuck you with during your first week.
This technique is so effective because, if you were to look at a transcript of what was actually said, you’ll see only a polite request for a favour. However, there is a lot going on below the surface. There are significant psychological effects in play. The people feel as if they cannot refuse. They are forced into doing something they would not have volunteered to do. Find ways you can put people into these types of situations and you can get almost anything you want from them.
The following is a bonus chapter from my bestselling book, 45 More Ways to Control People: How to Leverage the Way the World Works for Your Own Gain. That book is volume 2 in the highly acclaimed two-volume series, How to Leverage the Way the World Works for Your Own Gain.
Most first world countries have a ridiculous number of laws in place which protect people from themselves. These laws are in addition to the laws which protect the rest of humanity from the few bad people. These are laws which try to protect the 80% from their own poor decisions. These laws were set up by the 1% to protect the 80% like a parent setting up rules to protect a child from dangers the child is not capable of properly evaluating.
For example, most first world countries have several laws regarding safety equipment. Not only safety equipment that protects the public from the actions of others, but safety equipment that specifically protects the individual wearing the equipment. Things like seatbelts, helmets, fall protection harnesses, and hearing protection. We also have a number of laws which attempt to protect people from very damaging and highly addictive hard drugs. We are interfering with natural selection for the greater good. These laws are necessary as a consequence of a few aspects of human psychology.
First, the 80% will enthusiastically agree to suffer very serious long-term consequences in exchange for small short-term gains or pleasures. Laws are set up not only to protect the 80% from making those poor choices, but also to protect taxpayers from the burden of saving those people once they’ve suffered the long-term consequences; consequences they’ve incurred to receive short-term gains or pleasures.
The first problem is, most people are too short-sighted. They’re not able to properly weigh future consequences. Something way off in the future seems very small and much less severe than it really is. Most people have trouble understanding the full extent of things that are far off in the future.
There’s also a second—and perhaps more important—aspect of human psychology at play here. When people take high-risk actions, there is often two separate elements of chance in play. First, the short-term gains or pleasures are 100% certain. Second, the future pain or negative consequences are not 100% certain. The 80% knows, if they take a risky action, they are guaranteed to gain the short-term benefits or pleasures, but it’s not guaranteed they’re going to have to pay the price later down the road.
This is where the 80%’s lack of rationality betrays them once again. They have the, it’s not going to happen to me attitude. The majority of the 80% believes they are going to be included in the lucky few who do not suffer the long-term consequences of their risky actions. Even if the statistics are high, such as 90% of people will face the consequences of their actions, people will focus entirely on that 10% chance they will not have to face the consequences. They are certain they will be in that 10%.
Laziness and procrastination also come into play. Especially for things like safety equipment. If people’s safety equipment is on the other side of the job site, and they just have to make one quick cut, or just climb a scaffolding for one quick minute, or just dispense 1 ounce of a chemical, they think there’s no need to walk all the way across the job site to get the proper safety equipment. They don’t want to go through all the trouble of putting on safety equipment to perform only 30 seconds of work. After all, fetching and putting on the safety equipment would take several times as long as the task they’re going to perform wearing the equipment. That laziness, combined with their, it won’t happen to me attitude is the cause of many workplace accidents.
All people focus on is the benefit they receive now, or the hassle they can avoid now. People always push problems into the future. They procrastinate any way they can. They can avoid the hassle of safety equipment now, and any problems they might incur would have to be suffered in the future. Future problems carry much less weight than current benefits. There is also, of course, the chance that no future problems will arise, which makes the risk-to-reward ratio appear even more favourable.
The facts given above are not even the most ridiculous part of this phenomenon. The most ridiculous part is, while the 80% are so inclined to risk very severe consequences to make something easier or more pleasurable for themselves in the short-term, they are not willing to take risks to make things drastically better for themselves in the long term.
Taking a risk, such as stepping out in front of the crowd to start a business, or asking a beautiful person out on a date, terrifies people who would willingly risk their lives to save 60 seconds of effort required to put on a safety device.
To understand this, you can apply all of the above facts in reverse.
First, the benefits are long-term. Long-term benefits are much less enticing than short-term benefits. Long-term benefits are harder to visualize and understand. Long-term benefits appear smaller than they are because they are far off into the future.
Second, the future benefits are uncertain. There’s a chance the business would fail or the beautiful person would reject them and there would be zero future benefits. Even if the odds of success are 90%, and the odds of failure are 10%, people have a terrible fear they’ll find themselves included in the 10% that fails. Now, when it comes to good luck, they are also of the opinion, it’s not going to happen to me. They believe they will not be one of the people who finds success.
Laziness and procrastination also come into play. To receive long-term benefits, people would have to put in hard work and effort upfront. They would have to overcome their fears and put in the work necessary to get the desired results. It’s much easier for them to keep the status quo; to simply walk right past that beautiful person or avoid all the effort and stress of starting a new business. Laziness thwarts these people once again.
Once this has been clearly laid out, it’s easy to see why the 80% seem to have the worst ‘luck.’ They make extremely poor choices. They make many choices loaded with a high probability of negative consequences in the future, but very few choices loaded with a high probability of positive benefits in the future. Once the future arrives, they have to pay for all of their poor choices. Everyone has to pay the piper. Moreover, since they were too afraid to take risks for their own gain, they don’t have any benefits coming their way to offset the consequences of their poor choices.
Remember these facts when you’re making your own decisions. Don’t take unnecessary risks and you won’t face unnecessary negative consequences. But do take risks that can make your life much better in the future.
How to use this knowledge to your advantage when controlling other people is described in detail in the section titled, “Make People Enthusiastically Accept Severe Negative Consequences.”
The following is a bonus chapter from my bestselling book, 45 More Ways to Control People: How to Leverage the Way the World Works for Your Own Gain. That book is volume 2 in the highly acclaimed two-volume series, How to Leverage the Way the World Works for Your Own Gain.
Before reading this section, be sure to read the section titled, “Take Advantage of People’s Inability to Properly Weigh Consequences.” That background information is essential to understanding this technique.
If you want to persuade someone to do something, front-load all of the benefits in the agreement. Arrange the agreement so that people will be certain to experience 100% of the benefits instantly, but won’t face any of the negative aspects of the agreement until far off into the future. People won’t be able to properly weigh future negative consequences against present benefits. If the benefits and negative consequences are equal, the current benefits will seem much larger than the future consequences. You can also use this illusion to stack up many negative consequences far off into the future, making them appear shrunken in size. Negative consequences far off into the future will easily appear to be offset by benefits experienced instantly upon agreement, which appear magnified in size.
As you can see, to convince people to take some sort of action, you should frame your request in a way that places 99% of the emphasis on the short-term gains they will experience right now. Instant gratification is king. Be sure to emphasize all of the ways people will gain instant pleasure by agreeing with you. Include the negative aspects of the agreement, incurred in the future, only in the fine print.
Instant gratification is everything. The 80% hardly care about gains they’ll receive way off into the future. They are only concerned with what they can enjoy right now. Keep this in mind when trying to persuade them. Future gains, no matter how great, have hardly any motivational value. How do we counteract this?
You must find ways to move the gains forward. If the gains can’t be moved forward, you must develop new gains that can be experienced instantly and include those instant gains in the deal. Even if you have to increase the selling price to include new short-term gains, people’s focus on the short-term gains will blind them to the price increase.
If you want people to do something unpleasant for the long-term, lock them into a commitment with a very enticing benefit they get to experience upfront. Offer bonus incentives which can be enjoyed right now in exchange for signing up for a long-term contract. Entice them with something they get to enjoy before they have to fulfil their end of the agreement. Give them instant gratification for agreeing to do what you want them to do.
You can make the agreement even more enticing by pushing their end of the agreement even farther into the future. That makes their end of the bargain seem smaller and less painful. The further you can move their obligations into the future, the larger you can make those obligations. Pushing negative consequences into the future creates the illusion the consequences are smaller than they really are. The 80% are not able to properly weigh consequences that are far off into the future.
You can make the agreement even more enticing by adding an element of chance to their obligations. You can get an even higher level of agreement by offering the possibility the 80% could partially, or entirely, escape their obligations. For instance, offering a 2% chance their obligations will be greatly reduced or completely eliminated. People severely overestimate their chance of being included in the lucky 2% who will be released from their obligations.
Remember, benefits lose their lustre as they are moved off into the future, and consequences lose their sting as they are moved off into the future; particularly when dealing with the 80%. Also remember, people severely overestimate their chance of being in the minority who win benefits and avoid consequences.
Consider the following example of these principles: A much larger portion of the world’s population than you might expect would probably accept $1 billion today in exchange for being killed a year from today so that a wealthy person in need of organ transplants could harvest their organs. You might even have caught yourself thinking, would a year be enough time to spend all of that money? People would justify their choice to take the money and be killed as sacrificing themselves for a noble cause—dying so that someone else could live. People often hide the real reason they’re doing something behind a publicly expressed reason that sounds good.
As much as people would like to sound noble, the money is the real reason they are doing it. Consider this: Would those people prefer to be killed in one year and save 50 people for $50, or to save one rich person for $1 billion?
If you extended the time to death from one year to five years, you would get an even larger proportion of the world’s population accepting the deal. The exact same consequence, further away, loses some of its sting.
You could further increase the number of people willing to accept the agreement by including an element of chance in the bargain. For example, if you change the terms of the agreement to include a miniscule chance, say 1%, that the billionaire could be cured by other medical means and not need the organs. Most people will severely overestimate the probability they will realize that 1% chance and not have to give their life. The 1% chance will be overpowering. People will drastically overvalue it. They don’t consider death is still a near certainty. Instead, they’re overly optimistic about their chance of survival.
The thing you might find most surprising is, you’re likely to get a higher proportion of young people accepting the offer than old people. Young people with significantly more than five years left in their natural lifespan. The reason for this is, young people, on average, are significantly more prone to accept long-term consequences to receive short-term gains. Young people take many more risks and are primarily focused on the present. They’re much more susceptible to the lure of instant gratification.
Just look how late in life people start saving for retirement. You can’t use increased earning power as you age as an excuse for this behaviour. That argument is severely flawed. Most people don’t start saving for retirement until at least 10 years into their working lives.
Consider the following example: A person starts their working life working for $25,000 per year. Then, over the course of a decade, they slowly work their way up to a salary of $50,000 per year. After that decade, they might begin saving for retirement. Coincidentally, they have more earning power at that time. However, a young professional might start their working life earning $50,000 per year right out of university. They have the same earning power as the person who spent a decade working their way up to that level. The young professional, however, is unlikely to immediately start saving for retirement—even though they obviously have the earning power to do so. The young professional will also wait until they have been working for over a decade before they start saving for retirement. Earning power is irrelevant.
You might also try to argue the young professional needs to buy a house and a car and incur other start of adult life expenses. Those arguments are also invalid. The young professional could easily have chosen to live the lifestyle of the person making $25,000 per year and save the excess for retirement. But, hardly any young people are ever willing to sacrifice short-term benefits to receive benefits way off into the future. They want a nicer new car, a bigger new home, exotic vacations, fancy electronics, and other forms of pleasure right now. A more comfortable retirement is much too far off into the future to have any weight in their decision process.
If you want people to make sacrifices, or take risks to make their future better, you have to provide some sort of incentive upfront to make them take action. Future benefits hold hardly any motivational power. You have to give them instant gratification in exchange for making the sacrifice or taking the risk.
If what you want people to agree to do has no instant benefits, you could include new instant benefits by inflating the price of whatever you’re offering to include the cost of the benefits you give people upfront. Most people will enthusiastically pay more for instant gratification.
Purchasing this course in the at-home format is thousands of dollars cheaper than attending the seminar.
00 Welcome to the Communication Fundamentals Course 1
00.01 The At-Home Version of This Course 2
00.01.01 You’ll Never Again Fear Social Interaction 4
00.01.02 Your Life Could Have Been so Different Today 4
00.01.03 New Opportunities Will Become Available to You 6
00.01.04 Learn the Communication Mistakes You’ve Been Making 7
00.01.05 The Results You’ll Get 8
00.01.06 Who This Course Is for 11
00.01.07 Why You Need to Complete This Course 13
00.01.08 In Today’s World, Everyone Is Connected 14
00.01.09 What You’ll Learn 15
00.01.10 The Modules Work Together Synergistically 17
00.01.11 You’ve Decided You Are Not Going to Be Average 18
00.01.12 You’ve Decided You Are Not Going to Fail 19
00.01.13 You’ve Decided You Are Very Serious about Improving Yourself 19
00.01.14 You’ve Decided You Are Going to Change Your Life 20
00.01.15 Your Confidence Will Skyrocket 21
00.01.16 Learn How Successful People Operate 22
00.01.17 You Are Who You Hang out with – Attract the Best 23
00.01.18 Your Existing Relationships Will Be Much Stronger 24
00.01.19 The Best Communication Secrets Will Be Revealed 25
00.01.20 Why You Need to Get Started Right Now 26
01 Overcoming the Fear of Approaching New People 28
01.01 Make the First Move or Lose out 29
01.01.01 The Invisible Barrier 29
01.01.02 Approach Who You Want to Approach or Lose out 34
01.01.03 Your Reasons for Approaching Other People 36
01.02 How Fear Works in Your Mind and Body 38
01.02.01 We Have a Strong Negative Bias 40
01.02.02 What Is Fear 41
01.03 How You’re Making the Problem Worse 43
01.03.01 Imaginary Vicious Cycle 43
01.03.02 Real Vicious Cycle 44
01.03.03 We Fear Lack of Control 46
01.04 More Ways You’re Making the Problem Worse 51
01.04.01 You’re the Only One Who Knows 51
01.04.02 You’re Much Harder on Yourself than Other People Are 53
01.04.03 People Are Nice Because They Don’t Want to Embarrass Themselves 54
01.05 What’s Holding You Back 58
01.05.01 Identify Your False Beliefs 58
01.05.02 Imagine the Worst That Could Happen 59
01.06 How to Use Fear so It Works for You Instead of against You 64
01.06.01 Your Fear Response Changes Your Body 64
01.06.02 Fear Versus Excitement 67
01.07 The Most Important Secret about Approaching New People 69
01.07.01 The Middle Ground between Perfect and Failure 69
01.07.02 Before and after 72
01.07.03 Our Negativity Bias Is at It Again 75
01.08 How Successful People Are Different 79
01.08.01 Action Eliminates Fear 79
01.08.02 Fear Disappears 80
01.09 What Successful People Do 84
01.09.01 Overcoming Fear Is Not Automatic 84
01.09.02 Reverse Your Thinking 84
01.09.03 How to Completely Forget about Feeling Nervous 87
01.10 More Things You Can Do Right Now 90
01.10.01 Eliminate Unjustified Fears That Are Holding You Back 90
01.10.02 Define What You’re Really Afraid of 91
01.10.03 Realize You Can’t Predict Everything 92
01.10.04 Realize You Can’t Control Everything 94
01.10.05 See Fear As a Guide 95
01.11 If Your Fear Is Much Worse Than Normal, Do These 8 Things 97
01.11.01 Getting Started Overcoming Your Fear of Approaching New People 99
01.11.02 Step One 100
01.11.03 Step Two 100
01.11.04 Step Three 102
01.11.05 Step Four 103
01.11.06 Step Five 104
01.11.07 Step Six 105
01.11.08 Step Seven 106
01.11.09 Step Eight 111
01.11.10 You Are Now Ready to Go for It 113
02 Small Talk, Flirting, and Networking 115
02.01 The Importance of Small Talk 116
02.01.01 Small Talk Versus Serious Discussions 116
02.01.02 Hating Small Talk 118
02.01.03 Small Talk Is Essential to Starting and Building Relationships 118
02.01.04 Using Small Talk to Assess People 119
02.01.05 Examples You Can Use 120
02.02 Start a Conversation – Opening Lines 121
02.02.01 Anything Is Better Than Silence 121
02.02.02 People Will Make Whatever You Said Work 122
02.02.03 Introductions 124
02.02.04 The Formula for Opening Lines 128
02.02.05 The Event 131
02.02.06 Common Interests of People at the Event 134
02.02.07 The Venue 136
02.02.08 The Theme of the Event 137
02.02.09 The Entertainment 137
02.02.10 Other People at the Event 138
02.02.11 The Food 139
02.02.12 The Host 140
02.02.13 Travel to the Location 140
02.02.14 The Honoree or Beneficiary 141
02.02.15 Event Speakers and Their Topics 142
02.02.16 Anything You Can Both See 143
02.02.17 News Events of the Day 145
02.02.18 Other Things You Have in Common 146
02.03 Keep a Conversation Going – Part I – Skills and Techniques 148
02.03.01 The Key to Keeping a Conversation Going 148
02.03.02 Always Give Other People Expandable Topics 151
02.03.03 When You Don’t Know What to Say Next 155
02.03.04 Talk about Subjects of Interest to Other People 159
02.03.05 Learn about Other People 160
02.03.06 Accept Everything 164
02.03.07 Special Interest Websites and Magazines 166
02.03.08 When People Introduce a New Word into Your Conversation 168
02.03.09 How to Change the Subject to Your Interests Using Transitions 170
02.03.10 The Boomerang Question 172
02.03.11 Anything Happening in the Room 173
02.03.12 Things You Have in Common with People 175
02.03.13 Good Questions 176
02.03.14 Other People’s Day so Far 179
02.03.15 Make a Game of Guessing Others’ Situations 180
02.03.16 Going from Specific to General or from General to Specific 181
02.04 Keep a Conversation Going – Part II – Topics of Conversation 183
02.04.01 Read up on the News 183
02.04.02 Don’t Try to Fake Knowledge 186
02.04.03 Learn the Right Questions to Ask for Each Topic 187
02.04.04 Personal Details about Other People 188
02.04.05 Listing Their Favourites in Various Categories 191
02.04.06 Work or School 192
02.04.07 Entertainment 193
02.04.08 Sports 194
02.04.09 Vacations – Past and Future 195
02.04.10 If You Could… 196
02.04.11 The Best Way to Improve Anything 197
02.04.12 What’s Your Opinion on… 197
02.04.13 Organizations and Causes They Support 197
02.04.14 What Has Changed with People You’ve Met before 198
02.05 The Best Ways to Suggest a Follow-Up Meeting or Second Date 199
02.05.01 Finding Good Follow-Up Events on the Spot 202
02.05.02 Discussing Entertainment News and Future Events 203
02.05.03 Be As Specific As You Can 204
02.05.04 Suggest Going to One of Your Favourite Places Discussed Earlier 205
02.05.05 Suggest They Show You Their Favourite Places 206
02.05.06 Suggest They Teach You an Activity They like 206
02.05.07 Challenge Them at an Activity You Both like 207
02.05.08 Suggest You Teach Them an Activity You like 208
02.05.09 Make an Effort to Meet up at the Next Event 209
02.05.10 Suggest You Work on Something Together 209
02.05.11 Suggest You Investigate Something Together 210
02.05.12 Suggest Trying Something New Together 211
02.05.13 Suggest You Work on Improving a Skill Together 211
02.05.14 Go to a Place Neither of You Have Been before 212
02.05.15 Suggest They Help You with Something or You Help Them with Something 213
02.05.16 Staying in Contact 214
02.06 Ending a Conversation 216
02.06.01 What Not to Say 216
02.06.02 What to Say 217
03 Always Have Something to Say 220
03.01 Introduction: Rules of the Communication Game 221
03.01.01 Popular People 222
03.01.02 They’re Not Actually That Smooth 223
03.01.03 The Perfect Quotable Response 224
03.01.04 People Expect the Conversation to Flow Naturally 225
03.01.05 Everyone Can Recognize Communication Mistakes 225
03.01.06 Everyone Meets People Who Are Not Skilled Communicators 226
03.01.07 A Barrier between You 227
03.02 Make the Right Impression 228
03.02.01 The Desire to Look Good Can Make You Nervous 228
03.02.02 To Be Confident, You Need a System You Can Trust 232
03.03 The Secret to Speaking to New People 234
03.03.01 Think Back to the Last Time You Heard Someone Speak 234
03.03.02 The Way You Felt 236
03.03.03 Different Expectation Levels 237
03.03.04 How Different Forms of Communication Rank 239
03.03.05 The Expectation of Quality for You when Approaching New People 241
03.03.06 Meeting Expectations Is Good, Exceeding Them Is Exceptional 244
03.04 Speaking to New People Effortlessly 246
03.04.01 Lessons from Improv Theatre 246
03.04.02 The Amateur 247
03.04.03 You Don’t Need to Apologize 249
03.04.04 Your Current Impromptu Speaking Skill Level 252
03.05 Confidence Boosting Cheats 254
03.05.01 Impromptu Speaking Doesn’t Have To Be Impromptu 254
03.05.02 Know Your Audience and What They Want to Learn Ahead of Time 256
03.05.03 Preparing Stock Bits of Information 258
03.05.04 Prepare, but Don’t Memorize 258
03.06 How to Always Be an Interesting Conversationalist 260
03.06.01 Be an Optimist 260
03.06.02 Don’t Be the Average Boring Person 261
03.06.03 Being a VIP 263
03.06.04 Important People 268
03.06.05 Talk about Current Events 270
03.06.06 Successful People Take Care of Themselves 270
03.06.07 VIPs Know It’s Important to Refresh 272
03.06.08 Take Time Out Of Your Busy Schedule for Other People 273
03.06.09 An Important Reminder 274
03.07 Accomplishing Your Relationship Goals 276
03.08 The Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule) Applies to Relationships 279
03.08.01 Trying to Please Everyone 282
03.09 How to Respond to… 287
03.09.01 People Who Brag 287
03.09.02 Deception 289
03.09.03 The Politician’s Answer 291
03.09.04 Topics You Don’t Want to Talk about 294
03.10 How to Approach Others to Start a Conversation 297
03.10.01 Who to Approach 297
03.10.02 Groups to Approach 299
03.10.03 How to Join a Group 301
03.10.04 Join the Conversation When You Join the Group 303
03.11 How to Practice Without Other People 305
03.11.01 All Skills Require Practice 305
03.11.02 Three Weeks Is Often Enough 306
03.11.03 Your Improvements Will Be Obvious and Encouraging 307
04 Building Rapport and Using Proper Manners 310
04.01 Good Conversation Habits That Make a Great Impression 311
04.01.01 Be Positive 311
04.01.02 Give Compliments 312
04.01.03 Make Other People Feel Important 313
04.01.04 Always Assume the Best of Other People 314
04.01.05 Own Blame and Share Credit 316
04.01.06 Dressing for the Event 318
04.01.07 A Friend Can Say Good Things about You to Others 319
04.01.08 Get into the Right State of Mind 321
04.01.09 Remember One Detail about People the Next Time You See Them 322
04.01.10 Making People Comfortable Helps You Forget You’re Nervous 324
04.01.11 Soften Your Opinion 325
04.01.12 Remembering Names 326
04.01.13 Communicating Using Technology Versus in Person 328
04.01.14 Where to Practice Your Communication Skills 330
04.01.15 Have Good Responses Prepared for the Obvious Questions 331
04.01.16 Be Excited to Meet People 333
04.01.17 Involve Everyone 335
04.01.18 Focus on the People You’re with 337
04.01.19 Think: “What If the President Said That?” 339
04.01.20 Let Other People Save Face 342
04.02 Bad Habits That Kill Conversations and Push People Away 346
04.02.01 One-Upping 346
04.02.02 Talking about Yourself 348
04.02.03 Bragging 350
04.02.04 Overusing Clichés 351
04.02.05 Complaining 352
04.02.06 Blaming 355
04.02.07 Interrupting 356
04.02.08 Being a Know-It-All 357
04.02.09 Offering Unsolicited Advice 360
04.02.10 Working the Room at a Social Event 361
04.02.11 Asking for Free Professional Advice 363
04.02.12 Gossiping 365
04.02.13 Using a Cell Phone 366
04.02.14 Making Jokes at the Expense of Others 369
04.02.15 Telling Inappropriate Jokes 372
04.02.16 Trying to Teach People a Lesson 374
04.02.17 Talking about Your Interests That No One Else Cares about 375
04.02.18 Sharing Too Much Personal Information 376
04.02.19 Asking Others to Share Too Much Personal Information 379
04.02.20 Arguing 380
04.02.21 Having to Be Right or Get the Last Word 382
04.03 Building Rapport and Developing a Relationship 384
04.03.01 Mirror Their Emotion 384
04.03.02 Use Quotes to Bond 386
04.03.03 Make Yourselves into a Group 387
04.03.04 Give Insider Information to Make Yourselves into a Group 389
04.03.05 Accept Other People’s Point of View 390
04.03.06 Assume the Best of Other People 391
04.03.07 Use the Same Vocabulary as Other People 393
04.03.08 Make People Feel Comfortable 396
04.04 A Quick and Easy Way to Be Popular 398
04.04.01 What Was Your First Interaction with Them like? 399
04.04.02 What Is Every Interaction with Them like? 400
04.04.03 What Do They Do That Makes You like Them? 400
05 Alpha Person Behaviours and Body Language 403
05.01 The Importance of Nonverbal Communication 404
05.01.01 Your First Impression Is Made from across the Room 404
05.01.02 Your Body Language Tells People How to Treat You 407
05.01.03 You Can Be Anyone You Want to Be 409
05.01.04 The Alpha Person Is Attractive to Everyone 410
05.01.05 Alpha People Are Very Important to Our Society 411
05.02 The 61 Alpha Person Characteristics and Behaviours 415
05.02.01 Keep Your Head up 415
05.02.02 Never Cross Your Body Parts 415
05.02.03 Claim More Space 416
05.02.04 Don’t Use Shields 416
05.02.05 Never Fidget 417
05.02.06 Always Look Relaxed 417
05.02.07 Ignore Distractions 418
05.02.08 Never Jump to Attention 418
05.02.09 Move Slowly, Calmly, and Deliberately 419
05.02.10 Be Rock Solid and Composed at All Times 419
05.02.11 Always Go First 420
05.02.12 Always Be in Front 420
05.02.13 Lead by Example 421
05.02.14 Always Take the High Road 421
05.02.15 Don’t Fear Judgment 422
05.02.16 Have a Firm and Confident Handshake 422
05.02.17 Don’t Fear Touching Other People to Express Yourself 422
05.02.18 Don’t Cringe When Others Touch You 423
05.02.19 Be Dependable 423
05.02.20 Stand up for Your Friends While They’re under Fire 423
05.02.21 Never Stab Anyone in the Back 424
05.02.22 Always Tell the Truth 424
05.02.23 Be Direct 425
05.02.24 Take a Stand and Make Your Opinions Known 425
05.02.25 Defend Your Ideas and Beliefs 426
05.02.26 Be Humble 426
05.02.27 Don’t Seek the Approval of Others 427
05.02.28 Make Sure Others Know You Always Finish the Fight 427
05.02.29 Be Comfortable Holding Eye Contact 428
05.02.30 Walk Tall 428
05.02.31 Walk like a Healthy Warrior 429
05.02.32 Always Keep Your Hands Out Of Your Pockets 429
05.02.33 Be Well-Groomed 430
05.02.34 Be Optimistic 430
05.02.35 Never Fear Failure 430
05.02.36 Never Get Embarrassed 431
05.02.37 Disclose Your Own Mistakes 432
05.02.38 Accept Responsibility for Your Actions 432
05.02.39 Be Upfront about Your Faults 433
05.02.40 Don’t Complain about Trivial Things or Things That Can’t Be Changed 433
05.02.41 Talk about Solutions — Not Shortcomings 434
05.02.42 Don’t Criticize Others 434
05.02.43 Never Make Fun of Others 434
05.02.44 Never Intentionally Embarrass Others 435
05.02.45 Treat Everyone with Respect 435
05.02.46 Help Others When You Can 435
05.02.47 Be Generous with Your Time, Skills, and Resources 436
05.02.48 Do Nice Things for Others 436
05.02.49 Always Be Comfortable 436
05.02.50 Have Exceptional Social Skills 437
05.02.51 Be Decisive 437
05.02.52 Take Action 438
05.02.53 Don’t Fear Responsibility 438
05.02.54 Don’t Be Afraid to Say No 438
05.02.55 Don’t Let Other Alpha People Intimidate You 439
05.02.56 Take Risks 439
05.02.57 Ask for What You Want 439
05.02.58 Approach Anyone You Want 440
05.02.59 Be Responsible for Your Own Life 440
05.02.60 Be Confident — Not Cocky 440
05.02.61 Speak on Your Own Terms 441
05.03 Nonverbal Communication Can Make or Break You 442
05.03.01 Eye Contact 443
05.03.02 Smile 444
05.03.03 Posture 445
05.03.04 Open Posture 447
05.03.05 Fidgeting 450
05.03.06 Their Body Language 451
05.03.07 Adapt to Other People 453
05.04 Traditional Body Language Books 455
05.04.01 What Most Body Language Books Teach You 455
05.04.02 Don’t Waste Time Learning Individual Gestures 456
05.05 Trying to Use Traditional Body Language Books Backwards 458
05.05.01 The Intended Users of Traditional Body Language Books 458
05.05.02 Interviews and Interrogations 460
05.05.03 Out of Sync Gestures 461
05.05.04 False Expectations about Using Traditional Body Language Books Backwards 462
05.05.05 Why Body Language Books Work without Everyone Reading Them 463
05.06 The Significance of Body Language 465
05.06.01 An Example of the Significance of Body Language 465
05.06.02 Your Body Language Speaks First 467
05.06.03 People Use Mental Shortcuts to Make Life Easier 468
05.06.04 Mental Shortcuts Used with Body Language 470
05.07 Body Language Can Make You a Leader 473
05.07.01 They Might Not Even Realize They’re Doing It 473
05.07.02 Body Language Identifies the Real Leaders—Not Who Has the Title 475
05.07.03 Subconscious Assessments Affect Conscious Opinions 476
05.08 How to Instantly Demonstrate You’re a Leader 478
05.08.01 How to Tap into Your Subconscious 479
05.08.02 Your Subconscious Mind Is Accurate and Perfectly Timed 483
05.08.03 Examples of the Power of Your Own Belief 484
05.08.04 When It Counts 487
05.09 Exercises to Demonstrate You’re a Leader 489
05.09.01 Unleashing Your Subconscious Mind 489
05.09.02 Imagine You’ve Already Accomplished What You Want to Accomplish 491
05.09.03 Imagine You’re Onstage Winning an Award 492
05.09.04 Imagine Everyone Knows You for What You Want to Be Known for 493
05.09.05 Imagine You’re a Celebrity 494
05.09.06 Imagining What Other People Have Felt 495
05.09.07 Making It Work 496
05.09.08 Imagining As If Determines Your Body Language 497
05.10 Conclusion 499
Purchasing this course in the at-home format is thousands of dollars cheaper than attending the seminar.
Module 1 – Overcoming the Fear of Approaching New People
Module 2 – Small Talk, Flirting, and Networking
Module 3 – Always Have Something to Say
Module 4 – Building Rapport and Using Proper Manners
Module 5 – Alpha Person Behaviours and Body Language
Module 6 – Dressing to Reduce Your Flaws and Enhance Your Strengths
Module 7 – Developing Confidence that Shows
Module 8 – Persuading People
Module 9 – Reading the Opposite Sex’s Interest Signals
Module 10 – Conducting Interviews to Extract Important Information
Purchasing this course in the at-home format is thousands of dollars cheaper than attending the seminar.
Someone has to make the first move to start a conversation. Most people fear making the first move; so the onus is on you. People who hesitate are stuck with whoever is willing to approach them—if anyone has the courage to do so.
You’ll learn not only how to conquer the fear of approaching new people, but also how to conquer any other fear holding you back in other areas of your life. You’ll learn how to confidently take risks so you can enjoy future gains in your business, social, and romantic lives.
Fear is responsible for more crushed dreams than any other problem people might encounter. People who don’t take action because they were too afraid never live a life where they’ve accomplished all of their dreams.
Skilled communicators always seem to know exactly what to say next. The skilled communicators’ comments go over well not because they are genius, but because they follow the rules of conversation. That gives people what they are expecting and seems like exactly the right thing to say.
You’ll go through opening lines, entertaining others, building a relationship, arranging a second meeting, then saying goodbye. You’ll know how to respond to any comment or question sent your way.
You’ll find many examples of opening lines you can use to start a conversation and discussion questions you can use to keep a conversation going. But, most importantly, you’ll learn the skills to develop your own opening lines and conversation topics.
Many people struggle with finding the right thing to say. This module helps you eliminate that problem. You’ll learn how to keep new ideas flowing so you can speak easily without awkward silences. Doing so allows you to confidently start and continue a conversation with anyone you chose.
These skills will not only make you an excellent conversationalist, but also make you a great impromptu speaker. Any time someone asks you a question, or asks you to speak about a topic, you’ll be ready to exceed everyone’s expectations. You’ll be armed with everything you need to deliver outstanding presentations with no preparation. You’ll have the tools and strategies necessary to speak impromptu on any topic.
You’ll learn the good communication habits that make others see you as an excellent communicator. Everyone expects others to have these traits. You’ll recognize them as positive character traits possessed by people you admire.
You’ll also learn the bad communication habits that annoy, offend, and bore people. Reviewing the bad habits will help you pinpoint why you dislike many of the people who annoy you. They probably don’t even know they have those bad habits. Their bad communication habits can make it impossible for many people to like them.
Building rapport is essential to moving any business or personal relationship to the next level. You’ll learn several techniques you can use to quickly increase the level of rapport between you and others.
Your nonverbal communication is making your first impression with other people long before your first words to them. When you walk into a room, everyone sees you and receives your nonverbal communication. They use that first impression of you to size you up, decide where you fit into the social hierarchy, and to decide whether or not you might be someone interesting to them for business, personal, or romantic reasons.
If you don’t immediately transmit nonverbal communication that interests other people, they’ll quickly overlook you as just another random person in the room.
The opposite is also true. If you’re communicating nonverbal information that appeals to other people, you will be attracting people from all sides of the room.
Zane Rozzi is a successful entrepreneur. He is also well known in the field of executive development. Zane Rozzi has a large and loyal following as a pickup artist who teaches others the keys to success in attracting the opposite sex. He designed and produced the popular and highly praised Communication Fundamentals course.
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Social Media Depression discusses the communication trends unique to social media and the effects those trends could be having upon people. Social media use creates a new set of behaviour patterns, unspoken rules, and expectations that both you and others must measure up to. The first issue discussed in Social Media Depression is social comparison. We feel good when we’re doing as well as, or better than, others. We feel bad when we aren’t. Social media provides a constant stream of other people’s accomplishments to compare ourselves to. We take others’ posts at face value, but they are highly embellished. People take pictures from the perfect angle and exaggerate when writing descriptions. People want to look good to others. Their exaggerations skew our comparisons. We use social media to kill time while we’re bored. As a result, we automatically compare our most boring moments to the exaggerated best moments posted by other people. The result: Our lives look boring in comparison and depression can set in. Exaggerated social comparison is the first of many issues discussed in Social Media Depression. The book doesn't discourage social media use. Instead, it teaches social media users how to avoid any negative effects.