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Why Braggers Are Disliked On Social Media And Why You Should Avoid Being One Of Them?

Imagine, a distant friend shows up at your door with a photo album. He immediately starts showing you pictures of his fancy dinners, scenic vacations, beautiful family, and expensive purchases. Would you want him to visit you again? Probably not.

How Many Of Your Social Media Friends Show Off Their Exaggerated Lifestyles

Now open your social media accounts and count the number of people who have exactly shared what is described above. Before social media, it would have been highly unlikely for people to show off their newly found fortunes with just a few clicks. However, it all changed when people found a free online space that promotes and encourages people to display their lives for all to see.

Sharing images has become a common practice, but have you considered how social media images affect your online ‘friends’? Sharing too many photos of family and/or friends could harm one’s relationship quality. One study found that the frequency of photos sharing on social media can impact the levels of support and intimacy provided by family and friends. 

Showing off, proud

Upon downloading a social media application, you are asked for an access to your camera, microphone, and saved photo album. The privacy policy, that no one reads, states that in case of a data breach, the company will not be held liable for any harm caused by the data leak.

For convenience, most users allow an unlimited access to all the pictures stored on their devices. It is important to know that once an image is shared online, it gets stored as a permanent mark. Unfortunately, even permanently deleting the social media account associated with the image will not delete the image.

What Do People Like To Flaunt In An Picture Form On Social Media

Below is a list of things people like to share on social media. The list is not exhaustive, but it covers many of the items people show off.

  • Family
  • Cars/Motorcycles
  • Branded items they own or rent
  • Designer clothes and shoes
  • Family
  • Extensive decorations for events
  • Vacation
  • Money
  • Business class travel
  • Job Promotion
exhibitionist, advertise

Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, shared his children’s pictures on Facebook, but covered their faces with a smiley face. He did not share his wedding photos but changed his status from single to married. Note here, the founder of the most used social media (Facebook) prefers to keep his family life private. If the Facebook founder does not share his private information, why does his company promote information sharing? Sharing pictures benefits the social media companies who are competing for users’ engagement. It is a simple math, more time on social media means that advertisers will have more time to pitch their products to users. 

A Picture that was Once Worth a Thousand Words is Now Worth Millions Of Words 

The famous proverb ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ has a different meaning when it is shared on social media as an image. Once an image is shared online, friends can easily like it, flag it, comment on it, and share it.  If an image is shared thousands of times, it becomes a trend. Trending images reach millions of users due to the fear of missing out (FOMO), which exponentially increases the power and reach of online images. 

Despite realizing the power of online images, it is unfortunate that people aimlessly share pictures of themselves, their family, and their newest purchases. Each image affects people differently based on their subjective experiences. Some people are in favor of posting pictures arguing that their intention is not to hurt others. However, intention does not matter if others are getting hurt anyway.  

Images on social media, jealousy, envy, suspicion
Sharing pictures on social media brandishing new purchases and supposed lifestyles is irritating

What Feelings Are Invoked Among “Online Friends” Upon Viewing Social Media Images

Viewing pictures of a friend’s family vacation on the social media could invoke a spectrum of feelings based on each person’s subjective experiences. Undoubtedly, there will be many people on social media who cannot afford a vacation or do not have a family to enjoy it with. In contrast, there will be some people who frequently take vacations. Common sense dictates that the emotional response in both scenarios will be markedly different. More than likely, the emotional response in people facing hardship would be that of anger, resentment, jealousy, and/or envy. Whereas, those with an overabundance of resources may experience downward social comparison, which is feeling self-enhanced by observing others’ misfortunes. 

Despite the innate emotional response to the family vacation pictures, some people with more emotional control might send well wishes or click on the like button, but are those wishes sincere? In a sense, social media promotes hypocrisy and repression of normal emotional response. 

Take home message

Before showing off your fortunes on social media, think of all those who are not as fortunate. It is better to privately share your fortunes with your well-wishing family and real friends.

About the Author: Irum Abbasi is a post-doctoral researcher. Her research focuses on unraveling different ways in which social media shapes and influences various types of relationships, ranging from personal connections to professional networks.

https://mindfulrelation.com/is-your-social-media-friends-list-filled-with-people-you-dislike/
https://mindfulrelation.com/strange-world-of-social-media-where-strangers-become-friends/
https://mindfulrelation.com/strange-world-of-social-media-where-strangers-become-friends/

For further reading

https://www.cnn.com/2023/07/09/tech/mark-zuckerberg-emoji-kids-faces/index.html#:~:text=Zuckerberg%27s%20post%20was%20promptly%20criticized,parents%20to%20do%20just%20that.

Houghton, D., Joinson, A., Caldwell, N., & Marder, B. (2013). Tagger’s delight? Disclosure and liking in Facebook: the effects of sharing photographs amongst multiple known social circles. Discussion Paper. University of Birmingham, Birmingham. http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/1723/1/2013-03_D_Houghton.pdf

About the Author: Dr. Irum Abbasi is a post-doctoral researcher. Her research focuses on unraveling different ways in which social media shapes and influences various types of relationships, ranging from personal connections to professional networks.

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