Spouting crap on Facebook may make you mad

30 December 2014

Bitterwallet - Facebook Everyone talks bollocks on Facebook, but according to a new survey, it might be doing them harm and making them paranoid.

First up there's the danger that people will start to believe their own inflated boastings.

Two-thirds of social media types also tend to air-brush their existence in exchange for likes and a growth in their narcissism, as findings from Pencourage claim. 68% of their respondees said they embellish, exaggerate or outright lie when documenting events on social media.

Psychologists are warning of this trend to pump-up nonsense and calling it 'digital amnesia', believing their own rubbish and it buggering about with real life memories. By lying on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, users may ‘rewrite’ their memories. Nearly half of respondents claimed to feel paranoia, sadness and shame as a result of not being able to live up to their online image.

Showing off on social media may result in an erosion of people's personal identity. Dr Richard Sherry, clinical psychologist and founding member of the Society for Neuropsychoanalysis said: "Our need to document and share our lives is part of our nature and beneficial – but the strengths and drawbacks of social media need to be understood better by society."

"Recent studies show that memories are actually modified and less accurate whenever we “retrieve” them from our minds, to the point of entirely changing their nature over time. Being competitive is normal. However, the dark side of this social conformity is when we negate what authentically feels to be “us” to the degree that we no longer recognise the experience, our voice, the memory or the view of ourselves."

"When this starts to happen, feelings of guilt and distaste towards ourselves can create psychological problems, including anxiety. This can exacerbate certain personality traits which can become unhelpful, if not outright destructive."

This behaviour on social media has disturbing implications due to something called 'autobiographical memory', Dr Sherry says. "Many studies have demonstrated that even the simple act of imagining a childhood event increases a person’s confidence that the event happened to them in the past.

Researchers have demonstrated how readily false memories can form through the simple use of language. Even the phrasing of a narrative can shape how we later remember it."

Ooh er.

So in future, document the dullness and mundanity of modern life on your updates, rather than that time you flew off to the moon on a moped made of mince to eat platinum chocolate buttons with Kate Moss. Again.

TOPICS:   Social Media

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