The Facebook inferiority complex
Published 25 July 2012
One in five Facebook and Twitter users admit they constantly compare themselves to other users.
Opinion Matters surveyed more than 1,300 people for loan company, SavviLoans.co.uk.
The results suggest that the constant status updates and pictures of weddings, new homes, babies, purchases and other boasts are leaving some users questioning their own lives.
Almost 30% of people admitted to feeling envious of friends, family members, colleagues and neighbours who appear to have more than them.
More than over 40% said they didn’t like to think they were missing out.
One in seven of those surveyed said they felt stressed about trying to keep up with others.
And even the turbulent financial outlook hasn't dampened the need felt by some to show others they are living a life that is just as fun and exciting. Only 30% said the current economic environment had made them feel less pressure to measure up to the lives of others.
And 'keeping up with the Joneses' is affecting ever younger generations. More than half of the 16 to 24-year-olds surveyed admitted they spent much of their time trying to measure up to the lives lived by their Facebook friends.
Older folks are at it too, with a third of social media users between the ages of 25 and 44 admitting they are comparing themselves to others on the networks. Older people appear to be less affected, with only one in ten 45 to 54-year-olds saying they did this.
Dr Sandra Scott, psychiatrist said: "The rise of social networking means there are so many more ‘Joneses’ to keep up with in today’s society.
"We are all sharing more information about our lives with more people and can end up comparing ourselves to lifestyles projected by others through social media.
"We all have a tendency, to varying degrees, to be concerned about how other people view us and this can lead us to compare our lifestyles unfavourably to others who appear more affluent.
"The key is to keep perspective and to focus on the positives of who we are, and what we do have.”
The survey found that the most desired items for people to invest in to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ include:
2: New Kitchen or Bedroom
3: New Car
4: Conservatory / loft conversion
5: New Bathroom