Online Citizenship in the Digital Age (2010s)

-Is perfectionism killing marketing initiatives and our personal lives?-

Online beauty standards have an impact on adolescents’ perceptions of what it entails to be attractive and influence heavily their stance on what a good life should look like. With increased social media presence in all areas of life, the mounting pressure to look flawless is damaging young people’s mental and physical health, according to an Australian research.

With an in-depth look at the health risks of social media usage, findings conclude that the generation on the rise, Generation Z, is more likely to embody the spirit of a ‘perfectionist’. This embodiment is fostered by an easy access to the influx of information across all social media tools. As a result, these youths have difficulties comprehending that mistakes and disappointments in life are unavoidable, if not vital to personal growth and character shaping.

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Humans tend to be critical of themselves and lack the ability to see the positive side of a situation if they are always living in the notion that life is supposed to be perfect, like the lives of other people on social media (Walsh). This false belief, if not remedied by a tactful parenting approach or counselling and mentoring professionals, leads to higher risks of diagnosed mental health conditions, like depression, in young people (Walsh).

In modern times, the influence of social media is almost equivalent to that of the print and broadcasting media at the beginning of the millennium. As global citizens, we found out about the 911 Terrorist attack by tuning into evening news in major nations around the world, including Canada. We also got our news by reading the paper (with a cup of café on the side, of course), and not on social media in the news’ column. We decided to go out and try a new restaurant because a dear friend thought highly of it. Unlike nowadays, getting our restaurant info online and making our choices based on other foodies’ reviews is the norm, regardless of platform.

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With the release of Facebook’s annual report in recent years, the statistics on social media usage are staggering. If precautions are not taken, the myth that mental illnesses (including types of eating disorders) will be replacing cancer as the deadliest human disease in the decades to come maybe validated. What is really at stake here?

 We know the magnitude of cancer in our lives. Regardless of whether we experience it first-hand or not, when an acquaintance or neighbour is lost, the world is infiltrated with mourning and sorrow. In the same way, if your closed one or someone you know has diagnosed mental health conditions or challenges, imagine the ripple effects it would have in the relationship and beyond.

If adolescents lack a deep understanding about what type of users are on social media and the inherent self-branding and business marketing goals, the result will be disastrous. There is always more underneath the surface. The adolescents today and world carriers tomorrow need to know this. The life of practicing perfectionists is always a struggle. Happiness is translucent or rather it is never mine to keep in the first place.

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As the President and CEO at SocialKNX and the founder of DIY social, Gina Schreck argues that perfectionism kills creativity. Although marketing initiatives are inherently related to the idea of making a product or service appear desirable and perfect, it is costly and ineffective in the long run. The content itself has space for NOT being completely on point and flawless. Her reasons for this argument include that time is often a constraint in the production of marketing materials, in addition to the need for authentic business practices that foster a genuine interaction with customers online.

Read her proposed solutions HERE

Besides its intended purpose to enlarge the influence of marketers’ contents on social media spaces, perfectionism oozes unrealistic beauty standards.

Depicting a ‘beautiful and perfect’ life online self-reinforces, but what impact does it have on the public who is receiving the message? Are we helping customers the way we want to online? Did we, as social media users, lose touch of the initial spark and our responsibility as online citizens?

To bring originality, stamina, and character into the businesses we are helping to represent online is a social media specialist’s responsibility.

In spite of that, all individuals need to think about the consequences of their online activities and the message that is consciously or unconsciously replayed in the domain. You are not completely you online, so please cater your posts with things that genuinely matter to you, that you would want to see in your own feed. Authenticity is the key to unlocking a sense of equilibrium that is desperately needed across all social media platforms and tools.

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Social media tools have NOT progressed out of proportion within the speed of light, but social behaviours did and will be for the rest of humanity (Bokij – Lesson 3).  

 

*The following articles were used as inspirations and research for this blog entry:  Perils of Perfection – To Look Perfect on Social Media & The Perils of Perfection in Marketing: 5 Facts That Will Motivate You and 4.5 Steps to Recovery

Twitter Promotional Post:

Is perfectionism killing marketing initiatives and our personal lives? A perspective is offered, explore: http://bit.ly/2zTvstS

Facebook Promotional Post:

There may be more underneath the surface than picture-perfect lives on Instagram. How does the ideals of perfectionism, which infiltrate our social media feeds, influence the younger generations of the changing millennium?

For a detailed synopsis on the impact of social media on youth around the world, and the perils of perfection in marketing, deepen your understanding on social media and online business ventures today!

Access your article ‘Online Citizenship in the Digital Age’ NOW.

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Works Cited

Bokij, Alexandra. “Lesson 3: Social Media’s Impact on Communication Practices.” AL-COM0011, Blackboard. 2012. Web. 19 Nov. 2017.

Walsh, Liz. “Perils of perfection: Social media is ramping up the pressure on young people to be perfect.” International News 9 June 2017. News.com. Web. 19 Nov 2017.

Possible Discussion Questions

#1 (personal)

i. What are some of the ways to protect the younger generations as they head into adolescence when communication with parents becomes sparse and unauthentic?

ii. Does the phenomenon of becoming fully independent and growing up in the digital age with social media give educators a need to create programs that target online safety and offer tips for successful and effective social media usage?

#2 (business)

i. How might perfectionism help an organization attain their business goals? (in the areas of marketing and beyond…)

ii. Do businesses really make more money and have better consumer reviews when their feed is flawless, regardless of whichever social media tool they choose to adhere to? What are some challenges business face in their pristine presentation of contents?

One thought on “Online Citizenship in the Digital Age (2010s)

  1. It’s interesting how many people fit into certain online personas and how often they are not anything like who they are in real life. Social media has definitely created a platform for people to hide their real lives behind the curtain of perfection. For some people maybe this helps them come out of their shell a bit, but I think it’s likely a growing trend in the psychological community for it to have the opposite effect.

    I actually have a friend who posts everything she does, every meal she eats, every television show she watches, etc and has created an online persona that is very different from who she really is – her therapist has said in as many words that her Tumblr is toxic to her mental health and her desire to look perfect to people on the internet actually leaves her feeling more imperfect in her “real” life. It’s an interesting topic, thanks for sharing!

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