Social media actually makes us feel lonely and miserable, studies show
Instagram’s most popular user briefly made her account private.
Selena Gomez pulled her posts from public view on Tuesday, leaving her 130 million followers puzzling over why social media’s favorite photo stream was suddenly out of sight for anyone who wasn’t pre-approved.
She’s since made her pix public again, but the disappearing act comes after a cryptic (and now deleted) Instagram story she posted in response to her recent Billboard magazine interview, where she was quoted calling a 5-foot teddy bear someone gave her as “ridiculous.”
IG | selenagomez via instagram stories: “never will i let another human being guess my words ever again. Or invite them in my home.” pic.twitter.com/Vac9Rfg5Fo
— Selena Gomez News (@SelenaHQ) December 5, 2017
Gomez, 25, had posted a screenshot of the quote with, “Never will I let another human being guess my words ever again. Or invite them in my home. That is so hurtful. The most ‘ridiculous’ part of that is no one knowing my heart when I say things,” before pulling it down.
Of course, the “Hands to Myself” singer has been candid about her Insta fatigue, telling Vogue that she often deletes the app from her phone. “As soon as I became the most followed person on Instagram, I sort of freaked out,” she said. “I was an addict, and it felt like I was seeing things I didn’t want to see, like it was putting things in my head that I didn’t want to care about. I always end up feeling like s— when I look at Instagram.”
She’s not the only one suffering oversharing exhaustion. In July, Ed Sheeran temporarily deleted his Twitter account hours after his divisive “Game of Thrones” cameo spurred internet trolls to come swinging for him. He brought it back, but now notes in his bio that he no longer tweets.
“One comment ruins your day,” the 26-year-old “Shape of You” singer told The Sun. “The head-f*** for me has been trying to work out why people dislike me so much.”
But this peace of mind comes at a price. When Kim Kardashian took a social media break following her traumatic Paris attack last year, it cost her a about $300,000 per sponsored post, and about $1 million per month in general posts during her online hiatus. She said the temporary withdrawal was worth it, though. “I think it’s so beneficial for everyone in life, no matter what you do, who you are, how old you are, you need a digital detox,” she told Ryan Seacrest. Plus, when she returned online earlier this year, that first shot grabbed more than 3.1 million likes on Instagram and another 91,000 retweets and 275,000 likes on Twitter.
Gomez’s posts are estimated to be worth $775,000, second only to Beyonce, whose Facebook or Instagram posts are worth more than $1 million. So that’s probably why she just made her posts temporarily private instead of signing off of Instagram completely, even though the photo-sharing site has been shown to make young people more miserable than any other social media platform as they “compare and despair” others’ perfectly filtered pix with their own lives.
Social network advertising spending is expected to hit nearly $36 billion this year, or roughly 16% of all digital ad spending globally, according to eMarketer, largely driven by celebrities endorsing brands on their feeds. So Gomez might want to keep that potential revenue stream open. And making herself scarce actually made her more desirable.
“Disappearing online helps Gomez’s value, as people have to request to follow her, and she can say yes or no,” Mark Zablow, CEO of Cogent Entertainment Marketing, told Moneyish. “Social currency rules in today’s marketplace. Being accepted by a celebrity adds to your value as a consumer on social media. It gives consumers something to desire and be rewarded with a ‘badge’ of honor that she personally accepted them.”
Gomez seems over Instagram for now, however. And here’s five reasons that science supports limiting your time oversharing on social media, period.
1. It exposes you to cyberbullying. More than half of teens have been bullied online, with 87% reporting it happened on Facebook, and 19% on Twitter. And cyberbullying is related to low self-esteem, thoughts of suicide, anger, frustration and other emotional and psychological problems.
2. Trolls are actually psychopaths. A couple of studies that quizzed online users about their trolling behavior – such as asking whether they “enjoy physically hurting people” – have found that the meanest commenters show higher traits of narcissism, psychopathy and sadism.
3. It’s isolating. The more time people spend on social media, the more alone they feel, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Spending more than two hours on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat can double your risk of feeling socially isolated, compared to just swiping and scrolling for 30 minutes or less.
4. It makes you spend more. Seeing friends’ pix of their perfect vacation or restaurant plate makes roughly four in 10 adults more likely to look into a similar purchase or getaway, and 11% buy something after seeing a friend share it on social. One third of Millennials in particular report feeling pressured to keep up with their friends’ spending habits, and two-thirds say they compare their personal situations to others due to social media.
5. It lets companies track you. Advertisers are tracking the digital footprint you’ve left by “liking” and following brands and influencers on Facebook and other social media networks, which is why targeted ads often “follow” you to other sites. Facebook even had to apologize in April after a leaked document revealed two top Australian Facebook execs used algorithms to collect data on the emotional state of high school students from their posts that could be used to target when they were most vulnerable to advertising messages.
This story was previously published on July 5, and has been updated with the news that Gomez had made her Instagram private.
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