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Social media fantasies; game or impersonation?

A young man taking a picture showing his six-packs at the gym
Tochi Juliet

Social media has become a global village where you get to meet old friends you haven't seen for a while. With the help of social media, you can easily trace and locate a friend and even an enemy which you have been on the lookout for.

When you login into different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest, you tend to get different views of life as you tend to see many exotic lifestyles, especially on Instagram.

What we see on social media is perfect lives, oh! Let me not say perfect for the sake of exaggeration but 'near-perfect'. Everyone seemingly appears to be doing well and living their best lives, showing off expensive cars, excellent relationships, while some are always travelling.

I was discussing recently with a friend, and I told him that it seems we don't have average Nigerians because all over social media, we see people with exotic cars and exotic lifestyles that take extra cash to fund.

We keep hearing that the county is hard, recession and economic meltdown everywhere. However, when one gets to social media, you see the same people that lament flaunt different makes of cars, travelling out to abroad for vacation, shopping unnecessarily and always calling the enormous amount of money they invested in one peripheral thing or the other.

It keeps me wondering if the country is hard, or am I the only one not meeting up with the turn of events?

Three ladies in a vacation taking a selfie beside the beach

You know one can easily slide into depression after seeing the extravagant lifestyles your mates are living and possibly, you still owe your landlord two years rent.

Some may feel those that will suddenly slide into depression are suffering from lack of contentment. Let's take it this way. You haven't seen your good friend since secondary school, and you happen to meet him after ten years on social media, with his kids, duplex and flashy cars, while you are still living in one room rented apartment.

Definitely, you will feel disappointed. If you didn't experience any feeling of disappointment, then you are suffering from complacent and need counselling.

At a time, Instagram was used as a tool for validation that those with fewer likes are viewed as less attractive.

The inability of some to present their real lives on social media has caused them an internal struggle which, in the end, landed some in jail.

The pressure of taking the right picture, with the right filter, wearing the proper outfit, at the right place, with the right people, it's just much of pressure, and this is what some go through every day.

In as much as I will not like to talk about the present case on the ground, I can't escape at least not mentioning him, Hushpuppi.

I'm left to ask if these fake lives we see on social media should be taken to be just a game or an act of impersonation. A situation whereby a carpenter's son lives like a politician's son. Should we consider it to be a game or an act of impersonation?

An impersonation is an act of pretending to be another person for the purpose of entertainment or fraud. If we should go by this definition, what then do you think because those who engage in it neither do it for entertainment nor for fraud. What exactly can this be called?

The pressure to belong has destroyed many. According to Director of the Psychiatric Care Unit, Rwanda Biomedical Center, Dr Jean-Damascene Iyamuremye, "There is a strong body of research linking social media use with depression, lower self-esteem, and social anxiety, feeling of a lack of connection, feelings of inferiority and deterioration in concentration."

Many other researchers have established that social media constitute a large portion of metal stress in many people.

Left for me, I will strongly suggest that laws that will punish those social media fake lives severely should be instituted. Fake lives on social media should be seen as a crime because the negative effect is numerous.

Trying to put others into mental stress with your unreal situations should be a crime punishable by law.

In order to avoid unnecessary stress and pressure, Schedule regular multi-day breaks from social media. Several studies have shown that even a five-day or week-long break from Facebook can lead to lower stress and higher life satisfaction.

If social media fantasies are to be a game, its high time it stopped, and if it as an act of impersonation, the offenders should be sleeping in the jail already. Let's take action!

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