Social media platforms are known for many good things. They provide entertainment, educational content, and a lot more that revolves around convenience. But as they say, nothing in this world is perfect. Using social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram also has drawbacks. Sure, people benefit so much from them, but at the same time, social media platforms also negatively impact their lives. For instance, a financial adviser says that Facebook and Instagram make their users poor.
Triggering Envy and Impulsive Buying Facebook Post Likes
Platforms like Instagram are known to introduce people to what is trendy. From what is currently considered fashionable to the latest gimmicks in weddings, you can find them all on Instagram. Since humans have this unexplainable desire to keep up with the rest of the world, users want to have or experience what they see on social media. If they see that many of their friends recently went to this particular place, they too will go, no matter how expensive the trip is. Does everybody seem to drink milk tea nowadays? That is because they are influenced by what they saw on posts with purchased Facebook Likes or Instagram.
With that said, do not be surprised if your partner suddenly changes preferences regarding which house to buy. Or if they suddenly tell you, they want a gender reveal party for your upcoming baby. Probably, Instagram and Facebook put them in a trance that left them wanting to one-up their friends. All of it is just for likes and attention.
Of course, these do not come for free. People have to spend money to get that done, buy this object, or experience that sensation. The thing is, there will always be new trends. As a result, the users will spend more and more cash, burning through their bank accounts really, really fast.
A survey by Mint from last year revealed more than a third of Americans admit social media has influenced their spending habits. However, 64% of them wonder how their friends can afford all the things they are posting about.
Brent Weiss, the co-founder of the financial advisory firm Facet Wealth, identifies the root of impulsive buying behavior. He said the mistake lies in trusting what they see online.
Instagram and Facebook Posts Are Only The Highlights Of The Story
On social media platforms, especially on Instagram, there is a race to see who gets the most followers. As it happens, someone’s profile tells things about them. Based on what they post, other users will decide whether it is worth following them or not. Because of that, there has been an unwritten rule about what people can post on Instagram.
Users are “only” allowed to post “perfect” photos and videos. Else, they risk ruining their Instagram Feed. The camera angles, filters, and captions must be thought out carefully. Even the subject of the post and the time of posting needs to be considered. You would not want to post a video of yourself doing the mannequin challenge now. That trend has died already. But you would like to post a photo of yourself wearing the latest, trendiest pair of shoes. Likewise, you could post a snap of yourself relaxing at the most famous tourist spots at the moment.
But here is the problem. As emphasized above, to do those, people need to spend money. And money does not come in easily.
You may see your friends have gone to Paris during the holiday season. But, you would not see what it cost them through their social media posts. It does not tell the whole story. Maybe they sold something important to cover the expenses. They could also have borrowed the money, or worse, they stole it. You see how they spend, but not how they save.
Another example is seeing a post of someone you know standing in front of an expensive sports car. Let’s pretend you have enough money to buy that model. However, you plan to buy a cheaper car and save the extra cash for other uses like emergencies. Now, you changed your mind and decided to scrap your plans altogether because you saw that post. You are going to buy that car. But who told you your friend actually owned what is in the picture? It could be someone else’s, and he just stood in front of it. Why? For likes! You just wasted money because you let envy get the best of you.
Facebook and Instagram posts are manipulative like that. They can make you have feelings of inadequacy, better known as FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. Furthermore, they give you unrealistic images of what your life should be.
According to Weiss, this distorted image of your friends’ finances can be dangerous when you’re making a huge financial decision. It could unnecessarily empty your wallet.
Weiss says the problem is not poor planning. Instead, it is not having a concrete plan. Since you have not set proper goals, you can easily be persuaded to spend your money on something unimportant.
Weiss advocates an antisocial policy when it comes to social media and financial decisions. He insists that you stop thinking about what others are doing and focus on your own values and goals instead.
Rather than keeping up with the latest trends, Weiss says you should ask yourself three questions. First, what is it that you want? Then, identify how much it is. Last, ask yourself how much you need it and when you would need it. That way, you can see how much you need to save for an ideal situation. Furthermore, you can look at how that decision impacts the rest of your life.
He advises prioritizing what you need now and what fits within your budget. Buy the unneeded things later if you still have extra cash. The whole gist of it is to base your decisions on your life. Not on other people’s lives, and certainly not on their Facebook and Instagram posts.