The dangers of outsourcing your reality and identity to Facebook or any other social media platform

For the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about something I noticed a couple of years ago when I traveled the world.

In this trip, it surprised me that a lot of people were traveling alone. But also, my psychology training told me that the ones who used social media all the time showed symptoms of depression. But it turned out that it wasn’t just about people who were traveling alone, but also people on groups.

I know, there are several studies that link depression with the use of social media, but I knew there was something bigger than that.

I believe social media platforms are tweaking our perception of reality and shaping our identities without we even notice it.
I wrote an entire article about this. If you can find the time to read it and share your thoughts here, it would mean the world to me.


Borja, I shared your article on our MeWe page. Thanks for writing it.


@borja great article. I’ve worked in psychiatry before- and know about delusional behavior- while reading your piece I had this thought about whether this type delusional behavior is learned or copied, or innate?

Your inner reflection is brilliant. I suspect kids of the 20 something generation are realizing this too.

By the way- if delusional behavior is prominent in high social media users- maybe there should be a mental health warning on these platforms. Part of the treatment of delusional behavior is redirecting and guiding people into reality based thinking.

Thanks for posting- keep writing on these topics!!

1 Like

If we could write a book about people’s insecurities we could call it the Neverending Story. There are few things more horrifying in daily rich world life, or more commonplace than people who live their lives as prisoners of their own insecurities about their own self-identity. Who am I? Am I no one? Am I not good? Blah blah blah. Pathetic. Too many don’t respect themselves and can’t live in peace.

So insecure people seek fake approval from fake friends, by being surrounded by people, either online or in the real world, who are not their friends at all. Why do so many people, out of fear, surround themselves with the trash of the world such as social networks, lowlives at parties and bars, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs? These recipes only lower one’s one self-worth, furthering the cycle of insecurity in a downward spiral which can then lead to additional serious abnormal phycological comorbidities including self-directed hate and the desire to harm one’s self or others.

People just be comfortable with who you are and fill you life with the positive and healthy. Resorting to social networks and to seeking approval from other messed up people who could care less about you is only making things worse. Find some real interests, grow yourself, and just be happy with your real friends and family. Better to spend all your life with 5 real friends and family and have real conversations with them, then it is to try to have 100 fake friends online or in person. Your world should be limited to your friends, family, work, hobbies and people you interact with on a daily basis. You are not a public figure on social media and should not want to be, because fame has dangers and is unsettling as we can see with so many celebrities being insane.

Thank you very much to the original poster! Very thoughtful and insightful observations.


Thank you @patm for spreading the word

Thanks @healthyswimmer! It’s difficult to point out the type of delusional behavior we’re talking about, but I believe this kind of behavior is developed. It’s not developed by that person herself, but by these platforms that sell our attention to the highest bidder.

Warning people sounds like it could be a short-term fix, but before we’re able to do that, we all have to agree on the problem. And we’re not even talking about this on a proper scale.

Thank you @Free. What we’re seeing isn’t new. It started way before with advertising back in the 50s (or even before that) when they started to play with status roles. Which, by the way, I don’t think that using status as marketing is a bad thing–what matters are the intentions and the consequences.

Using status roles to propagate the use on vaccines in developing countries is a good thing. Using status roles to make us miserable and suck up our attention, that’s a bad thing.

The problem we have today is that the scope is way bigger than ever before.

1 Like

Really enjoyed the article, @borja! I think it serves very well to raise awareness with your audience.

If I may provide some feedback (like last time but shorter), I’d say this article is much better structured, and is an easy, entertaining read. It leads you along the paragraphs very well. So - while it is longer - one does not notice that. Very well done.

Referring back to the previous article, where people started unduly criticizing and trolling, this article will not have that problem, I think. That is because it is written as an ‘opinion piece’, a personal story and not statements of fact from an expert POV. Something people do recognize and mirror to their own experiences.

The only think I noticed are some big leaps - to an uninformed audience at least - occuring at the end of the article, that maybe warrants additional follow-ups and/or explanation:

“Deep down, everybody cares about his or her own story. But, collectively, we all suffer from the stories social media pushes us to believe. They do matter to all of us, because these stories are what shape our society and dictate our future. If you mess up with these stories, then Brexit happens, Trump happens, but also Wars happen. It shifts the situation from the wisdom of crowds to the madness of crowds.”

Fully agree with these statements, but how my personal social media use relates to e.g. ‘Wars that happen’ is not immediately clear to many, I think.

Keep them coming, @borja :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks @aschrijver! :slight_smile:

When you start writing an article you never know where it’s going to end. I think that including a personal story or something that people can relate themselves with is the key.

Since I wrote the other article I made the decision to just write for a certain group of people (like CHT). That way I can connect with people like you on a deeper level. In the end, we’re the early adopters, the change makers. So if I can influence this group with my ideas even a little bit, then I’ll be satisfied.

Thank you for all your comments, it makes me eager to write more stuff!


Great, great news. This article has made it to the front page of hacker news.

Thank you all for sharing it. I hope we can spread the word and make people think about this, especially during Christmas…

1 Like