6th March 2015

Are you a Smoaster?

Holiday resized

Recently, The Guardian published new research that shows smartphones are psychologically addictive and encourage narcissistic tendencies.

Are we really surprised by this?

Let’s face it – what do you do first thing in the morning, after a long day at work, after a workout or after you’ve had some particularly amazing news?

If you sheepishly answered “check my phone” or “post on social media” then you’re not alone.

For the overwhelming majority, checking our phone and social media accounts is high on our priorities list. With mobilestatistics.com revealing we spend at least 23 days a year in total glued to our phones (with a large chunk of this time on social media), I decided to delve deeper into the narcissistic smartphone stratosphere and discovered it goes deeper than the #selfie

Zoe Blog 1

SOCIAL MEDIA BRAGGERS

Worryingly, use of smartphones and social media has evolved from taking well-lit, well posed photos of ourselves and smugly posting them online, then eagerly awaiting the likes and comments to roll in. For some, social media has become an arena to portray an exciting, cram packed life full of success – even though reality might be quite different.

I am of course talking about the rise of online boasters, known as “smoasters” (social media boasters).

You know who I mean: that friend on Facebook who posts a seemingly never-ending stream of good news, wonderful experiences and gushes about how fantastic their life is going.

As generally nice humans, this news is great and we’re happy for the person in question…aren’t we? Not quite so. According to a study published last month by Harvard University researchers, people are now less likely to want to hear about the more exciting experiences of their peers.

For this reason, people are now more likely to tune out that amazing holiday photo or scroll past the daily “my child is sooo clever/cute because…” photo update.

Not impressed

The truth is, continuous boasting and glossing over the less positive moments in our lives is irritating in the long run. Why? Because it’s disingenuous and about as real as the ‘tan’ I was sporting last weekend for my birthday. Nothing gets people’s backs up more than fakery.

This video, starring Espen Alknes, shows just how easy it is to dupe others into believing your life is going swimmingly via social media when really, beneath the surface, it’s the furthest thing from the truth.

So why do we do it?

Pretending our lives are a smorgasbord of opportunity and endless positives boosts our self-esteem. And, at the heart of it all, we want to portray ourselves as impressive and accomplished. In a world where it sometimes feel like criticism comes more easily than praise, it’s only natural to sometimes want to seek validation online and get a virtual pat on the back.

 

IS SMOASTING ALWAYS A BAD THING?

First of all being a little narcissistic or self-promoting from time to time isn’t a bad thing. Sharing amazing news with friends and family is one of the simplest pleasures in life, so by all means go for it!

But, maybe take heed of the following tips to avoid wandering into irritating territory:

  • Boast occasionally: Bragging should be only a small percentage of what you post. This way, when something really great does happen, you won’t feel the need to underplay it.
  • Know your audience: Think about who is reading your posts and how they might react. Did a close friend just lose his job? Then you might not want to crow about the super-fantastic promotion you just landed. Be sensitive.
  • Enjoy the more outrageous boasts out there: Some people will never stop bragging. But, grab the popcorn, have a good lol/eye roll about it and scroll on.Finally, the next time your buddy posts about how they’ve managed to travel for 89% of the year, yet somehow held down a high powered job, (probably) cured a disease AND rear 3 kids…take it with a pinch of salt. Remember, you are as fabulous as this bear WITHOUT having to smoosh it in people’s faces all the time for an ego boost.

by consumer account executive, Zoe Barber