Alternate Perceptions Magazine, December 2022
Perceived Value and Social Media
by: Stan Prachniak
We place value on many things in life, but how do we gauge these values? Why are some things more important to us than they are to others? The short answer is that we each place value on certain things in life based on our beliefs—a perceived importance. There is a saying that you have probably heard before that states, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It could also be said that value or importance of something is in the eye of the beholder. What I mean here is that we each value things differently—our perceived value of something is not the same as someone else’s. When we make decisions in life, whether we realize it or not, we rely on our perceived values to decide which choice we believe is right for us. If we take a look at some of our past decisions, we can get a snapshot of the things we find most important in our lives—both materialistic and non-materialistic. This evaluation can also allow us to get an understanding of how we might be viewed by others. Let’s take a look at how social media and what we decide to share can show others our values and beliefs, and how what others share can affect how we view them.
If you are on any type of social media platform, then you know how easy it has become to judge or be judged. Many people have become comfortable sharing thoughts and opinions about others from behind a screen, while others have become comfortable sharing details of their lives that were only shared with friends and family before the existence of social media platforms. The internet has made it possible for us to post and share details of our lives to family, friends, friends of friends, and even complete strangers if we want. And the things we choose to post and share reflect what we value in life. For example, if someone chooses to post pictures of their new car, house, jewelry, or other expensive things, then you might assume that they value materialistic things in life. You could also assume that they care more about how they appear to others—popular, rich, pretty, handsome, etc.—and could be considered as superficial. On the other hand, if someone regularly posts pictures of their family or talks about quality time they have spent with friends, then you might assume that they place a higher value on the non-material aspects of life and are not as concerned with having the newest, most expensive things in life. Now, think for a moment about the things you post or share online. What types of things do you post? Do your posts reflect who you are or who you want to become? If not, what can you do to change this?
Another aspect of social media to consider is how viewing others’ lives can affect us. We can spend a lot of time looking at other people’s news feeds and wishing we had their life or judging them for how they live their life. But when we do this we are creating a toxic situation within ourselves—we are choosing to create unhappiness. The opposite is also true. If instead, we choose to accept that they are living their lives’ according to their beliefs and experiences and are happy for them, then we are choosing to create happiness. Understand that what we see on social media feeds is a perceived value of someone’s life. We are seeing only the things they want us to see. They choose what they want to share and why they want to share it—they control other people’s perception of their reality. Rarely, if ever, do we see the ugly parts of people’s lives. They generally won’t post their struggles for all to see.
The point here is that it is important for you to focus on your life. Social media is a good way to stay connected with people you care about, but you should be careful about how big of a role it plays in your life. You choose what is valuable to you. If you don’t, you choose to allow others to influence your values and what you believe is important in life.
Freedom To Change offers a way for you to discover your True Self by challenging the beliefs you have about your life and what you think makes you happy. For more information on the Freedom To Change materials, visit www.freedom2change.org.