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Social media and its effects on consumer identity

The art of imitation

We go through our feeds, come across content pieces from influencers, bloggers, and celebrities, and think ‘oh! I could do that, that looks easy’. All of us who use social media platforms can concur.

Some of us might have asked why we couldn’t have conceived certain ideas ourselves, or why we didn’t begin doing it years ago?

One of the main reasons why we fail to take the first step is the competition that we see all around us. And that is the start of all the problems. Why do we compare ourselves to others in the first place? Why do we want to do what others are already doing? Why do we want to look and behave similar to others? We are so caught up in following trends that what we see on our phones is what we start to impersonate. We copy particular people to an extent that we forget to portray ourselves legitimately.

For example, most of us, at some point in our life, have clicked a picture when on a fancy dinner, or posed in front of some historic landmarks with our loved ones. But have ever you seen people talking about the décor of the restaurant they dine-in or providing actual helpful travel tips for a country? It is more common for a blogger to take a shot of nice scenery than to provide any useful tips to its audience.

In this day and age, while it may seem impossible to be yourself, you need to believe in yourself and understand that it is your personality that makes you YOU! It may seem like a simple question, but what really makes you act as your own true self? What is it about you that is different to your peers?

Step out of the cocoon and become a butterfly!

Today, we are standing at a position when social media applications like Instagram are taking action to remove the ‘like’ feature, due to the impact the race of likes was beginning to have on individuals’ health. Whatever level of popularity users may reach, it is never enough.

Add to that the burden of negative comments that are received when you try to imitate as style. With the rise in depression and anxiety, what makes people come back? What is so appealing about these social media platforms that folk are still willing to log back into an application that causes them to actually feel sick?

It is that we think social media is like a slot machine. We return thinking that we might be able to receive a reward at the end. That slim chance we all have is what gives us that dash of hope that forces us to give up the ordinary life that belongs to us and demonstrate a lavish lifestyle like the posts we all imbibe on our feed.

If people were to see that there is no reward, there would be no reason to come back, but with the countless monetary rewards social media apps are providing to individuals, many youngsters believe that they too have a chance at becoming the next so called ‘influencer’.

As a part of a PR agency in Dubai dealing with a multitude of clients in different fields, I still see this similar thought process when creating content as brands as well want to be top of mind and on in everyone’s feed.

However, nothing is more important than staying true and staying YOU!

Yassamin Homayouni is Senior Account Executive at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |