Is our social media feed forcing us to spend more money?

Social media has become the new Mall of UAE where we all window-shop about four hours a day.

It’s true, isn’t it? I never knew I wanted those brilliant blue sunglasses. Now I have two, thanks to BOGO (buy one, get one free, for the uninitiated). Or that outdoor barbecue grill, thanks to the XTRA25 code that helped me shave a quarter off its price. I bought these after I spotted social media posts of my friends (friends’ friends, actually) happily posing with them.

Thing is, social media – Instagram and Facebook, in particular – has become the new Mall of UAE where we all window-shop about four hours a day.

Yes, we all know how not to fall in the advertising trap on social media, but do you know how to avoid the influencer-friend trap? The one where a friend is showing off his newfound thingamabob and is looking extraordinarily happy with it? It’s the I-want-one-of-those syndrome and I have fallen prey to it. I’m not alone.

Several studies show that social media offers a platform for people to compare their lifestyle (read: creature comforts) with their peers. There are a few forces at play here. There’s definitely the FOMO (fear of missing out) which eggs us to participate in the latest craze be it eco-friendly yoga leggings or kimono slippers. Then there’s the excitement and anticipation surrounding the delivery of the purchased goods, which neuroscientists say triggers dopamine, a feel-good chemical, in the brain. And there’s, of course, the ease of shopping, were e-com sites remember your credit card and delivery info.

We want them, but we don’t really need all those whatchamacallits our friends seem to be enjoying according to their social posts. The phosphorescence of my blue shades is a little too much for daily use, and the last I used the grill was in September when I wanted to show off to visiting family members. I’m also the not-so-proud owner of several other barely used contraptions that I bought after my social sessions. The moral of the story? Take a deep breath before you tap ‘buy now’ – put those yoga leggings to use – and save the money for something that you’ll actually need.


Author: Hela