Social media and depression

Identification seems to be at the root of depression associated with social media. As humans we are social creatures and need human interaction and recognition as part of our basic needs. The rise of technology and internet started messing with this. But it was only with the rise of social media when people started using it to meet their social needs.

People identify themselves with their jobs, their family roles, their possessions, their social roles. One can be the mother, the parent, the rich one, the lawyer, or in the case of Sartre – the waiter. All these are aspects of identification.

Excessive identification when someone places too much value in whatever they identify themselves with rather than into themselves is in itself a problem. That’s why you will have entrepreneurs who fail consider themselves failures rather than a person that that failed – and this is just one of numerous examples. Once the source of identification is broken, a person will obviously lose all self-esteem and sense of validation, which is a fertile ground for depression.

Social media took identification further. It brought it online. It simplified it. We started putting up profiles that represent us in the world out there. We started pimping ourselves up in the way we wanted to be seen. We withdrew ourselves from the world and replaced ourselves with avatars which we control from the comfort of our own homes—or conveniently from a coffee shop sipping that latte and polishing our profiles.