Ecstatic kids, beautiful couples and mouthwatering food can lead to depression and sadness at Christmas

A leading force in marketing has this week highlighted the impact social media can have on our lives.

Monday, 17th December 2018, 8:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 10:03 am
Christmas shown on social media might not be as it seems

Dr Ben Marder, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at University of Edinburgh Business School, comments on how deceptively selective social media posts can spread sadness at Christmas:

He said: “As Christmas draws closer, social media users are bracing themselves for the barrage of posts that will infiltrate their feeds showing online ‘friends’ having a wonderfully jolly time.

"Filtered images of ecstatic kids opening their new games console, grandiose sparkling Christmas trees, beautified poses of couples in Santa hats clutching glasses of champagne, and mouth-watering Instaworthy table spreads, will overload Instagram for days on end.

Christmas shown on social media might not be as it seems

"For some it’s all part of sharing joy at this time of year but for others, consuming such content can have very negative consequences.

“As research conducted by myself and colleagues found, viewing idealised social media posts makes 90% of people feel to some extent depressed.

"Seeing these airbrushed, fantasised depictions of the lives of their peers may merely compound their less than perfect Christmas – kids complaining that Santa didn’t get it right, undercooked turkeys, decrepit Christmas trees, arguments over the washing up, or the loneliness of those who don’t have special people in their lives to celebrate with.

“In the spirit of festive cheer, maybe we should rethink our social media output this Christmas by not carefully selecting only the most idealised, airbrushed, Instaworthy snaps and showcasing the real, invariably farcical, sometimes grim reality of our Christmas experience.”