If you ever embellish what your life is actually like when you’re on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, it can be exhausting. Lying is hard work–you need a really good memory to keep up with it, and chances are you’re doing it to keep up with people you assume are more interesting than you are. (Pro tip: They’re not. You’re rad.)
As it turns out, lying on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is more common than you think: one third of women and girls do it, so if you’re guilty, maybe you don’t have to feel so bad about it knowing that you’re not alone. The most common things girls admit to lying about online include what they’re doing right at the moment, how much they drink, where and whether they’re on vacation, how successful they are and their couple status (think Manti Te’o, but on purpose).
As for why girls feel pressured into lying on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? A lot of people feel like they’re boring compared to their pals, a lot of people are jealous of others who seem more interesting (and who may also be lying!) and a lot of people want to impress someone specific (which may explain why you tweak your status 10 times over before publishing when your crush adds you on FB).
Relief is in sight, though! A new social network is starting, and it’s mostly girls and women on it: Pencourage, unlike Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (which can cause serious FOMO for a lot of us), encourages its users to be 100 percent honest. It’s a tool to vent anonymously, sort of like a hybrid Post Secret and personal blog. Users often post entries about breakups, depression, frustration–all the things you don’t want people on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to know you have to deal with, but all of which are very real parts of life.
Not only can you vent, but you can also offer and get advice from other users on the site, which can make you feel a lot better.
Psychologists say that Pencourage is a pretty good idea for those who need an outlet, because regular social networking and the lying that comes along with it can make you feel out of touch and alone. “The popularity of this new social media site is not surprising at all,” psychologist Dr. Michael Sinclair said. “We work very hard presenting ourselves to the world online, pretending and attempting to be happy all the time which is exhausting and ultimately unfulfilling. Omitting the less desirable imperfections of our lives from the conversations with our ‘friends’ online leads to less opportunity to feel empathized with–resulting in a greater sense of disconnection from others.”
Of course, if you’re going through something really serious that won’t go away–bullying, severe depression, anxiety, mood swings–venting may help, but venting to a professional or an adult you trust will likely help you out a lot more. But if you need to kvetch about a bad day? Pencourage away.
Have you ever been caught lying on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Do you find yourself lying on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram often? Do you lie more on Facebook, on Twitter or on Instagram? Will you try Pencourage? Do you think Pencourage is a good idea? Tell us in the comments!