Browse Definitions :
Definition

social comparison

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Social comparison is the act of contrasting one’s own life with the lives of other people as they are publicly represented. When people believe that the represented lives of others are superior to their own, social comparison can lead to issues caused by the fear of missing out (FOMO), including anxiety, depression and a lack of self-esteem.

The term is particularly relevant to social media. Facebook, for example, serves as a platform for people to represent themselves and their lives to others. That representation, however, is unlikely to align very closely to the individual’s actual life. People tend to create a curated version, either consciously or unconsciously deciding how they want to depict themselves, their activities, their opinions and their environments.

Most people post about the highlights of their lives such as celebrations, vacations, travel and achievements, rather than the everyday details that make up the vast majority of our lives, let alone their darker or less laudable moments. On some level, we usually understand that what we see in the posts of others is highlights rather than a reflection of the whole. Nevertheless, we often compare our own real lives to an idealized version of the lives of others, based on their posts, which can lead to feelings of inferiority. At the same time, those whose online personas contrast sharply with reality may also suffer from a loss of self-esteem. Facebook comments, likes and shares also provide fodder for comparisons.

Social psychologist Leon Festinger developed social comparison theory in the 1950s. According to Festinger, social comparison is a natural mechanism for the development of self-perception.

This was last updated in June 2019

Continue Reading About social comparison

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance as a service (CaaS)

    Compliance as a Service (CaaS) is a cloud service service level agreement (SLA) that specified how a managed service provider (...

  • data protection impact assessment (DPIA)

    A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is a process designed to help organizations determine how data processing systems, ...

SearchSecurity

  • cybersecurity insurance (cybersecurity liability insurance)

    Cybersecurity insurance, also called cyber liability insurance or cyber insurance, is a contract that an entity can purchase to ...

  • phishing

    Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication ...

  • cybercrime

    Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

SearchStorage

  • NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF)

    NVMe over Fabrics, also known as NVMe-oF and non-volatile memory express over fabrics, is a protocol specification designed to ...

  • logical unit number (LUN)

    A logical unit number (LUN) is a unique identifier for designating an individual or collection of physical or virtual storage ...

  • CIFS (Common Internet File System)

    CIFS (Common Internet File System) is a protocol that gained popularity around the year 2000, as vendors worked to establish an ...

Close