Whether realizing it or not, the moment you open a social media app, you embark upon a battlefield. A battlefield where users are armed with stunning panoramas and vivid video clips, showing off what they did over the weekend or what they ate for lunch. And with each scroll, you start to wish you were them, making mental notes to try out that hip new coffee shop or to hike that east-side trail.
And before you know it, you’ve become another victim in this silent war going on in the world of social media; the war of “one-upping.”
It’s an actual term in the dictionary that means, “to get the better of; succeed in being a point, move, step, etc., ahead of (someone).” To add to that definition, I think one-upping happens for two reasons: comparison and insecurity.
Thanks to the internet and social media, we are more connected to the world around us than ever before. We can speak with family living across the globe, discover music artists from a foreign country and learn about different cultures and trends.
While this is a remarkable feat for humankind, it is also what leads to the emotional downfall of society through corrupt comparisons. An example might be someone scrolling through photos of a classmate, posed next to the Gum Wall in Seattle. It’s her third trip this month, leading the user to examine her life up until that moment. Have I gone somewhere as remarkable? What was the last trip I took?
Where comparison ends, insecurity begins. This causes others to seek gratification and attention through “one-upping;” with each “like” or comment on a post, a one-upper will feel elated, and their insecurity will be sated.
That is, until someone posts an even cooler photo or shares an even more impactful statement than the one-upper’s. From there, the cycle repeats itself, as comparisons are again made and insecurities return.
Everyone has insecurities—and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, there are certain ways that we can deal with them. One-upping on social media is not one.
In fact, it’s a pathetic way to confront self-doubt.
Social media should be utilized as a networking outlet, a way to connect people and explore new interests. It should not be used as a way to find respite for insecurity.
Just because a person feels insignificant about themselves does not mean that he or she can bring others down because of their own emotions. It’s immature and ruins the one-upper’s reputation among their social circles.
I have witnessed a few instances of one-upping, and needless to say, I could not help but shake my head. Everyone leads different lives, and while we may be united in interests, beliefs or ethnicity, comparing one’s existence to another is like comparing apples and oranges. How can we compare lives with different circumstances?
Whether someone means to one-up or not, it all comes down to one thing: intention. Say a person posts a photo of their latest adventure to share something exciting in their lives with others; this is completely fine. That is what social media was created for: establishing and maintaining connections with people.
But if someone uploads photos or replies to other people’s posts with the intention to look “better” or superior, there is a serious issue. The internet and usage of social media is not an effective way to fix insecurity, confidence and self-esteem issues. Deal with the problem offline; personal predicaments should not be dealt with by “one-upping.”