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Social networks | imaginary friendships

Because of social media, you’ll be able to really feel like all the things a few public determine. Till, typically, to think about it virtually… like a pal. These so-called parasocial relationships are utterly regular, explains psychologist Marie-Anne Sergerie. Nevertheless, the phenomenon raises a number of questions.

However what’s a parasocial relationship? “It is when an individual has the impression of getting or imagines having a relationship with a identified individual, describes Marie-Anne Sergerie. However there’s a type of one-way relationship the place there is no such thing as a reciprocity. »

Stardom has all the time existed, recollects Nellie Brière, guide in digital communications and social networks. Digital, nonetheless, brings a better sense of closeness. “We all the time have our telephone with us and we devour the content material alone,” she explains. As well as, the format mode just like the tales makes it potential to doc his life and to place it on stage. »

Social networks are platforms the place the dissemination of private data is rather less filtered. It may give an impression of proximity and of getting access to privileged content material.

Marie-Anne Sergerie, psychologist

It’s subsequently regular to – virtually – know all the things in regards to the newest breakup of our favourite star, to be nervous in regards to the pet of a well-known individual whom we comply with religiously or to be nicely conscious of what a number of celebrities have made their vacation season.

Parasocial relationships have additionally elevated with the expansion within the variety of public figures – whether or not celebrities or influencers – on social media. “The connection between a subscriber and an influencer, it comes from an individual who will give lots of content material,” says Emmanuelle Dad or mum, doctoral scholar and lecturer on the College of Montreal, co-founder of the Middle for Emotional Intelligence On-line. (The sky).

These relationships should not “essentially unhealthy”, says psychologist Marie-Anne Sergerie, writer of the e book Cyberaddiction: When the usage of applied sciences turns into problematic. “Mainly, people are social beings. So we have to join with others and naturally we are likely to band collectively and type bonds to do this. Now, it is extra behind a display and on social networks. »

Sonia Benezra is all the time amazed by the direct contact provided by social networks. “There’s a current and inspired intimacy,” says the host who’s adopted by 33,000 individuals on Fb. Some think about her a pal, or perhaps a confidante, and ship very private messages to her. “I respect individuals taking the time to put in writing to me,” she says.

She avoids replying to a couple messages that make her extra uncomfortable – like individuals who invite her for a espresso – however all in all, she appreciates this proximity elevated tenfold by social networks.

The host even makes it some extent to answer messages that have an effect on her. “ I take the time to put in writing one thing considerate, one thing that’s not instantaneous. Sonia Benezra says she is beneficiant in her solutions and desires in any respect prices to be genuine together with her followers. “I am not mendacity by saying that all the things is gorgeous or that all the things is ideal,” she concedes, particularly since she would not wish to take with no consideration this digital neighborhood that follows her and encourages her.


Florence Lyonnais has been following celebrities on social networks for a very long time. The younger lady even describes herself as a “fan woman” of a number of actresses – she even goes to salons to satisfy them.

“After all I do know them past their position,” she stated. What I discover fascinating is to see their day by day life, to be taught just a little extra about what they do apart from play and what they should say on completely different present subjects. »

Figuring out with public figures and drawing inspiration from them could be useful, concedes psychologist Marie-Anne Sergerie.


Psychologist Marie-Anne Sergerie

It might permit us to higher perceive one another, to take actions in order that we will interact in our lives, so, on this regard, it’s not an issue in itself to have an affect that is still inside a framework that’s wholesome.

Marie-Anne Sergerie, psychologist

Emmanuelle Dad or mum additionally sees advantages. “They are often vital position fashions for younger individuals, for his or her values ​​and even aesthetics,” she believes.

Social networks additionally make it potential to determine with people who find themselves not essentially current within the conventional media, she factors out, and to hitch communities that share the identical pursuits.

Nevertheless, digital communications and social media guide Nellie Brière warns towards a “false sense of closeness and even attachment” that may develop with a persona by means of social media.


Digital communications and social media guide Nellie Brière

As a result of we really feel like we all know the individual nicely, it offers us lots of affect and it offers them the ability to typically preserve the phantasm of a reciprocal relationship.

Nellie Brière, digital communications and social media guide

An impact that may have an effect on the portfolio particularly. Florence Lyonnais concedes that she typically will get caught up within the recreation when a star she likes publishes promoting content material. “It influences me to have an interest within the product and typically to purchase it,” she says. It makes me really feel nearer to stardom. »

A number of personalities finance their actions on social networks by means of promoting. The specialists consulted agree that almost all respects the principles governing the sort of content material. Nevertheless, subscribers could be weak, particularly those that have developed parasocial relationships with them. “What could be insidious on social networks – and what advantages them – is you could have a hyper-personalized advice, explains Emmanuelle Dad or mum. It is harder to have a vital thoughts, since you inform your self that the individual would not advocate it in the event that they did not prefer it. »

When must you fear?

“The place it’s problematic is that if it creates a type of invasion in life, signifies psychologist Marie-Anne Sergerie. If the connection turns into obsessive and takes up all of the area in an individual’s life and even to the detriment of sure relationships that may very well be in actual life. »

Marie-Anne Sergerie offers the instance of an individual who inundates a well known persona with messages and feedback. “It might flip into harassment,” she stated. Emmanuelle Dad or mum factors out that platforms can encourage us to spend so much of time on a given topic like a star, which might flip into fixation.

Nellie Brière additionally believes in figuring out monomania, which isn’t essentially brought on by digital know-how, she believes, however which social networks can amplify. “An individual obsessive about shedding weight, for instance, they could simply comply with influencers with this content material. It may be unhealthy and it will probably even grow to be perilous,” she says.


Emmanuelle Dad or mum, doctoral scholar and lecturer on the College of Montreal, co-founder of the Middle for Emotional Intelligence On-line (Le CIEL)

Good practices

“It is as if our vital sense in relation to the connection that comes from digital know-how has not but been undertaken, notably within the training sector,” explains Nellie Brière, who believes that there needs to be better significance given to digital literacy.

And since younger individuals are increasingly uncovered to influencers on social networks, it’s all the extra vital, continues Nellie Brière, “to combine this information”. “It is as if we had been in denial as a society,” she laments.

Is it okay to diligently comply with many personalities? “It is all in the way in which of doing it, she says, and it is all within the improvement of vital considering. »

CIEL co-founder Emmanuelle Dad or mum additionally believes in transferring past unfavourable bias. “As it is very quick and instantaneous, there could also be a decrease high quality of content material, however we’ve got to maneuver away from these stereotypes, as a result of there are people who find themselves doing good work. »

“Consciousness is vital in relation to any face of know-how,” says psychologist Marie-Anne Sergerie. From the primary moments when a baby is launched to know-how, he have to be accompanied by the dad and mom. »

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