What is it we are all seeking by being on social media?
Validation? Friendship? Making money? Adoration? Popularity?
Do we all really know what happens when “Like” is clicked?
It’s a lot deeper than we think. When people “Like” our posts, it gives us affirmation, and a feeling of validation, and it also has a lot to do with the feeling of popularity. Some people need that. It’s like a thirst, a craving, a need. And I believe that’s dangerous. As adults, most of us know how to deal with controlling this, and putting this feeling in its place, and carrying on with what’s really important in our daily lives.
But for some, it’s not that easy. It becomes a competition, a race. It also becomes about who liked what, and how much. Some people cannot control what happens to them when they see someone else with dozens of “Likes” and that’s when it gets complicated, and often time, confrontational. That’s when private messaging begins with accusations and harassment. They don’t want to see another person getting ahead, or gaining attention, because they think, for some reason, it will detract from them. Sadly, the anonymity of the computer equips some people with the gaul to intimidate, harass, and threaten other people.
Sad and alarming.
Here’s something else which is quite disturbing. “Likes” are important to the social media platform people use. Did you know that computer algorithms are compiled from “Likes” and Personality Tests?
From a recent study: “With just 10 likes, the algorithm would know you better than a work colleague. With 150 likes, it would know you better than members of your immediate family, and with just 300 likes, it would know you better than your spouse.” (Branwell Moffat)
The reasons listed above are two fairly serious reasons why we need to re-evaluate the power of the “Like” feature, and I personally, am pleased that Instagram is dealing with this.
For our relationships, our sanity, and for our mental health as adults. And more importantly for the young people who are on these platforms attempting to garner popularity, and who are not equipped with the tools to properly deal with rejection, with bullying, and lack of popularity.
I’m more concerned with young adults and teens. I’m concerned about what they’re seeing online. I’m concerned about who is messaging them, and what they’re being told. I’m concerned about how young adults compare themselves to those who have huge followings, and hundreds of “Likes” and how they’re dealing with all of this privately. For some reason, social media with young adults, and teens has become incredibly influencial, but sadly not always for the right reasons. If you perform a quick online search about teen suicides, you’ll be shocked to find many are the result of pressure from online exchanges.
I can’t wait to see how the emotional climate will shift when Instagram shakes things up a bit for everyone.