Some people prefer cocaine, smack, dope, or alcohol. If it is not an obvious reason, people enjoy drugs because they make them feel good, more noticeable, and provides a superficial source of confidence. This is much the same way with social media. Posting consistently to social media, whether it is Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, or what have you, in one way is the same way as going to your dealer for your next hit.
Receiving likes, retweets, mentions, followers, etc. is a high that is virtually free, easy, and readily available. While social media platforms are amazing tools, they can pose a negative effect and be detrimental. If you are unknowingly basing your self-confidence on how many likes you received from your last selfie post, it is underlining a serious issue. For certain disclosure, in no ways am I an expert, and I am basing this solely on my personal point of view, so take this as merely a pondering on a new Fall day.
Moving along, if you look at it from a different angle, a lot of these social media platforms slightly resemble traits to cults. You feel pressure to join because you want to belong, and everyone else you know has an account. They lure you in with promises of being loved, meeting new people, and feeling like you are a part of something bigger. A community. Also like cults, it is very hard to leave. Of course, with social media there is lack of sacrificing virgins, kinky sex rituals, and moon light meetings, since none are on trend…thankfully?
Social media has allowed us to get attention from strangers, acquaintances, and loved ones. And it is not wrong to use these tools to stay in contact; social media has become a very critical tool for me to stay in touch with my friends and family, especially after my recent Cross-Atlantic move.
Although we shouldn’t let others, or even ourselves, gauge who we really are and our worth based on social media stats, we shouldn’t judge others as well. It’s a two way street. Do you think if someone who has 300 Facebook friends, compared to someone who has 700, is there a possible subconscious chance that someone may think the person with 700 friends is friendlier, more loved, and overall better? (Perhaps that would be an interesting study one day, so I fictionally patent that idea. Zing.)
I can imagine there are many people, female, as well as male for that matter, when a photo posted is of them and it receives no apparent attention, it can create self-doubt. But why? Is it perhaps easier to trust other’s opinions before and over our own. If someone doesn’t comment how funny you are, how pretty you are, how interesting you are, are you really any of these things? There is worrying amount, especially in mine generation and younger generations, of those who are seeking validation solely from others, without just being satisfied with ourselves in the first place.
The amount of people who like our profile pictures, comments, or articles shared, shouldn’t dictate how you or I feel about ourselves. Of course it is understandable for moments of self-doubt, even with this blog, I check the site stats, and if they are low, it hinders me a bit. Even my parents don’t read this (…but, hi Mum & Dad!) It still creates self-doubt in my writing, regardless of this, I am still writing. (And don’t really plan on stopping, devil be damned).
In some ways we’re never going to escape the popularity contest that was high school, this is the “Google Generation” after all. Social media is here to stay, and overall it is an amazing technology that can do as much good, as it can bad. But when you turn off your phone, close your laptop, and stop reading your notifications, the best compliment you can receive is from yourself. You know, better than anyone, what you really need to hear, and you’re the best person to give it.