Longing for Likes
This is where we live, this is where we thrive or die in the long for “Likes”. We have come from a place where popularity was a topic for high school culture to now becoming a society, young and old, longing for a new type of popularity in “likes”. We put ourselves into the social sphere with the hopes that someone will “like” our post, our photo, our share. The “like” is not defined by quality; nor in giving or receiving. Why then are we so hungry to be “liked”?
This longing for likes has taken over our lives and our businesses as we now act based on the interaction we anticipate on social media. We decide what we will do that we can post on social media hoping to impress. We socialize and take selfies of the most impressive places we go to show our popularity or access. We show the shiniest sides of life to gain favor from strangers, acquaintances, and loved ones from afar. But why? What is it all for? More importantly, what is it doing to us as a society or worse as individuals?
The debate would not be worth the conversation if there was no truth in the trend of posting all that “appears” positive or affected. When the topic is brought up in conversation you will often hear people explain that they use social media to keep in touch with friends and relatives that live in different parts of the world. If this were really about keeping in touch the “longing for likes” would not exist. But instead, we post what we know will create reaction; positive reaction. Rarely do we see someone posting a selfie in the midst of an argument with their spouse or when fighting with their kids to do the dishes, or even better a selfie of them doing the dishes! Why in the world would we want anyone to believe that our lives are anything less than perfect? Comparison is the enemy of social media as many will admit. The fierce competition to do what your “friends” are doing takes on a life of its own.
Telltale are those that “take a break” from social media. Why would you need a break if you are only sharing with friends and relatives?
Social Media has become the place where we go to find “normal”, the place we go to be inspired and then share our version to see the reaction. Social Media makes us feel like we are a part of something which is a core value of human existence.
Quote from Psychology Today:
Feeling connected to a group of people or identifying with them, based on shared values, goals, or experiences, activates an innate sense of community. The human brain developed to its present form when we needed to live in tightly-knit communities to survive. The importance of community is seen in the high degree of communal contagion of emotions, which is a powerful, albeit unconscious force underlying social structure. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201004/core-value
Ironic to think that the sustenance of social media abounds in a human core value to commune. In this definition social media gives us access to communities that we otherwise would not be a part of because of distance, affluence, or culture. It allows us to share and belong to groups that we seek regardless of city, state, country, or continent. It allows us to share with others fearlessly what we would not share in-person. It allows us access. That access when used positively can expand our worlds and when used toxically can literally shut us down.
I, like many of you “long for likes”. I post my wins, my family, and that part of my life that I am fearless to display. I rarely show my vulnerabilities, my weaknesses, or the darkest sides of my life. Doing so would be unacceptable in social circles and would come across as inappropriate and dramatic. I find this reality to be hypocritical.
Another point worth making is the theory that “I hold myself accountable” on social media because we all know that is not true. I don’t hold myself accountable on a public platform because no one is genuinely paying that much attention nor do they care whether you did what you said you were going to do. The fact that you did it once makes it “true” in social media culture. If you do one jog that you post on social media, you are a runner. If you make one post about the election, you are political. Think about it? When is the last time someone made a post that you searched their profile to find integrity on? Likely never. You accept it for what it is and in that the trust is fragile. It is surface-level, never running deep enough to hold anyone accountable.
Instead what we are all doing is scrolling through an infinite feed looking for those things that catch our eyes because they intrigue or inspire us or worse because they grab our attention if only through the eyes of a voyeur posing as curiosity. I no longer want to be a part of that culture.
Today I am making a conscious decision to change my social strategy. I will no longer post those things that are self-serving and instead will truly use the platform to share and learn. Share what I am learning in life. Share my thoughts on good books, and bad ones, movies, lectures, inspiration, stories, and all things in life WORTH sharing. Pics of my grandbabies, yep, those will happen from time-to-time, because after all who can resist; but the “longing for likes”…well that side of my social media persona…that side is retiring.
Longing for likes no more. -L.