My posts on Facebook get an average of 40-50 likes each. Out of around 1,000 friends, an average of 50 people react to my posts usually. I noticed that the people who ‘like’ my posts are always the same people too. Having lived in two countries, I’ve made quite a few connections. Unlike Instagram where I have around 400 followers consisting of mostly companies, other bloggers and some friends who use the app, I can confidently say that the majority of the people I have on my Facebook are real acquaintances or friends so I use Facebook more.
Now, would you say that an average of 50 likes for each post for someone who has 1,000 connections is a good amount of likes? I personally don’t think so. I’m not complaining or upset about it. I just honestly think that’s not a lot of likes for someone who has that many connections. It could be Facebook’s algorithm set up because we don’t see every single update for all of our friends. I don’t blame my friends for not reacting to my posts because I’ll be honest, I don’t have the time to react on all of my friends’ posts either. Most of the time, I only spend a few minutes scrolling through my news feed. I don’t take it personally when people don’t react to my posts but I know some people are so dependent on social media reactions that they feel their self worth is defined by how many likes they receive.
In this post, we’ll get to explore our real reasons for why we post things on social media and the psychological effects ‘likes’ have in some people who become addicted to them.
We are so addicted to social media that we are glued to our devices. We are constantly online and we value online interactions more than real life conversations. No wonder we crave so much attention and validation online. There is no wonder that we are lonely because we unknowingly isolate ourselves, believing we are still connected because we’re still connected to Wi-fi. When was the last time you actually did something with your friends instead of just chatting online? So many relationships have been affected because of our reliance on keeping in touch via social media.
I used to post a lot on Facebook and I would say that I was quite the sharer. I would say I posted at least once or twice a day, maybe even more. I would post selfies, pictures of pretty things or food, share third party funny posts…you know, the usual stuff. I often posted really nice quotes by philosophers and authors and I would say that those are really valuable posts people can take something away and learn from. I often enjoyed reading posts like that too and so I loved sharing those with my friends. I also loved watching and sharing funny videos of things like ‘Guilty dogs’ and ‘Babies trying lemons for the first time’. Whenever I had social media detox days, I often miss the funny videos the most. One thing I never really got into was ‘checking in’. Sharing my whereabouts felt a bit too much for me and those, ‘Pass this on for luck and type ‘Amen’… no, I don’t really believe in those.
Why do we even post things on social media? My honest and personal answer to this is this…because I liked to ‘humble brag’
and I believe that WE ALL like to do this and that I’m not alone in this confession and it’s best we all come clean now.
No? Okay so let’s ask ourselves some questions…
Who really needs to know that we checked in to the ‘Ritz Hotel’ in London to have a very British luxury afternoon tea?
Who really cares if we shopped at Louis Vuitton and bought a small leather wallet or purse?
Who really cares if we are in sunny Greece or Spain sipping cocktails under the sun?
Who really cares if we are having a caramel latte at Starbucks?
But now I’ve realised that apart from some really close family and friends, I feel like no one actually cares about what I had for lunch. In fact, I don’t even think my brothers care about what I had for lunch. I think my mom cares because she’s my mom but really…
But that’s the thing, some people care too much about themselves. They care about how they are perceived and when their posts don’t get the amount of likes they want, they become sad and lonely. When this cycle is repeated, this becomes more of a serious issue and some people sink into depression. When we’re looking at all the ‘likes’ we receive and feel that we aren’t getting enough, we get a sense that we are not accepted and that is not a healthy place to be. But if I asked you, how many likes do we need to be happy? There is no specific answer because we want all the likes we can get and no amount of likes will ever be enough.
Jealousy and Comparison
Who will find some meaning about life when they see your new Hermes handbag? Who will find your holiday in Fiji hilarious or meaningful? How does your new handbag add value to someone else’s life? Okay, maybe we could say that some people may feel inspired and think ‘I have to work just as hard as so, and so, so that I could also afford a holiday in Fiji’ but really, what’s more likely to happen is that someone will end up being jealous and hating you.
Also, have you ever noticed that we spend more time on social media when we are feeling isolated, lonely and sad? When I was little, whenever I felt bored, I called my friends and asked them if they wanted to play some volleyball or I would practice my dance routines and singing in my bedroom. When FB first started, I relied on friends’ social media posts for entertainment and distraction. Studies have shown that many people become even more depressed when using social media because we tend to compare our lives to the people we are connected with. Would you really feel happy with your life if you were sitting at home, broke, bored and reading Joe down the road’s posts about his holiday in Thailand?
Likes don’t matter
The price of posting and oversharing on social media is that people can see through us because we make our lives so transparent. All of a sudden, people know things about you only your closest family and friends know. Last year, I posted quite a lot due to a competition I took part in. For some reason, when posting to promote the event became more of a task, I started to dislike social media and posting. Last year, I had the most likes and reactions from my followers than I had ever had compared to previous years and yet I felt uncomfortable. I started to feel the pressure and I started to lose my privacy. I realized that my privacy was the most important thing for me. I also felt that I didn’t need the ‘likes’ anymore. I realized that ‘likes’ and ‘hearts’ on social media don’t mean anything. It doesn’t matter if I get 1 or 1000 likes, the most important thing is to stay true to who you are and your vision.
Creation over Competition
You have to be creative and share your passion with everyone. We must genuinely wish that people find the things we share useful and that’s when authentic and sincere likes and positive reactions follow. Most of the time, we crave for likes from the very people we don’t like or competing with. Have you ever posted something amazing you did so that the person you secretly dislike see it? How many more times are we going to impress the people who don’t matter to us? How often do you find yourself focusing your energy on other people instead of focusing our energy on the people who are dear to us?
I started to mature a lot two years ago. I could feel the change in myself and my need for approval from others disappeared. I thought that it was weird that I took part in a competition seen by many as one of the most narcissistic and ‘vain’ contest anyone could ever enter. Around this time in my life, I was starting to discover who I really was. I joined the competition because it was one of those things I wished for as a child and I thought I could never be a part of it. I also thought that I owed it to myself to try something different in my life and to take the opportunities that come my way to see where they take me before it’s too late. The competition also opened my eyes to the reality that sometimes, the things we think we want may not actually be the things we really want or need deep inside. That competition taught me many lessons and I will always be grateful for that.
Soon after the competition, I felt like I reached a moment and place in my life where I didn’t need to prove anything to myself or to anyone anymore and I freed myself from the binding thoughts that I had to keep up with my friends and surpass what they are doing to be of value. Most importantly, I realised that I didn’t actually need to prove anything to anyone, including myself at all… ever.
Because of this, I felt peace in myself, something which is quite hard to find for some people. I draw strength and happiness from just being myself and accepting myself, flaws and all…
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