Question to Keep You Up at Night

Should attention on social media serve as validation?

When I first got an Instagram, I told myself that it would only be for photos, and it would not take over my life. I preached that I knew that likes and comments did not define me or validate me, and that I was not obsessed with how people perceived me on social media.

Okay, so maybe I lied. Because OF COURSE I cared about my social media image. That’s the whole point of having an Instagram! And as much as I repeat to myself that the amount of likes I get does not mean anything about who I am as a person, I still feel that inevitable disappointment when my photo has less likes than usual.

Is that healthy? I mean, the whole point of Instagram is to get noticed. If we didn’t want people to see and like our photos, we would be content with just having them in our photo gallery. If you look at Instagram as a way to get recognition, than feeling bad about not getting enough likes makes sense.

However, the number of likes on a photo, like grades, or clothes, are a small fraction of what makes a person. Social media, especially for people in my generation, can feel like such a big deal. What you choose to post and not post, whether your account is public or private, who you follow all says something about you, whether you want it to or not. And while posting a photo can feel like a large decision, since it tells your peers so much about you, it’s really not. Instagram is one social media platform, and your post is only on people’s feeds for about thirty minutes. The rise of social media is rapid and new, and the new generations are taking it by storm. But generation before us had other ways to share their lives that impacted the social scene in new ways, too.

Revisit why you have social media. To look cool? Because everyone else has one? Because you want to stay connected with old friends? Because you want to share moments of your life? If your reasons are because you want validation, than being upset about not enough likes is an understandable reaction. However, if you’re just posting to post, no matter the outcome, the likes should not matter.


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