We are all aware of the satisfying feeling we get when our post gets increasing number of likes. Most of us are guilty of posting everything on social media, be it a good picture, meal at a fancy restaurant, an achievement, an artwork, almost everything. Scrolling through your feed, checking the number of likes on your recently uploaded picture and finding that is has more likes than the previous one, gives immense happiness, and no we cannot disagree to that.
Researches have shown that the part of brain that get activated when we get a reward, say a chocolate or money, also gets activated when we see a large number of likes on our posts. Psychologist Emma Kenny explain, “ It’s a reward cycle, you get a squirt of dopamine every time you get a like or positive response on social media.”
Impact of social media validation
Most of us have at some point or the other deleted pictures from our social media. Not because we didn’t liked the picture, but because we were unhappy with the number of likes it received. More than our opinions what mattered was the social media validation.
Social media likes have made us less confident as individuals. As a generation we have started believing that others opinions are facts. More than posting for our happiness, we post for the likes and comments of others. We are all aware of the sudden hit of insecurity when our post do not get the amount of like we expected.
Social media has started affecting the self esteem of individuals, especially teenagers. Instead of being confident of our growth, we seek people’s approval. If you belong to that part of the population who constantly delete posts depending on the number of likes they get, then social media has negatively impacted your self esteem.
How much does others care about your post?
Not everyone who likes our post are actually concerned about the content. For most clicking the like button is a thoughtless action. We ourselves do the same while liking others picture, but then what makes us so insecure when our post gets less likes?
Psychologist Emma Kenny has related it to the inbuilt narcissistic instincts of an individual. We perceive the things that affect us differently than what affects other. We subconsciously do believe that our posts are better and interesting in comparison to others, and as a consequence we believe that the likes we receive are authentic.
Impacts of social media
Just like a coin, social media too has two faces. Social media connect people, give people opportunities and helps people deal with loneliness. However in recent times it does more bad than good. Using social media in wrong way has led to a multitude of mental health issues.
People using social media have reported more cases of loneliness. Reports suggest using social media for more than two hours can increase loneliness rather than reducing it. People especially women are likely at higher risk of mental issues resulting from overuse of social media. They display greater level of insecurity and paranoia. It can also result in depression and anxiety disorders.
Instead of using social media as a tool of inspiration, motivation and aspirations, we use it against ourselves. If social media is making us feel vulnerable, then it is worth taking break from this virtual world. We as individuals hold the steering wheel of our life, if we let social media to dictate us directions, it will most definitely backfire. We need to live a life for ourselves and not just for likes.