Why Do We Let 'Likes' On Instagram Define Us?

Why Do We Let 'Likes' On Instagram Define Us?

It's the illusion.
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We snap a picture, pick a filter, post the picture and wait for the likes to roll in. When we get that first notification, it feels like Christmas. We live in an era where if a person you have a crush on likes your Instagram post, Facebook post, basically any post, that means they like you. If a stranger or friend likes your posts, that means your existence is acknowledged and you're overcome with this feeling of validity. Some may say they feel more wanted and that they feel like they're popular, in a way.

What happens when not enough people like our posts? Do we explode? Disappear into thin air? Get sent to social media jail? No, nothing happens. We just feel inadequate. When a stranger, friend, acquaintance, or crush doesn't like our pictures, we don't feel like we're enough and we feel stupid for even posting something anyway as if we've disturbed the social media Gods with our presence.

We start to compare ourselves to our friends who have hundreds of likes. "Why can't I be more like them?" Likes, nowadays, equals validation and it's sad that it is starting to become that. Ever since I watched that episode of "Black Mirror" episode called "Nosedive," it really struck a chord with me of how obsessed we have become and how our society can become like this in the very near future.

If you're not familiar with the episode, basically the technology they have determines how accepted you are into society and what social class you are a part of. The better your posts, the more stars you receive, and the better your life will be.

It is the illusion of likes, the illusion that our life is better when people are liking our posts and that we become a better person because of it. We develop an identity upon being accepted.

We are all guilty of this in some way, shape or form, but let's try to deviate away from this way of thinking. We are still human. We are still ourselves no matter the number of likes we get. Likes do not define us. Social media does not define us. YOU define yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Erik Lacatero

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Does Technology Make Us More Alone?

Technology -- we all love it and we all use it, but how is it affecting us?
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In this day and age, it is near impossible to do anything without the use of technology. You can pay your bills, manage your bank accounts and even chat with a customer service representative all with the use of your smartphone.

Is the use of technology starting to take away from our person-to-person interaction? Think about how often you grab your smartphone or tablet and text your friends instead of picking up the phone to call them or, better yet, making plans to hang out in person.

Technology is supposed to make us feel more connected by allowing us to stay in touch with our friends by using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter and of course, texting. But are our smartphones getting in the way of socializing? Does technology make us feel more alone?

There is a term that is commonly used, "FOMO" –– short for "fear of missing out." Yes, this is a real thing. If for some crazy reason you don't check your Twitter or Facebook news feed every 10 minutes are you really missing out?

The fact that we have become so dependent on knowing exactly what is going on in other people's lives is sad. We should be focusing on our own lives and our own interactions and relationships with people.

Technology is making us more alone because instead of interacting with our friends in person, we are dependent on using our phones or tablets. We start to compare ourselves and our lives to others because of how many likes we get on our Instagram photos.

We are forgetting how to use our basic communication skills because we aren't interacting with each other, anymore. We are too busy with our noses in our phones. Young kids are dependent on a tablet to keep them entertained rather than playing with toys. That is not how I want my children to grow up.

As a society, we will start to become very lonely people if we don't start making changes. We are ruining personal relationships because of the addiction to our smartphones and checking our social media sites every five minutes.

It's time for us to own our mistakes and start to change. Next time you reach for your phone, stop yourself. When you are with your friends, ignore your phone and enjoy the company of your loved ones around you.

Technology is a great thing, but it is also going to be the thing that tears us apart as a society if we don't make changes on how dependent we are on it.

Cover Image Credit: NewsOK

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Technology Is Dictating Our Lives, And It's Time To Stop Letting It

Technology has slowly been taking over how our lives run.

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Something that really has been on my mind lately is how people who are way older than me, probably like my grandparents and those before them, grew up and how they approached everyday life. I don't really know if anyone else can relate, but how did they grow up without technology or the use of smartphones every day? How would they have a regular conversation with people over the phone?

I will use my grandparents, for example. Not too long ago, I went to visit them in the Dominican Republic and it amazed me how they are so intelligent for their own time. The technology over there is not very advanced but they still have enough to understand and function every day. My grandfather builds and fixes gas stoves as a little side hobby since they don't use a lot of electric stoves. They rely more on gas for everything over there. My grandmother, on the other hand, works for the parish of the community.

Every time I go over there it amazes me how they can function and interact with other people without having to rely on technology. Often, I think of the movies that were based in the 80's like "Dirty Dancing" and how there is not much technology present in the movie. I'm going this route because of how relationships are currently being brought up. We often meet individuals through social media most of the time, and there is nothing wrong with meeting people over the internet, but I believe after taking the first step a relationship should be built in person, not through a blue screen. Doing this causes a lot of misinterpretation and potentially builds an image of an individual the wrong way.

I often think about how relationships for people my age begin. Most of my friends all meet and we all have the same mutual preferences for certain activities which is why we all bonded. But mostly everyone meets over social media and never meet in person. So, every time we are at events we see the individual whom we are friends with on social media but never really acknowledge the person when seeing them in the flesh.

It's kind of weird how we have let our phones and our social media outlets dictate and control the way we make relationships. I say that because not too long ago, the only way people would talk to each other was through the phone or letters. I wonder what times would be like if we still communicated that way and if most of the problems we face in relationships like jealousy would even exist. If girls and boys would still compare themselves to each other as often as we do. What if insecurity was not such a big factor in people's lives? This is one of the many ways social media and technology have influenced us all.

Something I been trying to do lately is enjoying my time away from my phone and trying and do things that don't involve using my technological devices. It's been very difficult, but I've found it to be something very refreshing and something that people should try and practice for at least 15 minutes every day.

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