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

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

It's the illusion.

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

Popular Right Now

I Was Accidentally Charged $700, Had My Picture Published As Someone Else And Only Embraced Internet Security Afterwards

Pay attention to where you information is on the Internet because it could be misused without you ever knowing.

Bing. Email.

"You sent a payment of $663 to Facebook."

Bing. Text.

"Hey, this is your picture in this magazine. I didn't know you were a doctoral student conducting research with your professors."

Sadly, both of those scenarios were me, all in a span of three months. Let me explain:

Last semester, I took a class that required to learn and execute Facebook Ads. Obviously, a credit card was linked so students were not using their own money. Well, somehow my PayPal got linked to the student account (my fault, and I'm not ashamed to share that). It charged me once at $30 and got it reversed on my own, so I didn't tell anyone.

Then it happened again, double that amount.

So, I told my professor (good idea, Rebecca). We had quite the banter back and forth with Facebook, and they ended up taking even more from my account instead of giving it back to me. Well, they fixed that, but I still didn't have the funds back from the second time. Let's just say we settled the second time around - I got about half back, but I'm not mad because I thought I wouldn't get anything back.

Fast forward to this semester. I got an email last Wednesday informing me Facebook had charged me almost $700 for Facebook Ads. To be really honest, I flipped out. I thought this was over with, and I was afraid I wouldn't get the money back. Long story short, there was a mistake and my card was never removed from the class that had access to these funds.

My point here is, know exactly where your information is going on the Internet, whether it be Facebook Ads and PayPal or Facebook and those games that you get annoying notifications for. Thankfully, I am getting a total refund.

Last year, I was in an intern for CollegeFashionista.

Basically, I took photos of fashion and wrote blog posts about it, and I had a profile picture just like any other communication medium. For some reason, whenever I googled my name, this photo of me would pop up - none from Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc..

About a year later, my roommate's grandma texted her, "Hey isn't this your roommate?"

The photo I mentioned earlier had been mistakenly placed in a magazine, wrongly attributing me as a doctoral communication student.

Now, that sounds fancy, but it is still my photo in a magazine, with no permission to use.

I had mistakenly gotten into a slew of emails, and the reporter had googled my name instead of the correct Rebecca. Apparently, he used the first photo that popped up.

What if that wasn't even the correct Rebecca?

Pay attention! Pay attention where your photos are, whether it be on a blog, social media, etc. If you have to, put a Google Alert for your name. I would have never found out about it, and the magazine probably would have never mentioned it to me.

You know how annoying it is when you try to make an easy password, but you didn't put a special character in? Just do it. Protect your stuff, and know where your information goes.

Cover Image Credit: Rebecca Calloway

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

7 Things My Cell Phone Would Say If It Could Speak

"Hey, your buddy is telling me to tell you that they want to go food. I don't think you should. I've seen your bank account, it isn't pretty".

Let's be honest, we love, hate, and abuse our cell phones on a daily basis. It is unfortunate to say, but in this generation, we rely heavily on our phones. We use our cell phones to send texts, make calls, play games, and more. To press the subject more, what if our phones had feelings? What if our phones were able to speak back? If our phones were able to talk back, it would sound something like this:

1. Regular text messages

"Hey, your buddy is telling me to tell you that they want to go food. I don't think you should. I've seen your bank account, it isn't pretty. Yes, I have access to your bank information, you told me to save it"

2. The phone call...

"Um why am I shaking, oh your mother is calling. Want me to handle this? I can let her know you can't come to the phone right now? I'll handle it...Okay, she didn't listen the first time, she is making me shake again. I really think you should take this one...She is making me shake again! She isn't getting the hint, just let her know you are okay and maybe she will stop...Nope, she is making me shake again, she forgot to tell you something."

3. Playing games...

"So, I just wanted to let you know I can see you and you really suck at this game..."
"Chill Chill, you are holding me kinda tight..."
*Person throws phone*
"Oh @#^*!...INCOMING! "
*Phone hits floor*
"I don't have health insurance, so you better figure me out because I know you can't live without me"

4. The enemy

"Where do you think you are going? You better not put me down next to that thing. If you do, it's going to get ugly"

5. The phone drop crisis

"I'm slipping...hello, I am slipping!...You are literally about to kill me!"
*Phone falling*
*Phone hits the ground*
"My insides feel weird, but my suit saved me once again. My suit is more loyal than you...One day I am going to be gone and you are going to cry...You better start taking care of me"

6. The KO

"I am hungry and sleepy...feed me ya?...I need some energy please...Um things are starting to fade...Well, I will se......"
*Phone dies*


"I am buzzing! Rise and shine sleeping beauty"
*Alarm snoozed for 5 minutes*
*Alarm sounds again*
"Okay, I am going to let that one slide, but you really should get up so I can stop buzzing."
*Alarm snoozed again for 5 minutes*
*Alarm sounds*
"What the heck! I am trying to help you get ready for the day b..."
*Alarm Snoozed for 5 more minutes*
*Alarm sounds*
"I hope you miss your class or get fired! I don't care anymore, be a bum and sleep in! Just hit the dismiss button so I can shut up already."
*Alarm dismissed*

Maybe one day in the future our phones will have a say in what we do every day. Technology is continuing to advance so I would not be surprised.

Cover Image Credit: Tumisu

Related Content

Facebook Comments