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

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

It's the illusion.
121
views

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

Technology's Impact On Interpersonal Communication

The instant relationship formed due to the 24/7 accessibility of a mobile device has morphed into an increasing lack of interpersonal communication between people.
9662
views

Part I

“Twenty-eight percent of car accidents involve talking or texting on cell phones” (Halsey par.1). Can there be trust towards the other drivers on the road? “46% of smartphone owners say their smartphone is something ‘they couldn’t live without’” (Anderson par. 5). Has it become an addiction? In the film Captivated, Philip Telfer and Colin Gunn ask the following thought-provoking questions about the current digital-age: “is it the greatest leap in productivity or the biggest setback from the things most meaningful in life? Has today’s connectivity drawn us closer to one another or are we strangely more disjointed? Is our social experience richer and deeper, or more shallow and artificial?” (2011). The modern age has become digital and has enraptured this generation in its 24/7 accessibility, easy usage, and unification, and while it has opened the door of communication, its effects are widespread. It has changed lives for the good, but also for the bad. Addressed here is a brief glimpse at the healthy advancements that the mobile device has had on society.

Interpersonal communication has evolved over the decades and grown digital; whether or not that change is good or bad, the truth remains that technology has affected a person’s identity and lifestyle. Studies on how the mobile device has caused psychological effects on individuals have shown that emotions are affected, often bringing increased loneliness, depression, or sleep deprivation (Lee, Tam, Chie 1208). The instant relationship formed due to the 24/7 accessibility of a mobile device has morphed into an increasing lack of interpersonal communication between people. On the other hand, the easy access and usage has also better supported social interactions within the social sphere. With that being said, interpersonal communications in our everyday lives have been substantially impacted by the connectivity the mobile device has offered, its recent accessibility, and its portability. The mobile device is a valuable tool of communication, and it should be viewed as an enhancement to the social life rather than an unwanted distraction from face-to-face interaction.

Richard Ling stated that

Clock time gives us coordination […] the car gives us mobility […] the mobile phone gives us access to one another. For many, mobile telephony has gained the perception of having reached the critical mass. It has moved from being a plaything for rich business people to being an assumed part of our collective lives […] In short, the mobile phone has rearranged the social furniture of our experience. (81)

From friends on Facebook to instant messaging, digital relationships are being formed in the social mass. According to Pew Research Center, “39% of adult Facebook users have between 1 and 100 Facebook friends […] 15% have more than 500 friends” (Smith 3). The instant relationship can begin by a simple friend request, which builds the social sphere. Mary Chayko speaks in her book about online relationships and stated the following, “when friendships develop online, they can be strong and supportive. In fact, these bonds may be more engaging, less constrained by physical obstacles, than those friendships that develop face-to-face” (45). Media outlets on the phone provide unity because they are catering to the need of constant connectivity (Turkle 433). We all desire to be known and know others so through the use of the mobile device, the apps and its 24/7 connectivity, we are building relationships digitally. Sant and Catania in the International Journal of Art and Sciences state that

Generations today have grown accustomed to a new style of interpersonal communication. Creating and networking online content has become an integral means of managing one’s identity, lifestyle and social relations. Due to the development of online communities, communication has moved away from the more traditional modes of interpersonal communication that are based on face to face models of interaction, to a more digital approach to maintaining and establishing relationships. (Livingston, Moorman, Bowker 723)

The effects of the mobile device have greatly influenced society for the better as it has brought unification and opened doors for greater communication among individuals. As Michael Chan, in an article about the quality of life since the invention of the mobile device, stated “communication plays a central role because it is through social interactions that one maintains emotional closeness with family and form bonds of reciprocity with friends” (Segrin; Flora; Hartup; Stevens; 4). Mobile phones “pervade people’s everyday lives” (255) according to research by Gonçalves, Vigo and Carriço, and through the everyday use of the device, we are involved in faceless communication with the world around us. Interpersonal communications have been substantially impacted by the connectivity the mobile device has offered, its recent accessibility, and its portability. The mobile device is a valuable tool of communication, and it should be viewed as an enhancement to the society around us and should be used to continue to bridge communication gaps, as Morris originally intended the telegram to do. All communication is virtually attainable at this point; therefore, in conclusion, technology will continue to influence society for the better and as a society, we must be watchful to insure the psychological health of all individuals who use the mobile device. Faceless communication has had the biggest impact on interpersonal communication.

Cover Image Credit: The Net Web

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
Facebook Comments