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Please Like Me: The Obsession with Approval in the Cyber World

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are three major social media websites and apps. They all give the user the ability to create their own personal accounts and communicate with others and share pictures, videos and the users thoughts and feelings. All of these apps were created for communication with others and also for the ability to share the users thoughts and feelings. But, over time it seems that people are less worried about communicating with other, and are more worried about others “liking” what the post. Our culture is now obsessing over likes and the approval of others.

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Before all of these apps if people wanted to communicate with others they would have to go to message boards or the comment section of websites and article. People would create a username, which could be their real name, the sports team they like, their favorite food, or anything else they could come up with. This way of communicating was defiantly less personal and people could pretend to be whomever they wanted and didn’t have to put their own real identity on the Internet. Whereas with all these new apps it is much more encouraged to be you and use your own pictures and information. Some people do still use fake made up accounts but it is much less than it was when peoples identity was completely unknown is the comment section of websites and on message boards. 

 Facebook and Twitter were the first of these sites and apps to be created. At first, people used these sites to catch up with old friends, and communicate their feelings. Facebook did have the ability to “like” and comment on posts but, this didn’t really seem like the most important part of Facebook.  Like Facebook, Twitter was a way to communicate and many people use it to express their feelings and thoughts. Twitter also had the ability to respond to others tweets and favorite tweets.

The next app that took the cyber world by storm was Instagram. I remember creating an instagram account about a year and a half ago. At first I was reluctant to join I already had Facebook and Twitter accounts where I barely used. Finally I gave in and got the app. I thought the app was awesome because it gave the user the ability to edit pictures and put all kinds of different filters on the photos. At first I didn’t realize what Instagram really was about and I didn’t follow anyone or have any followers. Eventually as Instagram began to catch on many more people began to join, and I slowly began to follow people and gain followers. Now, Instagram is a phenomenon and it’s shocking when people who are active on social media do not have an Instagram account.

In a matter of 5 minutes on Instagram there are 20 new pictures on my newsfeed. Anything from a picture of the Eiffel Tower from my friend studying in Europe, to a picture of a delicious meal a friend posted from Arthur Ave. to a selfie of someone who doesn’t want to be studying.  Now I have friends who stop and say “Wait we need to take a picture of this and put it on Instagram”. Also someone’s Instagram is his or her identity in the cyber world. You can see what they like to do, where they spend their time, their friends, food they like, and anything they think is cool or pretty.  Pretty narcissistic having a Instagram dedicated all to oneself right?

People will feel like they look pretty and will make sure they get a picture taken that day and post it right away. But why would they care about this. This s where the obsession with “likes” come in. Like I said before as Instagram grew and more people follower each other more likes on post started. On my first few post on Instagram I didn’t have any likes at all. Now, I average any where from 15 to 60 likes a picture. Liking a post seems innocent enough right? Not so fast. 

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On Instagram when you have under 11 likes it says all the users names who have liked your post but, once you hit 11 likes it just says the number of likes and not the users names. Recently my friends and I have found ourselves constantly checking our Instagram and saying, “Why aren’t we getting more like”. But why do we expect more likes? I think it is partial because we are putting ourselves out there and posting picture of our selves and when we do not get approval all our insecurities come out. People are obsessed with approval through likes.

Like Instagram people on twitter and Facebook are also starting to become obsessed with approval. One Facebook people want likes on their comments, pictures and posts. And on twitter people want favorites, comments and retweets constantly. Facebook and twitter are not as bad as Instagram when it comes to obsessing over likes. Instagram seems to be the worst of these. Now there is even a website that you can buy more likes or followers from its http://www.buylikesandfollowers.com. This website says, “Instagram likes will allow you to show just how popular your pictures and videos are. Our likes are from real people who actually see your post. When you buy likes this creates a viral effect and others will want to see what the fuss is about. This greatly increases your chance of reaching the popular page.” Basically saying that everyone wants to be know and popular. How sad is it that people will actually buy likes just so they feel better about themselves or so they become popular.

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This all come from the idea that we are completely putting ourselves out there and when we don’t feel like we are getting some kind of approval we feel like there is something wrong with us and that we aren’t good enough. With all these apps that are related to our own identity it gives us the unfortunate ability to feel insecure in many more ways.

Not only do people get upset when they do not get enough like on instagram, many people are bullied on instagram too. People write nasty comments to their so-called “friends”. Huffington Post wrote an article about cyber bulling on instagram and how we need to stop it and said  “The Internet allows us to take actions without thinking about them beforehand. It is time to start thinking. The words we say online do have an effect, and we need to consider that when posting”

So my question is why have we let Instagram, Twitter and Facebook take over our lives and let it become such a huge part of our identity? We all have the ability to stop feeling insecure and stop using all theses apps but we don’t. Why? Society seems to be so addicted to this and will even allow them to feel insecure and upset before they delete their profiles. We need to realize that these social media apps are not our true identity and we don’t need them to affect our identity at all.

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