Have you been social media shamed? Are you secretly addicted to the likes?
Not being shamed on social media but shamed for being hyperactive on it? I have been! I also love the likes and love I get – what is not to love!
I love social media. I have been socially/digitally interacting since the time of LimeWire in the late 90s where random online users could exchange pirated movies or songs or games etc (you cannot arrest me anymore, there’s no proof, that computer was put to rest in 1998). I specifically remember receiving a particular James bond movie like that (via dialup internet that took the whole night to download) from a user in Malaysia and exchanging couple of notes and added each other to our buddy list for future piracy needs. Then briefly chatted with then boyfriend on yahoo messenger in early 2000s making our avatars. Then came my 1 year stint in Google HR team which made me explore Orkut fully where we would leave scraps on people’s pages while talking to them. Also used LinkedIn extensively both as a candidate and a recruiter (where I wrote my strengths as being honest and work well under pressure while taking breaks to cry in the loo).
I first reluctantly made an account on Facebook in 2007 and kept complaining that I do not understand it at all. Orkut is so much better (LOL!) since there is no Farmville that spams my feed.Also got married in that year so voila! I had content to post as well.
And feeling disappointed on losing out on probable “popular FB moments”
Went through a ton of phases with Facebook – played games with friends (candy crush!) and used all its features! I love the freedom this “social media” forum gave me. I had a smartphone as well (Nokia to Moto razor to blackberry before I made the move to the world of iPhone!). I realized I could take a visual break from work during work – open the phone – share something or consume others’ content – break over. Shut the phone! No commitment no compulsion to connect with anyone beyond a point.
But then came a phase where I posted a lot! There were location tags and status message posting every day that my virtual friends would comment on which gave me a brief chuckle through the hectic corporate life. 50 Vacation pics went on it to movie reviews or current music plays! I shared or rather overshared.
I guess by 2012 – we all were happily living our Facebook alternate cool life and a neatly presented professional face on LinkedIn. Orkut was dead or was on its way. Instagram account was also made in 2010 with pathetic over filtered photography.
I remember a relative met me at a family gathering and sarcastically commented on my Facebook usage. That was my first encounter of being shamed at being active on social media.
It came very unassumingly to me so I didn’t know how to counteract.
“Oh we are not allowed to use company internet for such silly stuff in office, how are you able to use it at work?”
I mumbled something at that time with a smile but it hit me a bit later that she called me silly and wasting time on social media. So next time when I posted something, I felt a pang of shame and consciousness. But I soon shrugged it off cussing her and moved on with my life. But when it came from close quarters then I started curtailing myself. My brother said why don’t you blog (that was year 2012 and I am getting to it in 2021 :P) – you have so much to say or write, redirect these words to the right place. I thought to myself, who even reads those blogs!
Here I am – writing something that I still encounter in 2021. Shamed for using social media extensively. I saw a meme – people who don’t use social media much and choose to comment on others’ time spent on Instagram – have a self-declared master’s degree on maturity.
Coming to the question – why do some of us love posting on Instagram? Why do we love this validation when a lot of us strongly believe that we are enough as we are? To be really upfront, I keep having this debate with husband who feels this is all a charade.
This did make me think about the big question – why do we care about our social media image? Now that I have a matured a wee bit – I could ask this question honestly to myself. Why do I care about it?
My top positive reasons that I could immediately think of –
- I was honest with whatever I posted. I got “approved” my random strangers. Reinforced the feeling ‘I am good enough’
- When I felt I am good enough, I gained more confidence.
- When I gained confidence, I felt I should do more. It gave me a growth mind-set.
And while using social media, I learnt the answer too –DOPAMINE! You did something for which your brain expected a reward. You got it in the way of likes/comments/followers. It’s an addiction that can easily be satiated unlike others. It gives you a temporary feel good moment. That’s pretty much it. Temporary – feel good – a moment.
As long as you know this and don’t rely on this temporary fleeting moment to feel good, you are good. I shifted my focus from seeking validation to enjoying the journey, making real connections and connecting! It is called social media for a reason – you have to socialize. You have to like something to receive the love back. You have to praise someone for their hard-work they put in their pictures and videos.
It just occurred to me that I have to create an ending to this blog. So ending it with the clichéd – enjoy the journey, there’s no destination here. People reached 1million are aiming at 2M! It is never ending. Enjoy the validation but don’t rely on it. Value your personal journey and the strides you have made.
You are enough – never let anyone take your shine away. Ok bye! I will do a better ending next time.