You people liked this. You actually liked my writing. This is awesome. I kinda thought it might go like this but honestly I wasn’t too sure.
See, the internet breeds this interesting nest of usernames subconsciously searching for approval. Whether or not we want to admit it, as social media users, we have the desire for public opinion. Public opinion made up of your friends, family, associates, “kind of” strangers, and complete strangers. (“Kind of strangers” are those people that you would share 6 degrees of separation from but since the invention of social media, it’s now more like 2.)
I have a friend who recently unfollowed me on Instagram because, and I quote, “You never liked any of my photos. Not even the ones of my son.”
My initial response: “Huh? You do know I’m your friend in real life right?” It got me thinking. Is there a proper percentage of social media adoration or “likes” your FRIENDS owe you?
Friends. Yep those people who already decided they like you and want to be apart of your life. Those people who gave you a giant double tap when they answered the phone at 3am during your semi-emergency. The ones who you brought the annoying 1-touch fisher price guitar and taught their kids how to blow spit bubbles and yet still stayed? Yep, them.
Once upon a internet time, we didn’t look for approval from our “friends.” The concept of “photo sharing” really was just that; to share with your friends. You would post photos so your friends back at home didn’t miss out on your college experience. It worked. There was nothing braggadocios or “showboaty” about it. We didn’t care about the number of views or who double tapped it. All we cared about was if our best friend 500+ miles away was able to see the cute boy in the back corner of the 2nd photo. Frankly, sometimes the pictures were just to help that friend who just couldn’t remember what happened the night before. “Girl look! This is right before you blacked out. Remember?!?”
I say all this to say, we shifted. We started wanting, demanding, expecting to hear our friends expressions and opinions on ourselves more. I get it, we respect those people we consider friends, and therefore respect their opinion, but guess what? It is just reconfirmation. We don’t need it.
Sure, it makes us feel good. I love to see my extremely fit friends encourage me under workout progress photos, and nothing feels better than someone who you think is so beautiful comment 😍 under your photo. But it’s almost pointless? You already earned a “like” on basically everything you do when they decided to be a part of your life.
I’ve always written as an outlet. Someone to talk to. I don’t write for a pat on the back. I don’t write for any of you, I write for me, however your approval & validation DOES mean something to me. It’s encouraging, it aids maturation, it’s gives me reason to keep going. Friend or foe, stranger or family, your likes & dislikes will be forever welcomed here. 🙂 But I promise, you don’t OWE me anything.
(Sidenote: Facebook & Instagram can take their whole like system back, the follower count & views are the most helpful analytics anyways. 🙂 keep those pls!)