The thought of writing this article scared me. “What if I offend people?” and “Will people stop liking me?” were my two immediate thoughts.
Then I realized that I was playing into the very thing I’m about to write about, thus proving the value of a topic worth addressing.
Lately the internet’s been buzzing about how social media has become too friendly. It’s become infested with subtle bragging and a plethora of “likes”, which fuels the fire and causes a perpetual cycle. Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller wrote about it in her post, “Think Before U Like”. The New York Times noted that we’ve become “increasingly sophisticated braggers” who are in essence asking for assertions & reactions from others on social networks. The Wall Street Journal asked, “Are We All Braggarts Now?”. Fast Company recently wrote an article about a new app called the Subtexter, which empowers “humblebraggers to embrace the true meaning behind their photos.”
We’ve begun to hand out affirmations to almost anyone who crosses our social media path, whether or not we truly think highly of the content. Thoughtlessness is prevailing and I fear we’re creating our own “boy who cried wolf” scenario – no “Like” actually means something when it’s handed out too freely.
While we give away “Likes” freely, we expect them in return. We check, re-check and triple-check the quantity of people who have seemingly verified our content worth by means of a button. “Likes” make us feel better. We’re only human after all, and let’s face it, at the core of this subject is human psychology transformed into digital form.
Then again, it’s just a like. Isn’t the purpose of sharing our bits of life with the internet to be social? And isn’t the root of being social to be liked? Are we falling into a habit of forgetting to think about our updates & likes, and are instead just doing it to see and be seen?
One thing has become clear to me while thinking of the topic at hand – I want to enter a new realm of social practice. I want my Instagram profile to be filled with images that are well thought-out. I want to be more creative. I want to stop putting out updates with the intent of getting responses and instead focus on sharing what I find of true value. I want to “Like” only the photos & updates I actually like.
In short, I’m finding more and more importance in practicing quality over quantity in social media. I want to be social, but I want it to mean something. Care to join?
About the Author: Emily VanderBeekis a digital advertising professional living & playing in Chicago. She is the blogger behind Isn't That Charming, a lifestyle blog focused on the fashions, DIY projects & inspirations that charm her socks off.
Photo via Fast Company.