This article in the New York Times about the “like” phenomenon in social media got me thinking. Here are a few excerpts:
“Walking through an airport newsstand this year, I noticed a novelty. The covers of Inc., Fast Company and Time all had female executives on the covers: Sara Blakely, Angela Ahrendts and Janet L. Yellen. I quickly snapped a photo and sent out a tweet to my modest list of followers: “Women on the cover. Not just for girlie magazines anymore.” Then I waited for the love. I checked the response before passing through security. Nothing. I glanced again while waiting for the plane. Still nothing. I looked again before we took off. Nobody cared. My little attempt to pass a lonely hour in an airport with some friendly interaction had turned into the opposite: a brutal cold shower of social isolation.”
“A growing body of research indicates how deeply our brains are wired to seek social approval. A study out of Harvard in 2012 showed that humans devote up to 40 percent of our time to self-disclosure, and doing so is as pleasurable as having food or sex.”
““In a lot of ways, the addictive part is in the anticipation,” Ms. DeNeen said. “It’s in the moment before you open the account when you hear the phone ding.”
“While getting lots of likes or retweets feels great, the feeling of rejection from not getting them is often greater. People’s fear of being excluded is so intense… that “even if someone gets on an elevator and the other person steps away, that is enough to make the normal person get all wrinkled up and say: ‘What the heck? Is that person doing that to me?’”
He’s pretty spot on, isn’t he? I remember one time posting an artsy photo of a sweaty Heineken on Instagram and feeling slightly confused and then rejected when not a single person liked it. Twenty minutes later, I deleted it. It really feels like a slap to the face — like you’ve just cracked a really good joke and everyone just blinks.
And then, on the other hand — when my phone blows up after I post something, it’s like a room full of people have burst into genuine laughter at one of my jokes. It’s an itty bitty rush, an immediate pick-me-up.
I know I’m not alone here, and I’m terrified of the ramifications this is going to have on the younger generations that look to social media for a boost in self-esteem.
What about you? What do you think? Do you agree with the article? Disagree? Let’s hear it!
Photo by Max Wanger.