“Social media doesn’t create negativity, it uncovers it.” — Jay Baer
It’s turned into a platform for children, teens, and adults to develop an intimate relationship with the numbers:
- 100 Followers mean that 100 people care about you.
- 20 Likes mean that 80% of those you thought cared about you really don’t.
- 1 Comment means that only 1 person truly appreciated your content.
Screw the numbers. They’re nothing but bad energy.
These are trivial statistics that don’t mean a damn thing.
I don’t care if you have 10 or 100,000 followers. Unless you’re a business obligated to build an audience of potential customers, the numbers are none of your business nor worth your concern.
You aren’t any less significant than the person who has thousands of more likes and followers than you ever dreamed of — a nightmare of seeking self-approval via the internet.
Just how beauty is a quality that isn’t quantified by the weight on the scale or the circumference of your waist, self-worth isn’t quantified by the likes on your post or your follower count.
It’s time to divorce our marriage to the numbers and redistribute our love towards ourselves — instead of the hearts, claps, upvotes, and follows that blow up our notifications and ego.
I will admit, I love social media.
I think it’s a great and convenient way to connect with our homies, folks who inspire us, folks who make us laugh, and people from all walks of life to catch a glimpse of what it’s like in another person’s shoes. I’m all for things like Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, and any platform that encourages us to share our personal lives.
But the more we depend on these apps for quick dopamine hits, the more we start to romanticize the analytics that comes with them — to the extent where we begin using these numbers as metrics of our significance.
Of course, in the context of growing an audience, metrics are important.
Comments, reposts, and likes are metrics of engagement — which are crucial for building a successful personal brand or business. However, it’s when we apply these metrics in the wrong context that it becomes harmful.
We’ve come to treat these numbers on social media as if each post is a school assignment, waiting to be graded by the double-taps and clicks of our followers. Likes or views in the triple digits is an A, while anything below that isn’t good enough to uphold our ego’s GPA.
Our posts on social media aren’t school assignments. Stop treating each analytic as a grade that validates your beauty, skill, intelligence, and significance.
Being married to the numbers makes us forget that social media is supposed to be a place of connection, inspiration, laughter, and entertainment. It’s impossible to experience any one of those if we’re always ruminating in the comparison trap by using likes and followers to determine our self-worth.
Learn to Live With and Without It
“Emotionally detach ourselves from the numbers because the quantity can never define our qualities.”
Especially among the self-help community, you’ll hear a lot of folks disowning the idea of social media — encouraging people to temporarily deactivate or leave it altogether to avoid it’s potential harm to one’s mental health.
While there is some truth to that, I will also say that the ability to scroll through your Instagram feed without being caught up in the hype of numbers will create resistance against the very things that are responsible for giving social media a bad wrap in the first place.
With Instagram, I do everything I can to prevent myself from relying on the virtual hearts that give off the illusion of authentic love and connection.
- When I make the occasional post, I don’t waste my time and energy scrolling through who liked my pictures, and how many they got.
- I don’t waste my time checking who and how many people viewed my story.
- I turned off pop-up notifications whenever someone comments or likes one of my posts.
- I take breaks from Instagram every other month to remind myself that it’s a supplement to my life, not a necessity.
I learned that we should treat social media like a cup of coffee.
Some days you’ll feel down in the dumps and might need to consume more of it. Other days you’ll feel pretty good and might not need much if any. Yet the moment you strip it away, you shouldn’t experience withdrawals that make you feel miserable on the days without it.
Although it only takes the tap of a button to download an application, it takes a whole lot of mental strength and a bit of an “IDGAF” attitude to enable you to roam about the social media world without having it’s stresses weighing down on your ego.
No matter how many likes you get, you will never be content with who you are and what you share if you rely on other folks to determine your opinions.
Emotionally detach ourselves from the numbers because the quantity can never define our qualities.