Addicted to Likes: The Madness Behind Social Media Metrics
When I was young and growing up from a child to an awkwardly looking pre-teen, social media wasn’t even a thought (Thank God because those selfies would be scary). The most technology I was exposed to during that time was watching Hocus Pocus on VHS, playing Mario Kart on my Nintendo 64 and messaging my friends on MSN every now and then. Nowadays, most kids are growing up with an iPhone in their faces for hours at a time, as they scroll through Instagram waiting for Kim Kardashian to post a photo of herself half naked. I guess you can say, times have definitely changed.
In 2017, 81% of the US had a social networking profile of some sort. Does that not sound insane to you? What has this world come to? We are relying more on social media than we do on each other, and many different issues are stemming from this.
Back in the day, we would meet someone in a coffee shop, call them to set up another date, and then spend more and more quality time getting to know them. Nowadays, we swipe right on someone’s selfie on Tinder, then Snapchat them, follow them on Instagram, tweet them and pray that they text us back. And, let’s not forget, we pray to God that they like and comment on our latest selfie.
We have become so obsessed with likes, followers, comments, right swipes, and just about everything to do with gaining social media attention, that we may have forgotten about other important things in life. Like, everything else.
This obsession leads to plenty of self-esteem and self value issues. And, if kids are exposed to this at such a young age, what does that say for their growth and maturity?
In today’s society, people honestly believe that their popularity, beauty and self worth all stem from the amount of likes that they receive on their selfie. This can be insanely damaging to one’s self esteem as high standards can often be almost impossible to attain, especially if they’re comparing themselves to celebrities like the Kardashians, Selena Gomez, or Justin Bieber, just to name a few. For those kids/young adults experiencing depression or anxiety, they may carefully edit their posts to mask serious problems and pretend perfection. This is a huge issue if you consider how hard it makes it for their parents and friends to see when help is extremely necessary. Also, those same teens who have created these false online personas may end up feeling discouraged and depressed when they focus on the gap between who they pretend to be and who they really are.
Nowadays, what we value in life has really changed, thanks to social media. We’re living in a society that cares more about spending money on designer brands (just to post an Instagram photo of us in an Off-White t-shirt that we can’t even afford), than on necessities like food, shelter, etc. Examples of this can be seen across all mediums and within all age groups. However, I’m going to dive into one of my favorites.
Have you ever heard of The Ace Family? They’re a famous YouTube family with almost 6 million subscribers, best known for posting adorable daily vlogs of their 2-year-old daughter, Elle, as well as challenges, pranks, and much more. I am personally a huge fan because of their positive and hilarious videos, however, with YouTube fame, comes YouTube money. Now that The Ace Family has been making LOTS of money off of YouTube ads and their merch, their videos have changed quite a bit. Their vlogs have lately been focused on showing off their Gucci outfits (even Elle is rocking full Gucci fits), their Lamborghini, and their huge Hollywood Hills mansion. It is clear that their understanding of value has shifted quite a bit, and that they are now mainly interested in broadcasting their wealth to all of their fans and followers. The problem stemming from this is that those young fans who see them as role models, will now potentially believe that the only way for them to gain likes and followers depends not so much on their personality, but more so on what they own and can show off.
By carelessly valuing social media metrics, our society will go to shit. We need to spend less time worrying about what others think, and more on how we can better ourselves and the environment.
If you’re one of the millions of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat addicts, here’s some tips to help manage your social media life:
1. Limit yourself. Stop spending hours looking at a screen, when you can spend hours reading a new book, taking on a new hobby, or spending time with family and friends.
2. Take a smartphone or social media break or BOTH. If you’re a busy person (or at least you think you are), and you can’t take time away from your phone because so many important emails, wow. Where was I going with this? Oh ya, then take a social media break for at least a week! Repeat this as often as possible. Sometimes a break is all you need to get yourself in the right head space, and to make sure that your addiction doesn’t get too drastic.
3. Convince others to repeat these 2 steps. Especially family or friends (those who really matter). If you go up to someone on the subway and tell them to take a break from social media, they may attack you.
4. The last tip I can give for now (mainly because I, myself am addicted to social media) is to stop worrying about the likes, followers, and comments that you receive. Focus more on becoming a better YOU, and I promise, that is all that truly matters.