The Need for Attention on Social Media is Killing You
Seeking attention from strangers on the internet will ruin your life
We live in a weird world.
I often find myself thinking about what a person from 150+ years ago might say about our generation. Would they be in awe? Would they be incredulous?
Or would they be horrified?
Probably a mix of all the above. It’s exciting and bleak. And no doubt the bleakness level rises the further and further we hurtle into the future. And the core propellants are the now everyday titans — Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook.
Don’t get me wrong — I love social media. It’s helped me connect with new friends, and stay in touch with old ones. It’s helped me build my brand, and reach a wider audience. It’s helped me stay updated on local, regional, and national news.
Yet, the greater the capacity for good, the greater the harm is done when wielded for evil. And at the root of the evil of social media, is the crippling desire for attention.
Your need for attention online is slowly killing you.
Softly, in some cases — rapidly in others. Whether you’re an Instagram influencer with thousands of followers, a Youtuber with millions of subscribers, or even an avid Twitter user with under 100 followers — this one is for you.
People are nasty online
The truth hurts — and the truth is that people are horrible online.
There’s something about the potential anonymity of social media that compels people to turn nasty — troll accounts have been set up with no other intention than to spew controversial and hateful speech. Fake accounts have been drummed up to tear down brands and collectives. Anonymous pages have been created just to target and bully other users.
Even worse is when people are actively nasty as their entire brand. Social media is a dog eat dog world. People have built entire careers off being a racist, classicist, sexist, deliberately obtuse, xenophobic…you name it. What do these people all have in common? Attention-seeking.
If you aren’t careful, the need for attention could drive you to become a hateful figure online.
Social media causes dissatisfaction with your real life
Looking or attention on social media is like building a house made of straw.
When the wind of reality blows, the entire house falls. The problem with seeking attention from strangers online is that you can receive it in abundance. Unregulated dopamine shots straight into your brain.
But what goes up must come down, and when you realize that the momentary love you receive online doesn’t always translate in person…you leave room for despair to creep into your reality.
We present the highlight reel of our lives. Whole social fantasies, from adjusting our cellulite and waists with an editor, or posting our holiday pictures back to back. See, other people can escape their realities to enter your fantasies.
You have to live full-time in your reality to create part-time fantasies.
An endless cycle of creation, whilst much of the real day to day elements of your life die.
Comparison is the thief of joy
Seeking attention online will inevitably lead to needless comparison.
You’ll be wondering why someone else is getting more engagement than you, or why they’re getting more shares. You’ll be wondering why someone else is more socially acceptable in the social media universe than you.
And suddenly, you lose sight of your self-worth and integrity because of what you’ve seen online.
Don’t be fooled, and don’t compare. We often only see a fraction of people’s lives, and to judge the entirety of your existence on a 140-character tweet or an Instagram photo…is a recipe for psychological disaster.
Attention-seeking is already a problematic trait in person — when taken to social media, it becomes destructive. The need for validation in the form of vanity metrics will slowly kill you…until the day you realize you are no longer relevant online.
I just pray that you’ll realize this isn’t the case offline.