I want you to want me: Addicted to likes

Do you spend time watching for likes? Do you feel sad or anxious that your post isn’t getting enough traction? A lot of people are in the same boat. There are so many people looking for positive reinforcement online. Something that tells us that what we’re doing is interesting, we’re traveling to amazing places, our food looks incredible, that we look great, our kids or pets are adorable, the list could go on and on. Long story short, we’re addicted to likes.

Likes tend to be a fairly low-effort way of getting feelings of social well-being, feelings that are far harder to come by in real life. In our day-to-day life, personal connection with others is key. We get reassurance from physical contact, facial expressions, etc. This is harder to accomplish and is by no means instantaneous. Reinforcement online is fast and easy. We get a certain feeling of euphoria when we get likes. However, it’s a bit like a drug, and we always go back wanting more. The same amount of likes as last time will never be enough.

This can become even more pronounced when you factor in personal branding, particularly because we are now more connected to our professional networks than ever before. We don’t want to be embarrassed by a post that flops, so we’re driven to come up with the best content for the sake of our metrics.

We’re Trophy Hunters

By being so connected to social media, with the average person spending about 109 minutes on social media platforms each day, we’re at a real risk of having likes become more important than how we’re perceived in reality. One new study found that 3 out of 4 people admitted to being rude or disconnected with others when posting on social media. Another finding showed that people would in fact post something online that they wouldn’t otherwise say in reality. When exactly did it become the norm to check-out from reality in order to capture that perfect moment for your followers? When did we become ‘trophy hunters’?

We all know that person who stops everything to get the perfect picture or video, maybe even gets in trouble to do it? How about the person who won’t let anyone eat until you’ve Insta’d it? Perhaps it’s the parent who misses what their kids are doing to check to see how their post is doing? Wherever you fall on this spectrum, whether it’s you, kind of you, or just someone you know, we all need to find a way to get back to living in the moment.

DYK?

Did you know that about 58% of people admitted that trying to get the ideal post had actually kept them from enjoying life in the moment? Think of what we’re missing, all just to reinforce those positive feelings. We’re missing the opportunity to live in the moment, enjoy the game, the concert, a meal or time with friends and family that is uninterrupted by screen time.

So, what do we do?

Something that we may want to ask ourselves before deciding to post, is if there were no likes would you still post? Would you still share that moment with your network? If the answer is no, then maybe you reconsider the need to share. Some have even installed demetricators (available for Facebook) to take likes entirely out of the equation.

If you’re not quite ready to go to that far, there is no harm in taking some downtime from technology. Take some time to reconnect to the things and people around you. I would argue that people in fact need this time away from technology. While I enjoy social media as much as the next person, we are too often letting these platforms have excessive control over our attention.

So let’s try to keep things in perspective and recognize the fact that likes online are not the ‘be all and end all’. We need to value moments in the real world.

Do you think you like likes too much? Do you know someone who does?

 

twitter I want you to want me! Otherwise known as being #addicted to likes – Check out my latest blog @ http://bit.ly/29giPNp

facebook Do you like ‘likes’ a little too much? It turns out a lot of us are #addicted! Find out more @ http://bit.ly/29giPNp

10 thoughts on “I want you to want me: Addicted to likes

  1. Great read. I admit I have found myself from time to time checking to see how many likes a certain post of mine has got. I try not get wrapped up in it but certain posts I make, I have an idea in my head “oh this will get me my most likes”

  2. Great piece Kim! Made me do some reflecting of my own. I have to admit that I did get a high when over 100 people on my Facebook liked one of my photos. It made me ask myself, What could I post next to gain that many likes?

    On your “DYK” paragraph it made me reflect on the many times I’ve gone to see a favourite DJ of mine. When they drop a favourite track, I find myself wanting to document the moment on video, but get so focused on documenting the perfect moment, that I miss the moment entirely. It’s made me more aware to put my phone away and enjoy the moment instead of missing out on it.

    • Thanks for your comment! I really appreciate it. That’s a great observation! It can be really difficult to balance wanting to capture something so that you can look back on the moment and just enjoying the moment itself. I think it’s a work in progress for everyone.

  3. Such a thought provoking and well written read. I agree with your point about not letting social media consume all of our attention. I know I’ve definitely fallen victim to watching how many likes a social media post receives. It’s definitely crazy how easily we can let our self-worth be defined by how many likes and comments we receive on digital platforms.

    • Thank you Courtney for your feedback. I really appreciate the comment. It’s amazing how easy it can be to fall into that trap. These platforms are designed to catch our attention, and they certainly do a good job.

  4. Great write up…and so true…!!! I must confess, I have found myself checking out for likes atimes!!! However, I also know before hand that some of my posts will be unpopular (based on their topic/issue ) but I still go ahead and post it because it is a message I want to convey anyway…!!!

    • Thank you for the feedback! I think it’s important, on a personal level, to still post content that may be unpopular. For example, the blog I did last week was on GMOs and I was worried about the reaction it might receive, but I went ahead and posted it anyway. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that a big brand do that, but I didn’t think it was too bad for me as an individual. It’s just part of my personal brand I guess.

  5. Kim – Great post, because it has great focus. Once I got past the earworm that your clever headline gave me (courtesy of Cheap Trick’s catchy tune from 1977), I was hooked. Do I like likes? Yup. Do I count them or put much stock in them? No. I suppose that’s because I recognize it as a pretty shallow form of interaction. The interactions that count take a little more: some time, some thought, some genuine feedback or even disagreement. I wonder what would happen to Facebook usage if the like function were suddenly disabled. I don’t think it would change my usage, but I’ll bet usage would decline. What do you think?

  6. Wow! 58% of people admitted they missed out on enjoying life in the moment to get an ideal post?

    I like the concept you mention of taking downtime from technology, definitely very, very important. I know personally, working with computers all day, and being online, I definitely find a need to do this myself.

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