As a user of social media, I consider myself to be pretty skilled on most platforms. I wouldn’t call myself an “expert” by any means but I do enjoy most platforms we have today. Well, the big four anyway: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest
I wasn’t always this way. I used to shy away from all forms of social media. In fact, when I was in high school, my cousin made a MySpace account for me (much to my dismay) to “keep in touch” with her while she was away for the summer. I hated it and, promptly deleted it upon her return.
I didn’t get it. Why do people want to know what I am doing at all hours of the day and night? What makes me so important? Why do I need to share every detail of my existence with the world? And, most importantly, why do I care what anyone else is doing with their lives?!
Boy, have times changed. When I wake up, the first thing I do is check Instagram and Twitter. I check Facebook (and Instagram… and Twitter) though out the day and again right before I go to bed. I now find myself caring about what my college friends are up to or what Bravo Housewife got in a fight at an LA Nightclub and caring how many ‘likes’ I get when I do actually post! Seriously, 17 year old me is cringing.
So, what is the psychology behind social media? It seems, people crave approval and attention when they post on social media. I know people who will take a post down if it doesn’t get more than 10 ‘likes’! But, people feel like they have been acknowledged when people pay attention to them. They want to feel included as part of the group. According to Dr. Peggy Drexler, “social media has made many aspects of relationships more accessible”. By posting, you can reach a wider range of people than you would by having a conversation face to face. If the post does not receive positive feedback that can create self-doubt in the user… this is probably why some of my friends will remove a post if it does not get enough attention. Who knew!
To read more of Dr. Drexler’s article, click here.