Latest from The Conservative Mom

Validating Existence with ‘Likes’ and ‘Followers’

It’s not easy living in a world where you are only a small speck among billions of others. You want to be heard and you feel a deep need to stand out from the crowd, or at the very least be noticed within the crowd.

This desire to feed the ego is often played out online when you participate in online chats or express your feelings through images, videos, or just mere words. Why is this potentially dangerous? Well, let’s just say that the ego will do anything to be noticed…even if it has to pay for ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ online.

Our need to stand out is one thing—but when we feel the need to force false attention onto ourselves just so that we can look as if we have friends, then we are revealing a major weakness that begins from within.

Social media has replaced how people in the world view themselves and one another. Rather than having real friends that are human beings that you can touch and feel, we have online ‘friends’ that consist of people you can neither touch nor feel…you can only see them on a screen.

The communication that we have with our online community is often skewered with images that we share through videos and photos, yet they only show what we want others to see. We retake images of ourselves and place filters on the images to show a side of us that’s often more appealing. The only problem is that it’s not a true representation of what we look like or who we are.

Falsifying our images is only the beginning of what we will do to ensure the approval of others—which is often given through online ‘likes’ or by achieving new friends (followers). To gain online popularity, we will even say things that we would normally not say if people were looking into our eyes in person. We want to be liked for real, but we will take what we can get online if it can help to feed our ego and validate our existence. We feel the need to be noticed and we will do what it takes to get the world and the people in it to look at us.

To achieve the personal goal of creating a false narrative for the sake of attention, we will pay for likes and followers if we can’t seem to get them legitimate. Yes, that’s right. People will actually pay to increase the number of likes or followers if they see that their numbers are too low. This is often done when others want to appear as if they have high approval marks from strangers, which typically shows that the person is more popular.

Only it’s all a lie. Not only is the person and their expression going unnoticed, but they have now tapped into the insecurity of others who will feel the need to do the same in order to feel better about themselves.

The validation of human existence is not something new and it will forever be a part of our DNA. We will always feel the need to stand out, be accepted by others, and to be heard. The only problem with validating ourselves online is that it is too easy to falsify who we really are—not to mention how others view us. We push our egos online and we tend to feed it by the number of approval points we receive through likes and followers. This can be dangerous when we are willing to lie about the number of people who were impacted by something that we shared online.

Having an online presence is fine if we remember that social media is simply another platform for expression. It’s not a means in which to feel better about ourselves, let alone a way to prove our popularity. Hopefully, we will all regain our ability to connect with one another genuinely and personally.

Otherwise, we just might find ourselves turning into mere machines that fail to understand the power of human connectivity.

About Audra L.

Audra L. is an author, columnist and community activist who's dedicated to finding truth through research and effective communication. She received her degree in Public Policy and teaches Community Development, Public Speaking and Communications Law to youth throughout the nation. She is the recipient of over 23 awards and honors for her commitment to community outreach initiatives.

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