Our need for validation in the age of Social Media and Its Algorithm

Seeking validation has always been human nature. And it is a part of our daily life in one way or the other. Below are a few examples of things we say to validate our choice or thoughts.

This shirt is looking good, right?

Didn’t I do good in the presentation?

We should try that new restaurant, what you think?

This also happens when you know the friend you are asking hasn’t been there.

The chances of this new restaurant turning out to be a good one will remain the same. But you’ll be more confident about your decision if your friend validates.

This confidence and encouragement is a daily occurrence for most of us. And it affects many of our small and big decisions.

It is a human tendency to validate our choices, decisions and other things. And it is alright to an extent.

Seeking Validation is Alright

Do what you like to do, Don’t listen to what they say.” We get to hear this idea too often these days. And I agree with it to some extent. But, this is also a very misinterpreted thing.

The most common outcome of its misinterpretation is that people start rejecting the negative feedback because they become wired to believe, “Don’t listen to what they say.”.

need for validation in the age of social media

There is a difference between people who are giving you feedback and those who are trying to put you down. And the problem is that people stop listening to both.

Seeking validation is healthy in some amount. It gives you confidence and reassurance in some cases. Which makes you stick to your decisions longer.

If you feel the need to get approval of others for all of your actions, decisions, and choices; there might be other underlying reasons for that, like low self-esteem or a need to seek acceptance within a group of people. Such behavior can also result in an identity crisis of some degree. It’s better to address it as early as possible.

It’s not a good idea. Let’s see why.

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Social Media Has Changed

I signed up on Facebook in 2008. Back then, it was more like an extension of your social circle. With an added advantage of keeping in touch with old friends and not so close family.

If I posted a picture, it was most likely be seen by all the people who logged in their accounts.

It was all good because we were using it. Unlike now.

Social Media Users Are Being Used

Do you know, you are a product and also a user at the same time?

Your time on social media is being sold and you have an option to buy someone else’s.

When you run an advertisement on Facebook or Instagram, you get an option to choose your audience based on the demographics. You are a part of someone’s target audience and you have an option to target others.

Well, that’s how the marketplace works.

But the problem comes when they want to grow profits.

What matters the most for the success of ads? Online users.

And what would keep them online? Things they like.

So you would see what the algorithm thinks you like. And you will get to see a lot of it.

If you post a photo and you think it’s a great photo. And you need to see a lot of “thumbs up” to validate. You will be disappointed.

Because your friends might not even get what you posted in their feed as they are busy being potential customers and being shown what keeps them online.

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The Algorithm Siphoned Your Control

Instagram used to have chronological feed. That meant I will get to see posts of all the people I’m following.

But then the need to make profits rose. And came the ads and algorithm.

And they started showing you what most people like. Now 4 out of 10 posts are advertisements. You are a product and a user again.

However, you never had control over who would like your post. But you had some degree of control over who will see your post.

Not anymore. Thanks to the algorithm. There is a large number of your followers who don’t get your posts in their feed.

Oh, They too get busy being products and potential customers.

Despite all of the above, you may get a ton of likes.

But that may not necessarily mean they actually like your post. One reason for this can be the overloaded feed.

Back in 2008, when a user posted something, people saw it with more attention than they possibly can today.

Ideally, when you see someone’s post, you would look at it and evaluate and decide if you truly like it and then hit the thumb or the red heart.

But when was the last time you did that?

Our social media likes today aren’t thoughtful rather automated. We scroll through our feed and keep double tapping what we like or we think we would like.

When we don’t spend even a few seconds to look at each post. Do you think social media would be the right platform to validate anything?

Conclusion

Social media has changed over time and what we have today is no more just a tool we use but also a tool that is used on us. The main reason for it is the constant need for growing profits and as a result the advent of the mean algorithm.

Seeking validation is a good thing but like most things, balance is the key here. Though you shouldn’t depend on social media for it.

Thanks for reading!

Yatharth

Further Reading:-

Seeking Validation Online Doesn’t Bring Real Happiness

Your digital identity has three layers, and you can only protect one of them

What Drives Our Need For Approval?

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