Opinion: Don’t let life be driven by “likes”


Instagram was one of the three social media platforms that suffered an outage on Monday. Photo from pexels.com

KEARSTIN CANTRELL | Opinions Editor 

Likes, favorites, followers and retweets have slowly but surely become more important to people than quality of life and memories of fun times with friends.

Every outing is plagued with that one friend who needs to take a Boomerang of a toast for Instagram before anyone is allowed to try their drink. Even if it takes them five tries to get it right.

Sentences like “Which caption is funnier?” and “This is so Instagram-able” have become societal norms.

If a post doesn’t get a desired number of likes or retweets, it may get deleted.

Not to mention the thoughts like “If I don’t Snapchat this, nobody will know that I did something fun today.”

[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Social media has taken over our experiences, our memories and our self value.[/perfectpullquote]

Social media has taken over our experiences, our memories and our self value.

And it needs to stop.

The issue isn’t that people who “care too much about likes” use social media too much. The root of the issue is the need for the approval of others.

Human beings are social creatures. The desire to be part of a group and fit in is written in our DNA. And getting likes on Instagram or Facebook fulfills that desire.

It doesn’t become a problem until we let that desire drive our actions. The approval of others shouldn’t be your driving force in life.

It becomes an issue when you sacrifice seeing a beautiful sunset with your own two eyes to instead see it through the camera of your smartphone. It becomes an issue when you like the online version of yourself better than the real-life version of yourself.

The Dove Self-Esteem project found that that two-thirds of women felt prettier online than in real life and 60 percent of college-aged students believe social media negatively impacts their confidence.

Online likes are virtual empathy. They are another source of societal approval. It’s OK to seek that approval to a certain extent. We do it in real life every day whether we realize it or not.

But the minute we start giving up our true quality of life for approval is the minute we sacrifice more than it’s worth.

Don’t let yourself be driven by likes and online empathy. Let your life be driven by experiencing it to the fullest in the moment. Let it be driven by friendship, by memories or by joy. But don’t let it be driven by the need for approval.