Why we share everything on social media
Do you choose to write punchy sentences of only 280 characters on Twitter?
Or if you have a lot to say, is Facebook your method of choice?
Maybe you like the power of imagery available on Instagram?
Better yet, how about the influence of videos through YouTube or TikTok?
That’s only the beginning of the list—we haven’t even mentioned Snapchat, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and even the Bible app.
Here’s the reality: you have the opportunity to impact your social media network, no matter which platform you choose.
Why do we post on social media
Abraham Maslow is a famous psychologist who popularized the hierarchy of needs.
- Physiological needs: food, water, sleep, shelter
- Safety: employment, health, resources
- Love and belonging: strong family relationships, intimate friendships, connection to others
- Self-esteem: knowledge and respect of self, a sense of freedom
- Self-actualization: desire to be your best self
He claims that we all begin on level one and cannot proceed upward until those needs are met. For example, someone’s insatiable daily need for food would be a barrier to feeling safe or loved. And an individual who doesn’t feel loved or known would struggle to have a high view of self.
Interestingly, the same hierarchy applies to our social media actions.
- Physiological needs: Some individuals post to boost the health and well-being of their social media friends. These are fitness and food gurus, health activists, or social justice advocates.
- Safety: Posting about mental health, physical safety, and financial security are big motivators for some people.
- Love and belonging: All of the inspirational quotes, overly encouraging captions, and emoji-heavy comments fall into this category. They share the type of content in hopes of receiving the same type in return.
- Self-esteem: Self-centered posts resonate from individuals who are stuck in this self-esteem level. They self-promote in order to get rewarded; these are the entrepreneurs and overly-salesy people that you often see in Instagram ads.
- Self-actualization: This is the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy, and it shows by the content these individuals post. They share their successes and have a genuine presence on social media.
Other reasons we post on social media
But those levels are not the only reasons why we post incessantly on social media. Here are a few other motivations:
- To stay in touch or connected with friends and family.
- To feel accepted by our community and peers.
- To learn about a new brand.
- To create a false-image of self.
- To share exciting news or stories about our recent travels.
- To like someone else’s post...so they like our post in return.
- To follow the activities of our favorite celebrities or influencers.
- To post information that you believe everyone should read.
- Why do you post on social media? Take a moment to reflect over your motivation before you hit publish.
Posting on social media in today’s world
It’s easy to write about a new topic every single day in today’s world. Politics. Pandemic. Celebrities. Natural disasters. Ice cream. Cats...you get the idea.
And your expansive reach means you can have an impact on your community. The adolescents and young adults who look up to you trust your words. Your peers observe how you raise your kids. Your family wants to see how you live life and handle current events. How will you use your influence?
And why post at all? If you are struggling to stay in contact with your friends during the ups and downs on this pandemic, then using social media is acceptable—and even encouraged. If you want to have fruitful discussions on topics that you are passionate about, social media platforms can be a practical forum. If you are curious about a product your friends would recommend, ask away. Want to make someone laugh with a funny video of your kids? Go ahead—we can all appreciate a comedic video clip!
However, if you are seeking an emotional response from your social media communications, think again.
Try this instead
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a quest for more followers, likes, and popularity won’t lead to the joy you are seeking. Even posting your favorite things will eventually feel like a flop.
Instead, find your joy in things that give you life.
- Spend time praying to God your Father or reading about Him in the bible.
- Listen to music that lifts your spirits.
- Have face-to-face interactions with the people you love most.
- Take a few minutes to participate in your favorite hobby.
- Get outside and experience the refreshing characteristic of nature.
Still struggling to find the perfect balance with social media? Has it become an idol? Too time-consuming? An escape mechanism? That’s tough, but we can help.
Just like a tree with deep roots, social media can grow to become a tree that shades your entire garden, causing your other plants to be constricted and lacking essential sunlight. Together we can unearth the deeper motivations behind your social media addiction, as if we are digging down to reach the roots of the tree. With a bit of effort we can remove the tree, till the soil, and plant a fresh tree.
After all, trees are not bad, and neither is social media. But anything that overtakes our life as an idol needs to be trimmed back. Let’s plant a new mindset and lifestyle around social media. Call us today to get started.
Clinical Director and Co-Owner at Redeemed Life Counseling