Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat and any other platform that you use to broadcast your life to your friends; is not real life.
We know this.
We know that likes, follows, unfriending or blocking someone, aren’t real social movements. They don’t prove that someone is loved, hated or liked. 1 million followers doesn’t mean your beautiful, nor does 1 follower mean that you are ugly.
We understand that seeking validation from social media is like earning monopoly money. It isn’t real.
We know this.
But if we are to be honest with ourselves, why are we denying the power of likes?
Come on – who doesn’t love it when you reach over 25 likes on your selfie? Who doesn’t pull a smile when you read lovely comments under your Facebook status? Who doesn’t know how many followers they have on instagram? I bet you do!
I know some of you may think that the idea of seeking affirmation online is ridiculous and sharing personal information across digital platforms is fake communication, but there is no denying that this is how most of us socialise today.
The Like, Follow, Block and Unfriend button is powerful!
So powerful, that it might also be the main reason as to why online bullying and ostracism is prominent throughout most of our social media apps.
Long gone are the days of playground bullying and office bitching, this digital age has found a new form of social exclusion. Rejection that isn’t entirely obvious to the majority of people, but is very obvious when it’s aimed at you. Think about it – two of your friends are chatting over Facebook about their plans for this weekend. Plans that you are not invited to. They could have text, called or sent each other a letter! But instead they put it on Facebook for you to see and even worse, for everyone else to see. Public humiliation at it’s best! Another example of social media rejection, is when someone blocks or unfriends you, and you can’t help but think: Am I annoying? Was my political tweet too much? Is my Map My Run app pissing everyone off?
Social media is highlighting that our FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), isn’t all in our heads; it actually is happening, for real.
And before you roll your eyes at how pathetic our society has become, you should know that cyber rejection is now being citied in courtrooms all over the world. Last year, an Australian woman won a case in which it was accepted that her colleague’s ‘unfriending’ of her on Facebook constituted as ‘workplace bullying’.
Regardless of new laws taking place, I still think we’re a long way off from the day when people finally stop writing cryptic statuses and uploading quotes which dig at people they dislike.
Sadly, there will always be someone out there, who will try to make you feel excluded online. Whether that’s not liking your photo or removing you from a WhatsApp group. One thing to keep in mind, for when you next feel left out online, is social media is simply the icing on the cake when it comes to true friendships, but it certainly is not what sustains them.
At the end of the day, your real friends will never need to press a button to show that they actually like you!