Life is Bigger than the Screen – by Julia Shohbozian
A junior in high school, Julia Shohbozian left her traditional high school campus at the end of her sophomore year, and opted for an independent study program which gives her freedom to take more classes at Sierra College and engage in community work. She serves on the Placer County Youth Commission and the Leadership Committee for the Coalition for Placer Youth. This article is the first in her new column, “Life is Bigger than the Screen.”
Contrary to popular belief, “likes” don’t and shouldn’t mean much to people. It takes about ten seconds to see something and decide to “like” it, maybe less. Now consider this- it also takes about ten seconds for someone to give you a genuine complement in person. Too bad not many people do that anymore. And it’s because people don’t tend to give genuine compliments anymore that we are drawn to looking for that attention on social media.
I believe that the philosophy behind it is: “If I post this picture, many people will see it (hopefully) and like it (hopefully) and it will make me look better in their eyes (hopefully)”. A sad thing it is when we rely on this game to find and receive self validation. The truth is, one will never find real validation through social media, the sooner we give up thinking this, the better. Neither party (the like-y and the like-er) should be held responsible for this lack of sincerity. However, both parties can change their habits to make a difference in how they and others choose to view and receive validation.
Seeing a friend’s photo and “liking” it is not saying that you appreciate seeing them and that you think they look great. The “like” button may be a heart, but it certainly isn’t love. I’m not saying it’s useless. It serves it’s purpose as a simple way to say that you saw their photo. And sometimes that’s enough for people; they just want to know that others saw their most recent post, acknowledged that they’re there. But again, this gets dangerous when people start to think that it also validates them.
See related: Mental health check for the cyber-powered child
So, don’t be the person that expects a “like” to be enough for everyone. If you really want to show that you care about someone, do something interesting like write them a letter, or actually call them and tell them. A little more effort goes a long way. Instead of hitting the “like” button, think of other, more sincere, ways that you can show you admire someone. When you compliment someone in person, you’re likely to get some validation right back at you- so it’s a win-win situation. It will make you feel better about yourself and it might make someone’s day. This also will set you apart in the person’s eyes because you went further than just tapping the “like” button like everyone else.