Trading Love for Likes

Saint Valentine’s Day

V-Day

Singles Awareness Day

Valentine’s Day

Feast of Saint Valentine Day

Anti-Valentines Day

No matter how you phrase it – whether you love it or hate it – February 14th is a day recognized around the world as an ode to love. From elementary school mailboxes filled with candy, galentines celebrations, protests of V-day or romantic dates – you can’t really get around it.

If you’re like me you check your social media pages multiple times a day. And if your feeds looked anything like mine yesterday, they were filled with pictures of couples, engagements, family photos and presents. All of this was certainly to be expected, after all it was the one day a year completely dedicated to love.

Many of these more ‘generic’ posts weren’t overly surprising, but what caught me off guard was the number of intimate moments people chose to share and post. I flipped through countless Snapchat and Instagram stories of couples sharing romantic dinners together, exchanging presents or literally serenading each other.

When did our culture become so obsessed with sharing that we choose to project our most private moments to the world? Why is it that things seem to be worth less if they aren’t captured and shared?

Of course the power of a photograph and a video is unparalleled – how amazing is it that we have the ability to freeze a moment in time? To keep it indefinitely and to remind ourselves of that very second in time when the memory has faded and become buried.

Why wouldn’t you want to share the best parts of your life? First impressions are everything and social media has become the platform on which we initially judge others. Having a curated and attractive LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is essential in impressing future employers and is the standard these days.

However, I think our society has compromised this amazing technology to boost our egos. To validate our relationships – to make ourselves feel better than our peers. And trust me, the reason I can write that is because I’m no exception to putting my best foot forward on social media.

Getting those little red notifications causes dopamine to be released in our brain – providing us with a feeling equivalent to receiving a hug from someone. We are literally setting ourselves up to feel popular; by posting content we create the expectation that people will show interest in what we have to say and will respond through likes, shares and comments.

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We are the ones that have created a vicious cycle – we are the ones who go to the end of the Earth and back to maintain a consistent aesthetic – we are the ones who post pretty pictures when things are falling apart – we are the ones who interrupt some of the most meaningful experiences in our lives to post a Snap story.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Give yourself some breathing room. Your self-worth is not tied to your social media following, your clever Tweets or the number of likes on your latest Instagram. These things will fall away and will likely become irrelevant at a point in our lives. Be with the people you love – give them a hug instead of an empty interaction online.

Don’t trade love for temporary likes.

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