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Busola Abayomi-Adebayo: The Vanity of Social Media Validation

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I posted a picture on Instagram recently. I had just had my (Christmas) hair done, visited my friend who is a MUA and who was gracious enough to apply quite a not few brushes and colours on my face. The end result was totally on fleek, if I may say so myself. I felt good and I knew I looked good. However, two hours after I posted, I barely got 2 comments and three likes. I initially felt it was a problem with my internet connection and had to refresh and even reset my phone but still there was no difference. The high I started that day with, slowly deflated until I went to bed feeling quite low and sadly, unloved.

Okay, this was actually fictional, I haven’t made my Christmas hair, the last time I had my face dolled up by a MUA was on my wedding day and I am not even on Instagram. However, the need and longing for validation from friend and foe alike on social media is anything but fictitious.

The advent of social media has introduced a whole range of emotions that were previously either in hiding or non-existent in a lot of people. The more friends, shares, comments, favourites, views and likes we are able to garner, the happier we are. These have become the tests of popularity and how loved people feel they are. There is a sweet sense of joy that accompanies any click on our posts and pictures.

Of course, there are benefits to these. Social media has opened up a hitherto exclusive vista which used to be strictly occupied by celebrities. The celebrity was either an actor, a singer, a sports person, a TV personality or had some other tangible and recognisable skill.

However, with social media, any person who simply loves to write, sing, act or take pretty pictures can become a celebrity. Social media has made it easier to share previously hidden or unknown talents with the world. Justin Bieber is a huge star today because he shared videos of himself singing via YouTube which eventually went viral. Examples abound of other people who were able to effectively harness the likes, views and shares for monetary and similar gains.

While it is lovely to get the right kind of positive attention to content we post online, it becomes a problem when we tie our happiness or worse still, wellbeing to the said attention. Conversely, a lack of response to stuff posted could lead to feelings of depression and unhappiness. Unfortunately, (though not limited to) teens and young people tend to react more negatively to unfavourable social media feedback which might then precede despair, bullying or even suicide. As parents and guardians, we need to constantly validate and encourage our wards to believe in themselves and work at achieving their highest potentials. This can only be possible when we, ourselves, foster an environment of (affirmative) self-love and continuous reassurance of our own awesomeness devoid of dependence on public corroboration.

Social media is amazing but it could also be overwhelming and possibly damaging if not properly handled. A large part of social media is also anonymous, so reactions and feedback might not be a true reflection of opinions on the subject-matter. People can hide under the cover of anonymity to spew just about anything on anything. Those are not the opinions that should intensely affect your feelings or happiness. Just determine to be free of negativity whether on line or in real-time and become the greatest, YOU!

Photo Credit: Aspenphoto | Dreamstime.com

Busola Abayomi-Adebayo is a lawyer, public servant and occasional writer. she's passionate about information and just about anything newsworthy. Follow her on twitter @busolaidowu'

21 Comments

  1. Bellanaijarian

    December 28, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    This article is hillarous,edifying,dennotative& connotative..The best of us,is yet to come..
    #Self made#
    #innovative#
    #positivity minded#
    God bless our hopes.

    • Busola AA

      December 28, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      Awwww….all these compliments??? My head is swelling (Christmas swell) ☺☺☺ #thankyou

  2. Henry

    December 28, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    The key is moderation. Many are addicted, especially millennials. The use of social media releases dopamine in the body, a compound associated with drugs, cigarettes etc. The fact is at some stage in our development, we only need our parent’s acknowledgement, but as we develop we them require that of our peers. But, in present society these peers are on social media. Therefore, if a teen gets no like, he or she considers himself unloved, or worse unlovable.
    Depression is at its highest.
    People are dependent on their phone for everything – love, company, social life.
    And more often, there’s no real or concrete relationship.
    Social media is good, but the key is moderation.

    • Busola AA

      December 28, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Hmmmm, this is another angle and makes so much sense. We move from parents to peers. I guess the danger is allowing all that validation define us.

    • Noni

      December 29, 2016 at 6:55 am

      Lol. I know the video you took this your theory from. Anyways, still valid points.

    • xtsy

      December 29, 2016 at 7:51 am

      pls tell us the name, Hoping its PG or G

    • Busola AA

      December 29, 2016 at 8:06 am

      Really? There’s a video? Don’t think I’ve seen it though. But please share title.

    • Henry

      December 29, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      Yes Noni. My comment is basically a commentary on Simon Sinek’s theory on “the millennial paradox”. Great Piece.

    • TeeS

      December 29, 2016 at 10:15 am

      Why y’all gotta blame the millenials for everything tho? Ahn ahn . Some of us aren’t half bad?

  3. nene

    December 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    social media has everything.. choose what you want to see. some people use it to make others laugh, some use it to show off, some use it as a form of validation.

    • Busola AA

      December 28, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      True Nene….just choose your own use for it

  4. Aya'ba

    December 28, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    So apt a write up

    • Busola AA

      December 29, 2016 at 8:04 am

      Thanks Aya’ba!

  5. bokun

    December 28, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Gosh i have a friend on facebook who will always post silly pouty pics on her wall and expect everyone in her contact to issue praises ?and when you dont she starts putting up useless shady quotes on how she has enemies monitoiring her on facebook?. Sometimes i just want to drop a comment on the fact that its NOT THAT DEEP. JEEZ. People just out of praise words.

    • Spunky

      December 28, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      Lol! Who really has time to monitor pouty pics when a bag of rice still sells for 22k?

    • Busola AA

      December 28, 2016 at 9:05 pm

      Hehehe I know people like that. And its really not that deep☺

    • newbie

      December 28, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Lol for real! People can actually run out of praise words abeg. This article is spot on.

    • Tobi

      December 28, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      Loool @ bokun I know right ! we all got that one , needy for attention face book friend. Yeah the one with all the philosophical quotes aimed at jealous, wicked bystanders who just refuse to acknowledge and ?? true beauty looool.

  6. nikelowise

    December 29, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Enjoyed it,Busola.Social media is the virtual mirror before who. we flaunt part of ourselves that might not necessarily reflect the true us.It allows us display our narcissistic tendencies when indeed the only validation we need is from ourselves.

    • Busola AA

      December 29, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Thanks Nikelowise. Well said!

  7. Marian

    December 29, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Haha, This took me back to 10yrs ago when i first jouned facebook and my whole world revolved around comments. I’m pretty sure i’ve been sad at least once when a picture didn’t get the number of comments i thought it deserved ? in my defense i was 17 and back then facebook was everything to a college student.

    Thank God for growth sha. If you are still living for the likes, a new year is coming o, change your way, unless more likes means more money then you better do you boo! Get that money!

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