I write a lot about fashion here on CCF (fashion is in my name and it happens to be my game) but sometimes there’s some other relatable categories that strike my fancy and they’re not necessarily about the latest trend or red carpet event. And you know what? I want to talk about them! So if you’ve ever felt cool because that Instagram you posted got more likes than you anticipated, that’s a totally normal feeling…and you’re going to want to keep reading.
I read an article this morning on Elle about us being a generation who craves validation. Whether it’s an in-person compliment or an online “like,” it feels good to get that positive feedback, right? Some, though (in the Elle story, for example) take it really personally — like feeling you made the wrong outfit choice because nobody complimented you. Which can easily translate to social media — that post (regardless of what site it’s on) didn’t get as many likes/comments as you’d hoped…and if you’re really offended, you’ll just delete it. So the question is, how did we get to this point?
BLAME THE INTERNET. Of course. Whether it’s good or bad, we seem to blame the Internet/social media/technology for everything. And that’s because it’s usually the Internet’s fault. But considering I wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for the Internet, I kind of owe my life to the World Wide Web. So no complaints here. Now, let me tell you a little story of my journey with validation and social media attention…
If you’ve never read my about page, I’ll get you caught up (in summary). Before I had ChiCityFashion, I had a Twitter account where I stalked celebrities but never tweeted anything. Once I noticed the fashion presence, I wanted to see if I could contribute any unique information to the Twitterverse. I finally got up the courage to start tweeting myself (keep in mind, this was months later) and it felt really good when people would actually follow me. I wasn’t an editor, stylist or designer so the fact that people cared enough what I had to say to click that follow button felt great. Then once I made a blog (and finally admitted I had one three months later) and saw how to track traffic, that felt awesome too. This many people care what I have to say on Twitter and on my own website? I never knew I was even capable of that. So now that we have so many other social media outlets (AKA ways to get validated), there’s more opportunities to either feel really good about your content/yourself or become self-conscious about it.
When I first made an Instagram account (this is pretty embarrassing by the way) I had no idea you could follow people or “like” photos. I used it as an editing tool then I would upload the pictures to Twitter. Once more “regular people” stared using Instagram (at first, none of my friends were on it — only fashion folks), people would ask me why I had so many followers and followed no one. That’s when I found out you can follow people on Instagram (oops). In the mean time, I’ve been told I need to use more hashtags to get more likes/followers and I’ve seen what types of posts get the most activity (pretty much all these fashion girl cliches…which I am guilty of a few) but you either Instagram for you or Instagram for others…and with the amount of dog photos and other random shit I post, I just like to share things I think are cool/funny/pretty and if it gets 3 likes then so be it. I don’t need to #ootd everything, buy peonies or visit an In-N-Out Burger to feel validated. As long as you guys continue to read CCF and enjoy it, that’s all that matters to me.
So where does this leave us? It’s not a bad thing to want validation from social media (right now, it’s mostly Instagram) but is it really necessary? Will you really beat yourself up for not getting at least 11 likes meaning you no longer can see which specific users like your photo and you just see a number? (oh yeah, I know what’s up) We all know the types of photos that have the best engagement (flowers, arm parties, beach scenes, a design in your latte, etc.) so do you post those because you love those things or because you know you’ll get more likes? What are your feelings towards social validation?
In the words of Gretchen from Mean Girls, “I don’t want to be punished for being well-liked.”
Photos via Vogue & Instagram