Acceptance Validation and Appreciation – 3 Things We Seek on Social Media

ote: Dt 18 June 2016 – If you landed here via Huffington Post, then chances are you have already read this article. I suggest you follow the Life Updates category to browse all latest blog on this experimental series. Otherwise, generally feel free to browse my ten years of writing Category or Year wise available on the side bar. Thanks.

About 12 years ago, in the month of December 2004, I learned about something called Blogging from a Hindustan Times Brunch article. Within hours of reading the article I had my first blog, This Is My Truth on rediffblogs.com.

It changed my life. Change is a small world, it was a rebirth, I reinvented myself with blogging, I uncovered aspects of my life that I didn’t know exist and made me the person I am today.

Initial bloggers in India were either techies or journalists, naturally more males, among them I was this rare breed of female personal blogger writing about love, relationships, heartbreak, men and how I do not understand them, with a touch of politics.

My blog was an instant hit. Do you know how I know that it was an instant hit? I mean those days we didn’t have any feature to count page views, key words tracking and all, Google Analytics wasn’t launched until towards the end of year 2005. I knew my blog was hit because of the number of comments I received on my blog. Because a faceless audience out there communicated and told me they were reading my stuff.

Yet the innocent beauty in this was that I started writing without having any idea that it would be read and appreciated. I wrote because I had no one to talk to. I just wanted to share a lot of thoughts from my heart but I didn’t know whom to speak to.

Fellow bloggers from that era have all gone bigger, popular ‘er’, written books, became blog experts. I am still stuck at Facebook and Twitter seeking acceptance, validation and appreciation. The twisted story of my life is that I was always ahead of time with great talent but unable to sustain my enormity. Incredibly big opportunities knocked on my door, which I grabbed but  ultimately failed to make anything out of it. Anyway, that’s another story for another day. The point I am trying to make today is that Facebook and Social Media in general is making me miserable.

Something is very wrong with me. There was a time I didn’t have friends either in real life or virtual. Today I have over 1500 ‘friends’ on Facebook, 3000 followers on Twitter and yet I feel more lonely than ever. Because these people hardly communicate with me and when they do it’s never as per my expectations.

For eg on a certain day I posted two things on Facebook, 1) A very sad feeling of being heart broken and in need of a hug, 2) A stupid photo of me in a stupid hat. The Hat got over 30 Likes and zero words of comfort or virtual hug came my way in relation to the sad post. I was so frustrated I deleted the Hat.

People find it easier to cheer for pretentious happy updates and feel totally clueless about what to do with your misery. And that’s just so superficial it frustrates me. Because let’s be honest, the happiness and cheer leading both are farce.

Social media existential crisis

This is my existential crisis on social media today. What am I doing here, what others are doing, what kind of validation am I seeking and why, why is it important that people respond to my misery as much as they do to my happiness?

My best friend tells me some sharp words, “Nobody gives a rat’s ass about you on social media, whether you live or die. Everybody have a life to deal with. Yet here you are posting the most intimate details of your life, exhibiting your misery for an audience that just don’t care.”

She is right, and she is talking in general, not just about me. But the question then is ‘why are we sharing our happiness then?’ If nobody gives a rat’s ass about us, let’s close our Facebook accounts. Why the argument is not to share intimate details of your misery and failures but put up the happy face – the holiday pics and promotion at work?

A Social Media Experiment

As I said, existential crisis. Anyway, so I thought I am going to do something about it. I am going to be off social media in the sense that I would still share but won’t seek acceptance validation and appreciation. Meaning, I am going to use this blog as the medium to communicate, the same way it started, taking a step ahead I would share the links on social media but not check every now and then as to how many Likes and Retweets I got.

Here’s the plan:

  • Uninstall Facebook and Twitter from smart phone.
  • Write one blog post a day sharing all that came to your mind through that day, things you would have otherwise shared on FB or Twitter
  • Read news directly from news websites or find your social media memes directly from the website. (Actually cut down on social media memes they are plain stupid)
  • Write your report at end of experiment addressing the existential questions.

Let me do this for seven to ten days and document the challenges I face. There are obvious challenges, I am already aware of that. I am certainly not someone who dismisses the importance of social media in today’s world. For example I get business for my photography services from my Facebook page. But let me try.

The other thing to observe in this experiment is how many people communicate on this blog? You see blogs to be honest are dead. These are like graveyards you visit with flowers to talk to the soul departed. You sit here for a while, shed a few tears and then move on. For living people you go to Facebook and Twitter. Let’s see if anybody visit this grave.

I am also sharing this blog on Huffington Post India, not sure if they will publish it. I even desperately seek validation there. After every article I post on Huff Post, I visit the website to see how many Likes and Shares it received. This is just insane.

Ok over and out now.

Ps. If you are reading this on Huffington Post India, you might want to visit my personal blog, This Is My Truth, on which this experiment is taking place.

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