We all like to share our special moments on social media. We even like to have a good old moan or state our political position. But the lines seem to become blurred when others try to manipulate an emotion, reaction or response, through guilt.
There are the photoshop’d images of a girl in her prom dress, missing a leg, with the caption, “I have no leg; if you have a soul, you’ll ‘like’ and share me” or something along those lines of evoking guilt and pity. Then you have the people that need to complain about everything or your bog standard, selfie-freak. Those are the people that constantly post pictures of themselves and addicted to the number of likes or shares they get per pic. All of it can be exhausting and frustrating.
While I understand branding and exposure practices for marketing, I lost comprehension of the fact that people have lost their sensitivity to others. I understand that social media is a great way to get exposure and in some cases, sponsorship or sales. All of which is fine, but there are human beings behind all those, likes, shares and follows. When did people become a number and stop being human? When you start attempting to manipulate people using guilting techniques, you’ve lost the ability to reach people on a, realistic, human level. And waste valuable time stressing about numbers, as opposed to connecting with people.
I have been someone who gets emotional on social media and want you to learn from my mistakes. A few things to watch out for and how to avoid falling into the guilt traps your ‘friends’ need to set.
1. Someone posts ‘Having a friend list clear out. If you still want to be my friend, hit like and comment you still want to be my friend”. Ok, the latter part is the extreme example, but nonetheless, I’ve seen those posts. This is a friend that should be allowed to unfiriend you, unless you’re needy and will miss that person terribly, in your virtual reality. Double check your own character flaws before you respond to that post.
2. Going through your newsfeed and you see a friend has posted an extremely vague comment, such as; “Today is the worst day of my life!” It’s very worrisome and attention seeking at the same time. That person needs a rediculous amount of attention and pity. There again, the best thing to do, is simply nothing. If they need you specifically, then it’s absolutely acceptable to wait for them to send you a private message, text or shocking as it may sound, a phone call.
3. Posting all your daily and life’s drama’s or over stating your real life by bigging yourself up is another form of attention seeking and very unhealthy. It’s even more unhealthy to believe everything you see, simply because a ‘friend’ posted it to their page. Be careful and supportive but don’t fall victim to unloading on Facebook. In this case, less is much better. If you feel you need to post something, find a funny animal meme. It curbs your ‘posting’ craving and eliminates any emotional and unnecessary posts that could create a ‘crying wolf’ scenario or future embarrassment.
4. And my favourite, those who expect you to react to their posts but never engage with you on yours. There is an exception to this when you are a fan on an artist’s or other famous person’s page.
The moment someone makes you feel bad from their post is the moment you need to question their motives and your own emotional strength. When people post something on their page, it’s usually simply a moment in their lives that they want to share with their virtual friends. But in many cases it’s for attention they aren’t getting in their actual life. It’s not your job to make them feel needed in such a public way through comments or likes. If someone truly needs your help or attention, they’ll do the old fashioned thing by contacting you directly and privately. Otherwise it’s just attention seeking and not worth your energy or time. Spend your ‘likes’ and shares on people that you want to support. And by all means, don’t be manipulated to react to anything on social media. Emotional upset exhausts and prematurely ages you. And take your social media breaks. Your overall health depends on it.