Social validation

Belief in yourself is more important than endless worries of what others think of you. Value yourself and others will value you. Validation is best that comes from within. – Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Dreams in a Time of War

Social validation is more connected to the influence of other people that lead us to conform to be liked and accepted by them.

Do we shop/ eat/ behave/ dress/ travel/ study/work/talk/etc for our satisfaction and happiness or to appease people around us? It reminds me of a saying, we buy the things that we do not want, to impress the people whom we do not like, with the money we do not have (credit card).

The need for social validation has been existing for a long time. However, it is becoming more prominent as our ways of communication have changed. Earlier social influence was limited to immediate neighborhood, family, and friends who were seen regularly.

With the evolution of mass communication and social media, there is a constant pressure on people to excel in whatever they do and to get social acceptance. Many are often extremely concerned with attention and social validation. So they are likely to be less interested in the actual content itself, and more interested in having an audience and how the audience receives and responds to the information. At times, important things in life would get compromised if it is not getting enough recognition from the society around us.

If you buy something, you may look for compliments or likes on social media for your posts. If you are visiting a location, you may expect that the photo oozes the happiness you have experienced in that place and makes the onlooker feel missed out something. Just after posting a photo, you may start counting the number of likes for it. Some people may even decide the success of the trip, based on the likes and comments they received.

Looking good to get awesome photos of the vacation or the event could get priority over the experience itself. Could you focus on the present without thinking about the future stories which you want to post about it? Does your experience depend on what others say/comment on your trip locations, the clothes you wore during vacation?

Maybe I am from the old school of thoughts, but I feel either during vacation, stay-cation or partying, enjoying the moments and being with the people around should be focused more than taking pictures to post it on social media.

Recently I have been to a standing concert with my friends. We were keen to see the singer, listen and dance to live music. I was surprised to see most of the people near the stage were holding their smartphones up in their hands and watching the singer through the small phone screen! While standing in front of the singer, hardly they could keep their eyes on the stage. Most of them were engaged in recording the event with their mobile (for future joy), streaming it on social media (to tell the world that they are in that concert), video call with someone and showing them the singer live on stage.

To have a look at the performers, we had to peep through the heads of tall people and the mobile phones that were working overdrive with video calls, streaming, and recording

The mobile/camera that could record present moments to create memories has become a tool to loose our present moment for creating memories for the future?

Maybe it is high time for each of us to check the way we are using the gadgets/tools/social media platforms. Are they helping us in connecting and sharing? Or making us lose peace of mind and try to live up to someone else’s exceptions? Each of us would have different answers. Think and take action!

—Anitha KC

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