Our relationship with social media can be very complicated and confusing at times. Few people can clearly answer questions about why they post anything and why they view other people’s posts. But there is not a person who is not happy to get a “Like” from Facebook, Instagram or TikTok.
Social networks have long been an integral part of everyday life, and their importance can hardly be overestimated. It is in social networks that people learn news, view information about events, make acquaintances, and socialize. Modern psychology explains this phenomenon by the fact that social networks are convenient and have no boundaries. Indeed, where else but in social networks, you can meet and make friends with people who live on the other side of the world? Thanks to automatic translation there is no language barrier, which makes communication even freer.
What’s good and bad about social media likes?
For most people around the world, likes have long been much more than just marks approving a publication. Moreover, psychology has a special term, the “dopamine effect. This is the specifics of the reactions caused by receiving likes or, on the contrary, by their absence.
Surprisingly, psychologists have noticed another peculiarity of this communication tool – likes can be the cause of real personal drama. People attach great importance to them, and often a “like” is not an expression of support for a post, but a way to show your sympathy for the author of the post.
Why does this happen?
At first glance, if you “like” a post, it means that you are interested in the content of the post, you appreciate its design. But is this really so?
Most users of social networks like a post only after a cursory glance at it or without even getting into its content. They even look at photos very rarely. In other words, many social network users give the “like” marks not to the posts at all, but to their authors.
So why does this happen? Psychologists claim that likes are nowadays a way of expressing your sympathy for a particular person. In addition, the “like” marks are a way to draw attention to themselves, serve as a reason to get acquainted. And, of course, a simple “like” may well be the beginning of the resumption of an old relationship that has long since come to naught.
What do experts say?
Ciaran McMahon, a psychologist who specializes in the influence of social networks on the emotional state, believes that it is the likes and their number that are important for each person.
The psychologist also emphasizes that social media platforms have greatly reduced the amount of effort required to maintain fraying social ties. Thanks to them, with the click of a mouse, you can stay in touch with people without having to bother with meetings, visits, calls, letters or greeting cards.
And, of course, sometimes you just need to remind yourself, show support, show sympathy or show sympathy. And, of course, the easiest way to do this is to put a “like” mark. Precisely because people use likes to express personal attitudes and as a way to support social connections, managers of social media platforms are constantly expanding the list of reactions to posts available to users.
Do comments have a different effect than likes?
Of course, everyone who uses social networks does not only like them. Everyone has at least once commented or sent a message. And, of course, the difference between likes and comments is clear to everyone, but what do experts think about it?
Ciaran McMahon, a psychologist, believes that the difference between a like and a text message is that the former is something that is contentless. It is up to the user to interpret what exactly a like might express: sympathy, support, a compliment or praise for the content of the publication. It is this second-guessing that leads to the fact that people begin to need the likes and pay attention to their number.
Text messages have much less room for guesswork, but users have to put more effort into composing them. For this reason, many people often limit themselves to just stating their likes.
Psychologist Ciaran McMahon advises those who are trying to start a relationship or rekindle an old friendship to start with the likes. But then be sure to continue by sending a private message, in which you should clearly and concisely state your intentions.