Social Media and the Need for Validation

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, validation is defined as:

An act, process, or instance of validating; especially: the determination of the degree of validity of a measuring device

Yesterday I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts and they were discussing how Facebook is built upon the need for people to feel validated. Everybody posts statuses, photos, videos, etc. of their food, babies, marriage proposals, puppies, fashion, etc. just to get noticed and validation from their peers that their existence is purposeful. Don’t get me wrong, I am guilty as the next person when I post things on Facebook too.

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Social media in general is all about validation and feeling like we are accepted by our peers. Who has the most friends/followers? Who gets the most “likes” for a post? Heck, the whole “selfie” thing evolved from social media and the need for people to be validated. Personally, I’m not a fan of the “selfie.” Especially the ones of girls taking a “selfie” of themselves in their car. Really?! “Selfie” is not a real word; please remove it from the dictionary… thank you.

I read an article a long time ago about the different types of people on Facebook. If I could remember it I would share it, but I’d be lucky to remember my own name most days.  I do believe that social media, especially Facebook, is built on the premise that as humans we need validation and acceptance from our peers. We need to matter in life. You may read this and say “bullshit, I don’t need validation.” But, I would equally say “bullshit” and call you out on your lie.

I would say that my blog is all about validation. I want people (as in the 10 or so people who actually read this) to read my blog and be like “okay, this girl actually has a few brain cells and is interesting.” However, I would also say that I enjoy writing and I do it mostly for me. But, damnit, I do like checking my numbers too.

From a young age, most of us received validation from our parents. We pooped in the potty for the first time. Good boy, here’s a cookie. We survived our first day of school without biting our new friend. Good girl, here’s a new doll. We used the microwave for the first time and didn’t blow it up (side note: don’t put metal in the microwave… I learned that long ago). Good boy, here’s a sticker. We passed our drivers test without running grandma over as she crossed the street. Good girl, here’s your first car.

At some point in our lives our parents don’t give us all the validation that we need. Perhaps they start to lecture us on not doing drugs and doing well in school instead. As teenagers we begin to seek validation from our peers. Heaven forbid we wear the wrong shoes or clothing to school! Then we go to college where we learn that professors aren’t going to coddle you like your elementary or even high school teachers did. Oh, your dog ate your homework? Too bad, I’ll see you next semester when you retake my class.

Facebook is a way for many of us to seek validation from our peers. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I’ll be honest; I do think many people seek out too much validation on Facebook. I guess some people need to be told they are awesome every 5 seconds of the day. I’m just not one of them. I love seeing pictures of my friend’s animals and babies. Certainly they are all cute, but after 5000 pictures they all begin to look the same.

Now, you’re probably thinking maybe I’m just a jealous person. Perhaps. I would love to go on your European vacation with you! What I think it comes down to, is that I certainly want to feel accepted and validated by my peers as an awesome person, but I just don’t feel the need to throw it in people’s face every second of the day.

I enjoy sharing good things that happen to me or even crazy things that happen to me, like the time I almost ran into a donkey in the middle of the road on my bicycle. I also tend to say things I probably shouldn’t on my blog. I’m a very honest person and as a friend once told me, I have a “no bullshit” attitude. Often times it gets me in trouble. But, sometimes you have to be honest to get your point across.

Like now. I’m trying to be honest that I really can’t stand the people on Facebook that need validation for everything they do in life. I just want to be like “get over yourself.” But, everyone is different and has a different story. I made the choice to be on Facebook. I made the choice to write a blog. I know when you put your thoughts and feelings out on the interwebs, people will judge you – either you’re accepted or not.

Does this post really have a purpose? Probably not. I tend to ramble about a lot of things, this included. I do believe that validation is part of being human. No one wants to be unloved or forgotten. Even the most introverted people need some loving too. Perhaps we all need to step back once in a while and unplug. Do we really need to post that we’re awesome and have such an amazing and awesome life every single day on social media. No one is perfect and certainly no one has a perfect life. I read a lot of blogs and there are a few out there that I enjoy reading, but I suspect that half of it is probably BS. They never talk about the bad stuff, like the dog shitting in the house for the umpth time or the fact that their car’s transmission died on the way to work. I suppose that people don’t want to read the bad stuff…

So, now that I rambled on and on about nothing… my take home message: let’s keep it real people.

So what are your thoughts on the subject? Am I just crazy?

~ Happy Training!  

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