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Naturi Naughton on Being 'Instagram Famous': Why Do We Care So Much?

Social media has the power to thrust us into this danger zone and exacerbate our insecurities. Why are we so concerned with other people’s opinions of us? 

We all want to be liked, right?

I believe there’s an instinctual human desire to be loved and accepted. This isn’t a bad thing; however, it can become dangerous when this desire dictates our happiness or the way we live our lives.  Social media has the power to thrust us into this danger zone and exacerbate our insecurities. Why are we so concerned with other people’s opinions of us? I am a victim myself.

Growing up, I always made an effort to ensure that everyone in a room liked me. I wanted to be the most talkative, funny, animated and energetic person so that I’d be crowned the life of the party.  Some of these characteristics came natural to me (I became a singer and an actress for heaven’s sake)… but maybe there were times I used these characteristics as tools to be celebrated and validated. Even with all the reinforcement and support I received at home and in school, I bruised easily if someone misunderstood me. It was even more criminal if someone didn’t like me! Naturally, most adolescents struggle with insecurity, but I can’t imagine if I grew up with social media. Any complications I had with self-confidence or self-worth could’ve surely been intensified.  

Please don’t misunderstand; I am not against social media. I actively use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and I enjoy connecting with my friends and fans through these platforms. Social media has definitely helped me stay informed and keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening all over the world. It helps many stay connected, use their voices for social issues, or bring about significant change. Social media has undeniable advantages but there are attributes within the platforms that taint the positives.

I’m concerned that some people are using social media recklessly, irresponsibly and obsessively; feeding their arrogance, cowardly criticizing others, and projecting falsehoods. From my observation, many people are fighting to be seen and heard and are doing whatever it takes to gain popularity. Remember the influx of “butt selfies”?

Many adolescents and young adults fall prey to the images they see on social media and in turn emulate them. Once again, our need to be liked resurfaces; yearning to be accepted physically and boosted emotionally. Many want to be “Instagram Famous”. I use the term “Instagram Famous” simply for emphasis because Instagram is a fairly new and popular platform where we can share pictures endlessly. Of course this isn’t exclusive to Instagram. I would add that some are “Facebook Faking” or “Twitter Tripping.”

Essentially, it’s not always real! Did we really buy something from Saks Fifth Avenue just because we took a picture by the store window and posted it? Are we actually in VIP of the club when we post a picture with the hashtag “popping bottles in VIP”? I wonder if we are trying to prove how happy life is, how connected we are or how successful we’ve been. Why not just be happy, value your connections and enjoy your success, without obsessing over how many people know about it?  Waiting for the “likes” to add up might hold you hostage, hindering you from actually living your life!

Unequivocally, modern society is social media crazy! Words like status, timelines, posts and newsfeeds are tossed around daily. These terms alter our views of the world and how we see ourselves. Some changes are for good and some are not as positive. More and more people, including businesses equate one’s value to their social media following. The more followers we have and the more “likes” we acquire, compel us to think: “now people like me”, “I’m accepted”, “I’m valuable” or “I’m special.” Ironically, these platforms seem to be deflating our self-confidence while simultaneously inflating our egos. Maybe you don’t need everyone’s approval as much as you think. Your daily upload doesn’t make your life any more valuable.

The truth is, you are already special and your life is priceless before you click “share”. Live your life now and worry about your timeline later!

Read more of Naturi’s thoughts here and here.