How Social Media Hardwired My Need for External Validation | The Digital Native

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter capitalize on our desire to be seen.

Header with title
Google Buzz logo
Dear Google Buzz, we miss you. Love, late 1990s kids

“Our actions and words only have value when they’re approved by others.”

To this day, I still feel a twinge of guilt when I don’t react to people’s birthday posts.

Facebook’s emoji reacts: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry
Facebook’s updated list of reactions
Typical YouTube video display, including view count and like to dislike ratio
Typical YouTube video display, including view count and like to dislike ratio
Check out the like to dislike ratio on this one
Comment thread of people thanking others for liking their comments, telling people they will become millionaires if they like their comments, etc
Comment thread of people thanking others for liking their comments, telling people they will become millionaires if they like their comments, etc
Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen comment threads like this

“I’ve been crowding my brain with other people’s thoughts not for hours, not for days, but for years.

That’s not to say that nothing good has come out of my upbringing. Discourse on social media can be messy, but it can also be beautiful. Listening to others unlike myself taught me empathy, and to turn a critical lens on the beliefs that I grew up with. I imagine I’d be a much more judgmental, self-important person if I hadn’t grown up surfing the web.

Now for some internet optimism

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