As a writer who is constantly attempting to access a space in my mind which is undefinable (at least by me), and then constantly challenging myself to put those thoughts together into something worth reading, I find myself fascinated by some of the most popular social media posts. And by “fascinated” I mean confused and mildly annoyed. Before you dive deeper into this post, I’d like to clarify – it wasn’t my intention to draft a post with such contention. This is simply a window into my thoughts associated with an observation.
Allow me to explain. Over the years, especially when social media was in its infancy, a slew of posts that said “Like/Share if you’re a parent of an amazing kid,” or, “Like/Share if you love your dog,” etc. popped up and it was moderately fun to make such a public display of affection for your people and your friends. In the beginning, as the world opened up to literally everyone, proclamations like this helped people create their social identity, giving new “friends” and old high school classmates a window into their personalities and their world…loosely. Yet this morning, as I checked my Instagram, a hashtag thread pop up and the picture was lovely – the sun setting somewhere beyond the ocean – but the caption was lackluster at best. It simply read “Drop a *heart* if you love your mom.” I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority of the world loves their mother…save a percentage who had troubled childhoods. Interestingly enough, people did it…more than 3400 people “dropped a heart,” to be precise.
This diverted my attention away from my current biblical research for an upcoming short story and set the stage for me to start thinking about why such a simple post would garner such affection from the masses. My Top 4 thoughts are as follows:
- It makes people feel good to click that heart, confirming to themselves that they do, in fact, love their own mothers.
- It makes people feel good to show others that they love their mothers.
- The people posting these images want to inspire people to feel good in the moment.*
- It makes the people drafting these types of posts gain awareness for their pages/brands with the hopes that a small percentage of their “likes” will look at their page and they will gain a follower/customer.**
*I find this motivation less likely…not to say that I’m a pessimist, I prefer “realist.”
In the world of marketing, this is a numbers game, and these people are playing the odds which will (hopefully) launch them into the superstardom realm of “Influencer” so they can monetize their accounts. DISCLAIMER: I get it. Good for them…I hope they’re successful. However, I can’t help but think about the level of pandering these types of posts exhibit. They create a simple statement which 99% of people can identify and inflate their chances. Again, I get it…but as humans, we’re capable of so much more. *Keep reading*
What concerns me about this level of “pandering proclamation” is the lack of thought they are asking of their viewers, contributing to the mindless scrolling and button tapping which is already at an all time high. It’s weird to me, and I am not so old as to not appreciate the influence “communication through technology” has on societies. What irritates me is that these types of posts don’t actually offer anything to society, they don’t give enough credit to the reader as to encourage any level of inspiration…and the only “call to action” is pushing a button. Do the creators of these posts think so little of social media users that they feel they aren’t worth the effort of a good, thought provoking post? From this perspective, they don’t encourage critical thinking, and literally offer nothing to the betterment of…oh…anything.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand “keeping things simple,” but I infinitely prefer that people dive into their minds a bit, generate something compelling, put it out for the world to see and then say “Drop a *heart* if you understand/feel this/get it…or whatever slang identifies most with their target audience,” or maybe even ask for feedback, a comment…something.
Despite my perspective on the subject of mediocre social media posts, I hope that the post which I’m referencing inspired some people to pick up the phone and call their mothers or put out a little good energy to the moms who have passed away.