Sharing videos, photos, articles, memes, and other posts on social platforms have become a way of life for most of us.
However, pausing, thinking a little, and being strategic about why and how we post can have enormous benefits for both ourselves and our followers.
When we act from a place of awareness, we often discover more about ourselves.
Before you reach for Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, take a look at the psychological reasons you might be posting.
Many of us experienced a sense of extreme isolation during the lockdowns of Covid 19 in 2020 and 2021, especially if we lived alone or only with one or two others.
Social media was an important tool for most people during this time. Whether through instant messaging, video calls, commenting on posts, or posting videos on video-sharing apps, social media allowed us to connect with others.
The importance of this for our survival and well-being is a part of what makes us human. Similarly to many other animals, we thrive best in “packs”.
We feel the need to belong to a group, and also to receive a level of social acceptance.
This means we will always seek out others in one way or another – it’s simply how we’re built.
Along with habits like eating healthy food, exercising, and other ways to stay healthy while working from home, connecting with others is vital.
According to a recent study by the New York Times, 80% of people use social media because they want to nourish their relationships.
Three “feel-good” chemicals are released in our bodies when we engage with social media: Dopamine, Serotonin, and Oxycodone.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps us identify rewards, and move towards them. It also regulates our emotional responses.
Stimulated by small pieces of new information and unpredictability, it is inextricably linked to social media.
The urge to post or check social media is addictive through the attraction of dopamine, which has been shown to be stronger than alcohol or cigarettes.
Serotonin, also a neurotransmitter, maintains mood balance – those with too little serotonin usually develop depression.
Oxytocin, nicknamed “the love hormone”, plays a vital role in empathy, human bonding, and orgasm, and is released when we connect physically with others (during cuddling, sex, birth, and breastfeeding).
It makes people feel happy and comforted, dispelling feelings of sadness.
Identity is one of the ways we stay “emotionally alive”. This ties in with self-actualization, a more advanced part of our hierarchy of needs.
We want to be defined as people by our successes, and sharing these successes on social media – and then getting acknowledgment and praise for them through comments, likes, and other interactions – helps us feel emotionally secure.
This usually takes the form of sharing posts about a new job, starting a business, a new relationship, having completed some kind of degree or learning certificate, having produced a body of work (published a book, put out an album, etc) – and even acquiring objects.
Spreading An Agenda
Many people or groups use social media for very specific purposes. Politicians, religious groups, businesses, and big brands are the most common posters who engage for this reason.
This might be a Tik Tok link that encourages people to buy something; a Facebook post with a question in order to increase awareness and engagement for a company; or an Instagram reel that tugs at the viewer’s heartstrings, encouraging them to sign up for something.
To Do Good
When we help others, we feel good – it’s that simple. In fact, helping others has been shown to produce some of the feel-good chemicals we spoke about earlier.
Social platforms are amazing tools for altruism and the greater good. They allow charity organization’s to create awareness of important issues, spokespeople to share inspirational video messages, and so much more.
To Provide Entertainment To Others
At times, we simply want to share high-value or entertaining content with others, as we appreciate the excellence of whatever it is and feel others would enjoy it too.
Certain videos, articles, and posts are also useful – a new easy recipe for your friend’s favorite dish, a job post that a family member could apply to, or an article on flower care for your green-fingered partner.
Realizing that we may be sharing something because of a particular emotion we feel, or from a place of need for instant gratification or an ego boost, is the first step to becoming aware of ourselves and our online habits.
It’s important to figure out the reason for your share and make sure that it is indeed useful, inspiring, or entertaining so that you are helping others and upholding your online reputation.
The quality of your posts will also determine your followers and, potentially, your buyers.