Loneliness as a Result of Social Media Exploiting Your Need of Validation

Truth is often paradoxical, as G.K. Chesterton used to say. Isn’t is hard to believe that the problem of loneliness is actually rooted in too much interaction? But this is what Sean Parker’s uncanny insight seems to suggest. Sean Parker is the founding president of Facebook. He explained in an interview why it’s so hard to resist the impulse to constantly check your social media – even while you are driving. He shared how social media hook you up. “When Facebook was getting going, I had these people who would come up to me and they would say, ‘I’m not on social media.’ And I would say, ‘OK. You know, you will be.’” Now that this prediction is more than fulfilled, the question is even more intriguing. How did they do it?

Sean explains that the founders used basic human psychology – our need for approval. Social media are nothing but a social validation feedback loop. It works like this: The moment you contribute some content and it is liked, shared or commented on, you get a little dopamine hit. This leads you to contribute more content, which, in turn, gives you another hit. You want more likes and comments. We all like to be liked (who knew?) – and social media seem to provide that.

This truth is hard to swallow: Social media work because we all want to be liked. We feel lonely, cut off, isolated, and want to get rid of this feeling at all costs. But does this kind of “interaction” actually help us to solve the problem of loneliness? Far from it. Of course, it will temporarily give us the “high”. It will, like a shot of whisky, medicate the distressing feeling of loneliness for some time. But when its tranquilizing effects wear off, we feel even emptier than before, craving for more validation – more likes, more comments, more shares. Our inner void becomes a gaping hole, an insatiable monster on the inside which grows ever hungrier with every attempt to feed it. Continue reading “Loneliness as a Result of Social Media Exploiting Your Need of Validation”