Why ‘Likes’ on Social Media Aren’t Actually Harming the Millennial Generation
Human beings are curious creatures who seek validation and acceptance. I don’t care who you are, everyone either throughout their entire life or during certain stages seek attention for their achievements and goals. Which is the main reason why I don’t understand why a lot of media publishers and groups of people, feel the need to rain on peoples parades… whether its because they’re hoping for x amount of likes on an Instagram photo, a tweet or an article.
Branded the millennial generation, we have grown up around advanced technology and apps that fuel posting, sharing and responding through likes, shares and retweets. A percentage of us, including myself, remember the days before every owned a mobile phone or laptop but the same level of validation was still yearned for by others in that decade. Social media has just made this need more visually public with quicker responses, in turn resulting in more and more people (not exclusively young adults) crave instant gratification in their daily lives. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing though, you can 100% look at it and poke holes which I will get on to eventually, but of course you will find faults if that is your approach. I like to use personal experiences when writing these articles, not all the time but if I can support a point through it then I will. I will put my hand up and admit that I’ll take care in getting the right angle for a photo, edit and add effects until I’m pleased then post it on Instagram with a snappy caption, emojis and numerous hash tags. Why? Because I like not only capturing my life is what I consider beautiful pictures, but I also like others approval of whatever is in the photo. Is that such a bad thing? I don’t think so.
One person who is heavily criticised in popular culture right now is Kylie Jenner. Being 19 years old she is included in the millennial generation and not only that, her presence on social media also reaffirms this. I can understand why people get frustrated when certain individuals become famous and there really isn’t a reason why. Of course Kylie is known because of her famous Kardashian family, who have created an empire which is worth so much money that you probably couldn’t even comprehend. But, Kylie is extremely smart regardless of what you think. With her millions of fans and followers, mainly on Snapchat Kylie has been able to launch a makeup and clothing line within a couple of years which is insanely successful. And this is because he has noticed the market which appeals to young women right now which is matt lips, shimmers and emphasising an hourglass shape. Whether or not you think this is a positive thing to highlight as an aspiration for millions of people, is a whole other story but the truth of the fact is that Kylie is bloody clever at following suit with trends. To the point of her being associated with the dog filter on Snapchat, which of course wasn’t her creation or idea and yet both parties with benefit from the association of each other.
If I could could launch a business of the back of the fact my family is known globally, with my main promotion being through huge social media platforms such as Snapchat then I’d jump on it faster than a flea on a dog. This success not only fuelled by social media, is also spearhead from her likes on Instagram. People will think and/or hope that buying these products specifically designed by Kylie, will make them look like her and in turn generate more likes on Instagram. There is a fine line between this and actual reality. Nobody will ever look like Kylie Jenner, but if using her lip products can boost your ego because you manage to get a few extra likes on Insta, then I don’t see the big problem to be honest.
The fact that some people now are referred to being ‘Instagram famous’ just proved that there is a market in millennials liking photos. I think a lot of people have negative opinions on this purely because they don’t understand how it works (much like those who don’t get Youtube creators) and are set in their ways, so to speak. The internet is so expansive in 2017 that if you closed down one social media platform, for example Instagram because of its huge influence on millennial behaviours (bare in mind that is the reason why Insta exists in the first place) then something else will come along and take champion. Once a platform allows this interaction to become popular amongst a certain type of people, then it is near enough impossible to shut it down, until something comes along which makes the current system more amplified and instant.
Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone.
There will be a large selection of millennials and other ‘generations’ who aren’t exactly fussed about how many shared their Facebook post got on some artwork they did or how many retweets they got on a post about their new job promotion. But all in all, we can agree that the vast majority do follow suit with this and making it appear to be something that we should be ashamed or looked down on for, will only fuel the fire for it to continue. We all know telling someone to not do something only pushed them in the opposite direction, which rings painfully true for young people and social media.
As long as you are not harming yourself or others etc in the name of a ‘like’ then I really don't see the point in numerous articles, arguing and trying to create some moral panic out of essentially a generation who wants to be appreciated for trying to look good, be successful and overall appeal to be the best version of themselves.