Interesting question, but hey, it’s kind of right there in the term. Social. It is about people interacting with each other either personally or professionally. In today’s world social media is the main platform or tool to allow this personal interpersonal contact to happen and happen quickly and easily, but the phenomenon of a human desire for social and business interaction is as old as time. It is the fact that it happens digitally that is new!
The need and appeal for it was never in doubt, but the ability to do so was not there, but the moment it was possible, people started posting and showing off almost immediately and ever since it has kept evolving at a fantastic rate! This rate of explosive use shows it is not revolutionary, it is simply existing desire already rooted within us, exploiting new technology.
Let’s look at the near past, the moment cameras became standard on phones we found ways to take selfies, post random landscape shots or catch snippets and bits of our lives as they were happening. There were cameras available well before, but it took a special effort to take the photos and no-one wanted to be caught walking around with a great big camera around their neck little an errant birdwatcher or cliché tourist!
There is also the aspect that, ultimately, people mostly post their lives on social media because they have a feeling they may be missing something in the real life and hope that by sharing their life on social media it will somehow fill that void in their real life. There are others who are convinced they have something worthwhile to offer people, and therefore their desire is to reach as many people as possible with that information makes social media a great platform for them.
What else? Well intriguingly enough, sharing on social media may not always diminish the importance or the worthwhileness of what is actually being shared. Simply sharing something is not really a reliable indicator of one’s desire to gain viewership, since they may just be composing a scene or narrative.
Social media is flooded with details of every sort like hotel check-ins, movies, parties, pre-wedding shoots, engagement or wedding ceremony, travelling, new job, maternity shoot, Valentines day promotions – the list goes on. Interestingly it has now reached the point where it could be argued that many items are posted more for the sake of the Facebook profile itself rather than for the promotion of the actual event, activity etc. it refers to.
Another unforeseen consequence of social media is that it can be argued it has spoilt the now. Why? Because as social media has developed there is a tendency to measure personal social media success by how many pictures you post, causing us to forget to enjoy the moment we are in! We are so obsessed about bragging online with our travel, fine dining or night out photos, that we spend all our time obtaining the images rather than enjoying our holidays, appreciating the taste of our now cold food or having fun in the bar or nightclub we were in. This is also unfortunately exacerbated by others becoming prone to judging other people’s lives based on their profile pictures and what they do or don’t post.
To sum up, it is easier to appear happy on social media rather than real life. Showing that you are happy, leading a fun, dynamic and fulfilling life has never been easier. That is why showing off on social media is omnipresent with more and more people around the world.