LIKES AND FOLLOWS AND COMMENTS, OH MY!

WHAT'S IN A METRIC THESE DAYS?






Being a human on The Internet can be tough. 

Everything we do online is measured. Our likes, follows, comments, clicks, views, unlikes, unfollows, spam views, and the list goes on. As a social media manager, blogger, and general human on the Internet, I've had to think a lot about these metrics. 

A typical brain gaggle of questions may look something like this: 

What is the best time to post? If I include a photo of a person will it get more likes than a graphic? If I ask a question will I get more comments? If I post before noon will I reach a different audience? How much does my blog post title reallllly matter? How come this picture got 113 likes? How come this picture only got 21 likes? 

I know some of you will relate to this thought process and I think that most of us have some version of these questions every now and then. We can't pretend like we truly don't care how much praise — or flack — we get on social media. It's psychological and it's finally being discussed in articles about mental health and how this new way of life is affecting us emotionally. 


I've worked in the mental health field for years and often think about how social media affects our mental health, self-identity, and ultimately our stress levels. In reading about why we're so addicted to social media and our phones, I learned that every time our phone buzzes with a text or new follow, the reward network in our brain is activated. The release of dopamine during online social networking makes it much harder for people to resist the activity.

Of course this article alone isn't enough for me to quit cold turkey and that certainly isn't the message of this post but I think it's important to be aware. When we're aware of something, it helps us make better decisions. When it comes to social media, I personally don't think quitting is the answer for me but rather finding a healthier balance.



As a blogger, I find myself feeling SoOoOO happy and over the moon when a post gets a lot of likes, shares, and ultimately, views. But when a post isn't doing well, I begin to spiral into negative thoughts like what's the point, nobody cares, you are worthless, why bother. This exact spiral happened after I published my last post. It was one where I opened up a lot. I took a lot of time writing and refining. I posted pictures that were very different from my typical ones and thought they'd generate interest. I thought the post was going to really resonate with people. 

And it did. But this didn't result in a lot of views. It actually has the lowest view count among my posts all year. I only know it resonated because of comments on my personal Facebook share of the post AND, get this — I got an "in-person" comment. Seriously. Someone came up to me and said "I read your last post and really liked it. It resonated with me and made me really think about some things. So thank you." 


And this got me thinking. WHAT really is in a social media metric? Am I placing too much value on the wrong metrics? Why should views be considered my gold standard of worth? Do in-person comments not count because they aren't Internet-tracked? 

I've had in-person comments before and they always made me feel really good. Way better than any like, follow or comment combined. Just like how talking to a friend in person is always better than texting. But you can read more about how to really be there for someone in my last post. Please click, it needs more views. ;)


As the world craves more transparency and true connections, I'm learning that what we truly like on social media is changing. It's not about standing out anymore. Quite frankly, nobody stands out anymore. And the ones who do are the ones who are simply honest. They're shameless. They're caring and kind. They write genuine comments. They share big pieces of their heart. And they offer in-person comments. The best kind. 

They say that to be successful, we must be happy first. Put the happy first and success will follow. Do what you love and the money will come, so to speak. My goal for this blog has and always will be to share, connect and resonate with people through being open with my experiences and feelings. In the new digital space where everything is becoming saturated, the new path to success is paved with honesty, kindness, and compassion. And I hope you'll join me on this yellow brick road. 

The most important thing for me to remember is that my number of "likes" shouldn't change how much I like myself. I'm learning to "like" myself more each day. And that, my friends, is priceless. 

PHOTOS BY LISA KIDD.


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