So now that I’ve got you thinking about your social media, have you been sure to post today?
If you have, how many times have you counted the number of likes you received?
And your friends? How long have you spent indulging in their lives today?
As you answer these questions, don’t get too caught up in their harsh connotation. The connotation is not there to harm you, but rather to kindly challenge you.
I say kindly because, well — I’m just like you. I’m human, and so I love people. And since I love people, I love their recognition. It feels incredible to have this attention, and attention is something to be cherished, right?
Well yes — and no.
In this post-digital era, there’s so much love to give and to see. We can comment heart eyes on our friends Instagram picture, we can share ideas on Facebook, and we can even monetize our trip to a coffee shop if we have enough followers in the right demographic.
We now have access to practically infinite amounts of attention and affirmation. We can see our friends posts and we can see theirs. But what’s new about this? There’s not much — we’ve always been able to see into the lives of our friends and others through connection and gossip.
The more interesting — and potentially more dangerous — part of our nearly-infinite access is the one way relationship. When we follow an influencer, brand, or someone we don’t know, we are doing giving them something that they can never return: our attention and affection.
Herein lies the problem: if we engage in one-way relationships, are we able to dopamine hits from the social media ecstasy machine?
The answer: we’re not. And it’s an unfortunate cycle.
There’s always someone out there getting more hits of the drug known as recognition. And, unlike how it used to be, we are always aware of it and we can always quantify it in the form of “engagement.” In these relationships, not only are we missing out on our own chance to reach a high, but we are watching numerous other people tasting the sweetness of a high we could never begin to imagine.
In this way, if you’re not getting your dopamine hits then the next logical question is: how can you?
You can’t. Or rather, you won’t. At least, you’ll never get them in the way you expect them. You’ll never reach the like to comment ratios of a revered influencer. Even if you do — there might always be another mountain to climb.
If there’s another mountain to climb. If there’s always more attention to seek, then how do you remain high on life?
It’s intuitively counter intuitive. Rather than climbing the mountain, just go ahead and get lost in the mountain’s forrest. Step off the path and into the trees; post what comes to mind and that way you never have to pay attention to the elevation your engagement brings you.
The dopamine hits we’re getting from technology and social media aren’t inherently bad, it’s the degree of satisfaction we expect them to give us that is the problem. If you want to stay high on life, you need to recognize that the experiences available to us are there for just that.
They’re meant to be experienced; they’re not meant for us to become them.