Social commentary and think pieces

26 January 2019

Is what we're sharing online just a never ending search for validation?

Scrolling through my Instagram feed I'm met with outfit photo after outfit photo, chai latte after chai latte and quite frankly, I'm bored...

You see, lately I've become aware of just how much people are actually sharing online. That constant need to update their profile’s on what they're doing, where they are, who they're with. The list goes on and on and on.
Being someone who, by todays standards, is anti-social (I can't remember the last time I opened Instagram just to post what I was doing on my story) the whole culture of sharing, or over-sharing on social media is something I find quite difficult to wrap my head around.


Saying this, I am conscious that I'm sounding like a bit of a dick. Of course I'm guilty of sharing a couple of slightly narcissistic selfies on social media, but the question that's been playing on my mind recently is why we share what we do?

After a lot of thought, I've come to the conclusion that over-sharing on Instagram is more than just a habit, rather a subconscious search for validation. Maybe we post our selfie’s when we feel like shit because we know that the likes and flattering comments will make us feel better. Maybe we post photos of our avocado toast (I know, so millennial) because we desperately want to seem like we've got our shit together, when really its been a long day and all you want is to curl up on the sofa with a dominos takeaway. Maybe we over-share because we just want the validation. And the more we share the more validation we get. But, my theory is that at some point we start depending on the validation of our followers in order to feel ‘worthy’.

That reassurance of our own personal worth, or validation as I've been referring to it, is exactly what we get. Our followers shower each and every one of our photos in compliments, and we do the same back to them. Over and over.


We comment and tell them just how great their life is looking.
In reality, I don't give a flying fuck about what Sally in Sussex is having for dinner. But still, I proceed to tell her just how delicious her sushi looks. Why? Truth be told, I don't know.
Maybe its out of habit? That's the etiquette on Instagram? Or maybe I just want to affiliate myself with that persons sugar-coated, seemingly perfect lifestyle?

I know, suggesting that I want to affiliate myself with someone else's 'perfect' life not only makes me sound delusional (we all know Instagram is a highlights reel when we think about it), but also incredibly insecure. However, I know I'm not alone in this. I know I'm not the only one who comments any old bollocks on strangers posts just to be nice. But, I'm also not suggesting that the 1 billion people using Instagram are all insecure losers, constantly updating their profiles in a never ending search for more and more validation.




So, what does make us share so much online? And what is it that makes us feel a pressure to reassure fellow Instagram users that 'yeah, you're doing okay'? Like I've said, I don't know. I don't know why I do it, let alone why every other person does it. But, I do know that its not necessarily the most productive way to spend my time online. So think about it, whilst you're updating your story. Why are you sharing it? Is it for validation?
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26 comments

  1. I couldn't agree more. I hardly use my personal Instagram profile and have like 8 photos on there (since I opened it years and years ago). I ended up blocking some people oversharing their daily train delays commentary or what cereal they had for breakfast, every single day. It's different when comes to business profiles as it is all about building brand so sharing is everything.

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  2. Girl such an interesting topic.. loved your thoughts on this!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

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  3. Ohh I loved reading this! It definitely got me thinking. I think I tend to share things because I enjoy watching other people's stories on Instagram for example or I want to be able to help someone by sharing something that will either inspire them or comfort them in someway. But I can definitely see how sharing can be used for validation for some people x

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.co.uk

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    1. Oh for sure! I definitely love seeing what someone shares when I can resonate with their experiences and when what they're sharing is of some interest to me. However, when it comes to people sharing something as mundane as what they're eating for breakfast, I do question why they feel the need to put that online xx

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  4. There is definitely a darker side to social media�� Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I think they're important opinions that need to be shared!

    www.sundaydahlias.com

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  5. New interesting topic..
    Love the post.
    xx
    https://theonethattravels.wordpress.com/

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  6. I don't mind sharing 'life' online. I just like having place where I can look back on my memories
    https://miss-uncover.blogspot.com
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjqx5GwSIU23cLC7fLuso2A

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree, I'm all for looking back at memories! The point I was trying to get across in the blog post though was about when it becomes more than just sharing a couple of snaps with your friends. Rather, relying on the validation from followers in order to feel worth when in reality, the number of likes you get on Instagram has nothing to do with your own personal worth. I was trying to explain how its kind of like a domino affect, posting photos, getting validation and then doing it over and over because at some point maybe we start to depend on validation as a form of reassurance that we're 'worthy'.

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  7. Ahaha I love this! So honest and so on point. Instagram is the pinacle of hypocricy where people, of which too many have no control over their own lives, show off how "awesome" their life is. But I think that's also the reason why it's so important that you keep telling them their life looks fukin fab; some people look for that validation specifically and they feel less anxious when they get it. It's sad in a way but it's better than if those poor buggers succumbed to depression because nobody gives a crap.
    I myself took a week-long Insta challenge attempting to grow my following. The only thing that week taught me was how useless of a thing Instagram is to stress over. The biggest waste of time and energy :D Use it for FUN, people. Don't take it too seriously, it's not worth it.

    Teresa | outlandishblog.com

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    1. Oh my god YASS! This is exactly the point I was trying to get across in the blog post!
      I also spent about a week dedicating my time on Instagram to growing my following and It made me feel so miserable that I completely stopped using Instagram for about a month after that. I'd definitely agree that the amount of stress people feel over Instagram is such a waste of time. I mean, its a fucking app! I find it so strange how people spend so much time worrying about what their followers (most of whom are strangers) think of them. Xx

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  8. I'm always so worried about oversharing on social media, you never know who's watching. I hate Instagram and how much time it takes up when it's such a flawed platform anyway thanks to the algorithm xx

    Gemma Etc. ❤️

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  9. Such an interesting topic, Instagram is changing us all I swear! I think social media and the notion of likes and followers has changed the way our brains react to ourselves. Quite scary.

    www.madeinthe1990s.co.uk

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    1. Absolutely! Social media has made us much quicker to judge ourselves but I think its also made us quicker to judge other people as well, just because they don't live up to the sugar coated version of themselves they share on social media.

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  10. Omg your outfit is stunning love this post

    Thanks for sharing

    jadieegosh

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  11. Hmmm...this got me thinking for sure. Interesting topic here! Partly I do agree with you and honestly, I post sometimes when I'm bored. Having said that, I feel like I posted a lot last year so I'm holding back a bit this year. You look great! :-)

    https://www.missymayification.co.uk

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  12. I try to stay away from over-sharing anything personal. Plus, I like to keep some things to myself but enjoy instagram as a fun way to stay in touch with friends.

    www.fashionradi.com

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  13. Lovely pictures dear! nice post!!
    xx

    La ilusión de Nina - http://lailusiondenina.blogspot.com.es/

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  14. Such a nice post and true, too. I have to be honest, I don't know why I posted a picture of my coffee this morning. Maybe because everyone is doing it, so why not me? But I think I am not completely obssessed with it. I post only when I feel like it. I don't get those people who program and schedule when they are going to post next photo. There is a science behine the best time to post to get the most likes. I don't have many followers and honestly I don't care about numbers. I like taking photos, I like capturing what I see and I like that I have a place where I can "storage" all those moments.

    https://hanzalikovam.wixsite.com/thedailymaria

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    1. For sure! I think it would be much better for peoples mental health if they stopped giving a fuck about numbers. But, I do understand the scheduling behind posts, especially for those who use Instagram for their business. Although, the pressure to be on time and get a certain amount of engagement could be why so many bloggers complain that Instagram makes them miserable x

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  15. Gorgeous post Hun, these pictures are so beautiful and I love this post, you've made so many amazing posts!! x

    Grace Louise || www.gracelouiseofficial.blogspot.co.uk/

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  16. It seems oversharing is in the blood of others but it can be very annoying. There is time for everything so folks use it for fun rather stressing yourself over it. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.
    The Glossychic
    Wonder Cottage

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  17. I totally get it, I sometimes don't get how some people could post almost every second and detail of their lives :0 I don't really know why others do it, and yes maybe its for some sort of validation or maybe trying to prove to everyone and anyone that their lives are fabulous. Oh well. Loving your outfit by the way!

    Life is a Shoe

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