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Lauren Galley Headshot

Who is "LIKE"?

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Being a young adult, I live in a world of social media and lately I have given a great deal of thought to the issues and pressures the millennial generation are facing in today's media driven society. Youth as young as nine (some even younger) use media applications such as Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr. I love social media and believe it can be a powerful tool to connect and network with those you might not meet otherwise, however, the use of social media becomes toxic when we use these applications to validate our self worth.

There is one four letter word that lingers in our mind each time we click "post." It amazes me how the word "LIKE" can influence and shape the way we feel about ourselves. Let's take Instagram for example. When I post a photo, I can honestly say I feel good about my choice and want to share it with my friends. I think this is the thought most of us have when making a post. Then comes the anxiety of "Will I get any "LIKES," "How many "LIKES" will I get?" "Oh, no, it's been two hours and not a single "LIKE," "OMG, I am so embarrassed. Nobody hit "LIKE." "Should I delete the post now while it's fresh and pray no one will notice?"

Now, why in the world would we care about how many likes we receive if we posted a photo or status we originally felt so good about? All of a sudden, within minutes, we are second guessing our confidence and allowing "LIKE" to declare us amazing. Who is "LIKE?" Does the person behind each "LIKE" have the power to make us feel any certain way about ourselves? The answer is yes to a vast majority. When there is a lack of "LIKE" in our life, our percentage of confidence diminishes a little with each ticking moment that post is streaming. "LIKE" pops in and reminds us to check our status, revealing how many "likes" have graced the very post we felt so good about in the very beginning. As we excitedly take a peek, another element comes into play. Will it be "high" or "low?" "High" represents our post is the recipient of many "likes," and "low" represents a less than desired amount of "likes." "High" and "Low" then team up with "LIKE" to take control of this never ending circle of validation.

I know this sounds a bit dramatic, but I promise you I am not veering too far from the truth. Back in the day before social media existed, validation was earned by our actions and integrity. Social Media is a great, powerful tool when used in a positive manner as it has the potential to connect us with wonderful people all over the world, which in turn can truly make a positive difference in our lives. I believe the Millennial generation allows "LIKE" to define our self worth. Don't let "LIKE" take control of your posts on social media.