Social networks can provide an excellent opportunity for people to interact socially, improve their interpersonal relationships, and even conduct business. The psychology behind all sorts of interactions on social platforms varies depending on the individual or the business.
For many, this is what happens in an ordinary day: After a long boring day at work, you arrive home, take off your shoes, change your clothes and start to look for something to feed your soul with. What seems more available and easy-to-use than social media? You can live in it for hours on end with seeing something that catches your eyes every minute. It’s sometimes impossible to resist the temptation to dive into more of them and sharing the catchy contents with your loved ones.
Or else, you feel you have bottled up your emotions for too long and want to open up to your friend about the challenges you are facing in your life. Social media appears to be the most convenient way to talk endlessly with your friends no matter where you are or what time of the day it is.
But are these the only psychological motivations behind interacting on social media platforms? Or is it a much broader topic to expand on? Let’s see.
Why do people interact on social media?
There are many different ways of thinking about human behavior on social media. Psychologists utilize a variety of perspectives when studying how people think, feel, and behave in online environments. Find below some reasons why individuals from all walks of life choose to communicate on social media:
Many people use social networking environments to better come up with new ideas and perspectives either to satisfy their personal needs or to come up with a better strategy for their contents or business marketing. In the majority of social websites or applications, it is possible to build or join communities to openly have your say and getting practical feedbacks.
In this digital age, if you own a business, many of your would-be customers are seeking for social proof before deciding on buying your product or using your service. You can easily share online reviews to ensure your customers that your company is trustworthy and popular among other users.
- Emotional Involvement
Isn’t it relieving for you to know that others are feeling the same emotions that you are experiencing in your life? Well, social media helps you build emotional connections with others no matter what the time is or where you are living. Many people are there for you to respond compassionately. For instance, when someone is suffering from terminal cancer or lost a loved one or is going through huge challenges in life, people will express concern and sometimes give some useful advice on social media.
It is more comfortable for some people to get their feelings out in the virtual environments compared to the real world. In fact, some choose social media as a tool to pour their heart out and translate their thoughts into the written word to get a better perspective or revise their memory of traumatic life experiences.
- Peer pressure
Peer pressure is much more common among teens than other age groups. It can adversely affect the lives of kids who feel pressurized to be active on social media just to go with the stream and not to fall behind. Most of these kids suffer from lack of self-confidence and cannot handle it when their friends make fun of them or treat them with contempt.
Although more seen in teenagers, peer pressure also goes viral more or less among adults. You can feel pressurized by your friends, relatives, colleagues, or the people of the same social class as you to engage in social media activities. It has undoubtedly happened to you when all the people around you are talking on a piece of content they recently saw on social media and got surprised when they hear you know nothing about it. How do you feel in these situations? Are you the one who loses confidence and feel uncomfortable? Or do you consider it a trivial matter that’s unworthy of serious consideration? What I am trying to emphasize here is that people react differently in these situations.
Nowadays, social media is flooded with full details of every event of people’s lives. It seems that they enjoy a perfect life or are in ideal relationships. What is the main reason for such behaviors in the virtual world?
“The better you feel about yourself, the less you feel the need to show off.” Robert Hand
Studies have revealed below motivations behind showing off on social media:
- To fill the emptiness, you feel inside
- To attract more followers
- To satisfy your need for perfection
- To satisfy your need of love and acceptance
I personally find these braggarts annoying. They are choosing the wrong way to fulfill their desires or needs. We should learn not to let this perfectionism fool us and make us end up being depressed or having low self-esteem.
It’s not possible to escape social media these days. Communicating through a computer or a mobile phone is quite easier than communicating face to face. Concerning the reasons elaborated above, some of which are intertwined, consider using social media interactions wisely to reap the many benefits it provides for every one of us.