Role Playing in Social Networks and the Need for Social Approval

7 mins read
Role Playing in Social Networks and the Need for Social Approval

Role Playing in Social Networks and the Need for Social Approval

Today, there is a desire to play a big role in social networks. But are we really as happy as we appear on our social media profiles? This question arises because of the concept of “happiness”, which is perhaps fictional, which we must constantly show in our daily lives and which overflows into our social media accounts.

If you browse any social network, you will see many posts showing your acquaintances traveling the world. Or maybe you stumble upon a photo of a friend who has suddenly fallen in love with whom you haven’t spoken in a few weeks.

Remember that we spend an average of 37 hours a week online, according to a study of social networks conducted at the University of Pennsylvania. That’s about 22% of our time.

According to this study, therefore, our personal life has a great connection with the social platforms we use on the internet. So it’s not surprising that we use these apps to send messages to people close to us.

In short, we are all connected to each other online through social networks and these platforms are a part of our daily lives. More or less the same way, taking selfies is part of our daily routine. Therefore, we must ask ourselves: exactly what part of our reality are we showing on social networks?

Role Playing in Social Networks and the Need for Social Approval

Role Playing in Social Networks and the Need for Social Approval

We have a strange desire to pretend we are happy and try to make the world believe it, even if we really are not.

According to many studies, we have an internal desire to pretend to please others. This is evident when we look at the need for approval we show on social networks, according to some studies on the subject.

Therefore, our desire to appear on social networks seems to stem from an innate need for social approval. This means we want others to accept us and give us positive reinforcement. For example, the happiness we feel when we upload a “selfie”. We get reinforcement by counting likes and positive comments. Well, who doesn’t love to be praised?

Okay, so what does acting mean in this respect? “Posturing” is a phrase coined by Oxford Student Dictionaries. It refers to behaviors and attitudes that are not natural or sincere, but that are put forward to attract attention or create a specific effect, especially in social networks.

Psychologist José Elías, a member of the International Society of Hypnosis, defines this concept as “the adoption of certain habits, behaviors and attitudes that try to project a good image”. “It’s a positively accepted image that we put forward to prove we’re happy, even if we’re not happy and not even convinced of it.”

In other words, according to this psychologist, acting is the need for social approval that we present by displaying an image that may not be part of reality.

“Contagious Happiness” Effect

According to a study conducted at the University of California, people’s moods change according to the posts they see on social networks and are conditioned by these things. That’s why the published content often gives an image of “contagious happiness”. Perceiving the joy and well-being of others encourages us to want to achieve that state, according to this study. That’s why we feel the urge to share similar content and create the “contagious happiness” effect ourselves.

In this context, “happiness” presentations on social networks are spreading like forest fires. It also encourages our desire to have a presence on social networks and enjoy an endless wave of “happy” messages and photos.

The Desire to Pretend – Are What We Publish Real?

We live in a constant need for social approval, hence the well-known role-playing situation in social networks.

Psychologist Yolanda Pérez says, “There’s a little bit of everything. The most common are people who present facts, untruths, or even half-truths,” she says. She adds: “We show how beautiful and happy we are in that moment. However, we are only showing part of the reality. There are 24 hours in our day and it is impossible to be happy and smiling all the time.”

The reality we project on social networks is probably not entirely complete. This is because it is impossible to be happy all the time. Life is full of positive and negative emotions, and ignoring negative emotions will only hurt us.

In conclusion, it is obvious that what we see on social networks is not true. The image in social networks is relative, as we explained above. We should not make the mistake of thinking that there are people who are very happy 24 hours a day, too. Keep in mind that we all experience sadness and disappointment.

Therefore, having bad days is a part of life and these days help us to value the good times even more. Remember that no one’s life is possible, so let go of your desire to pretend to be someone you are not.


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