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A teen’s take on virtual popularity

This great photo would be considered a failure with only 20 likes.

I can’t help but analyze the sometimes-dysfunctional way that people in my age group act online and on social media. Take a commonly used photo-sharing app like Instagram where one can follow a person and “like” their pictures. Just like popularity issues in the real world, I have noticed a growing virtual popularity competition on apps like Instagram. The original intent of Instagram was to capture an interesting moment of time and to share photos of what one likes and/or is interested in. The user could also follow people and places of interest to them. Now, instead of enjoying and then sharing a moment and then moving on, many people are worrying about how their pictures look, how many likes they get and how many followers they have. I know many people who will delete their photos if they do not get a certain amount of likes. How ridiculous is that? Why delete a photo that was meaningful to you just because others aren’t showing an interest in it?

Buy likes with "Like Potion"

Buy likes with “Like Potion”

I also know that the amount of followers that a person has can make them feel stressed. A friend of mine recently said that she had a “bad like to minutes since posted ratio.” It is a growing competition to see who has the most followers and the highest number of likes in the shortest time possible. People even use apps like “LikePotion” to get more likes from complete strangers. I think there is something wrong with that. One should enjoy what they post on Instagram, without worrying about who else likes the post. Maybe people should see their photos as capturing a moment in time instead of trying to impress others?

Popularity has always been an issue and not everyone feels comfortable in his or her own skin. Growing up, many kids encounter bullies who pick on their overall life and popularity status. This can truly affect a person’s self esteem and well being. It is much easier for a person to say words and do things behind the “protection” of their computer screen and that seems to be a growing problem these days.

On Facebook, many people want to have the most friends as possible. I have seen people with over 5,000 “friends.” The dictionary definition of a friend is “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual and/or natural affection.” How could one person possibly have that kind of relationship with 5,000 people? I bet few people have that kind of relationship with all of their friends and followers on social media. I certainly don’t! Call me crazy, but I just find that plain weird. I hope to spread awareness and to encourage people to truly enjoy what they post and to not over obsess with social media. Is all the stress that comes with social media to get likes and followers these days really worth the very few minutes of satisfaction that it may give you?

I like to live in the moment and to enjoy what I am doing. I hope to show people that they could feel better if they follow my lead. If I post something and other people enjoy it that is great. But I should not need worry about how many other people are enjoying it and neither should you. I hope you feel the same way after reading this.

Evan Bitan

Evan is a 14 year old on a mission to make the world a better place. Whether on the internet or in real life, he loves to make sure that everyone is enjoying their life to the fullest. Evan enjoys running, reality television and raising awareness for many causes.

14 replies
  1. BH Mom
    BH Mom says:

    There’s some kind of addictive behavior to it all. Somehow we get a good feeling from the ‘Like’ numbers and you’re on to a simple truth: seeking “likes” is not a path to feeling happy.

    • Evan Bitan
      Evan Bitan says:

      Yes I completely agree that there is some kind of addictive behavior behind it all… thanks for reading my article!

  2. Peter
    Peter says:

    Although I agree people get carried away with social media, and I’ve been at the table when everyone is on Facebook or Twitter or whatever. But I can see the usefulness of social media. I do believe humans have the need to feel connected or more than they really are, and social media is the perfect placebo, but it’s their own fault for getting consumed by it.

    I completely support your position , but how would you go about changing the way younger generations act online? How would you try to make a difference?

    I used to despise social media, but now I use it to connect to readers for my blog for college students.

    • Evan Bitan
      Evan Bitan says:

      Hi Peter!

      Your points are very valid. I really like social media and I do think that social media is a perfect place for people to feel connected. I wrote this article to try and spread the word that people and kids my age should truly enjoy what they post and that they should not obsess over how many friends, followers or likes they have. Thanks for reading my article and your input means a lot to me.

  3. BK
    BK says:

    I completely agree Evan! Very refreshing to hear from someone of a younger generation who shares the same perspective. People are getting so caught up in their social media lives that it actually consumes their real life. I notice more and more people living in an online reality that is very different from real life. (Yes, this depends on what your definition of what “real life” is, but you know what I mean!) Social media should help to enhance our lives, not take over them completely.


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