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  • Writer's pictureDillan Taylor

How to stop caring about how many likes you get

This weekend, my photographer friend told me he’s making the decision to start posting on Instagram again.

I deleted mine last year because it was sucking too many hours away from my days. But this was a monumental move for him for a different reason.

He obsesses over who likes his pictures and over how many likes they get.

“There’s nothing more pathetic than scrolling through the list of likers several times a day,” he joked. This hit home.

There are two types of people who post on social media: those who check the likes, and liars.

While he didn’t ask for my advice directly, his predicament got me thinking…How do I manage to post consistently and not let the dopamine/validation/comparison train run me over?

Two things came to mind…

1) Be clear on the intention.

Why do we post something?

For my buddy, he said it’s fun to show his work. He has a skill for taking photos and he’d like to share that with friends and colleagues.

For me, I love sharing lessons I’ve learned. I write this blog every day except on Sundays. In the hopes that they resonate with someone who reads them, I post my favorites (including this one) to Facebook.

It doesn’t happen with every blog, but the most rewarding aspect of sharing my insights is when someone reaches out to tell me how a particular idea landed with them. This means they didn’t just read the words, they felt the emotion beyond them.

But above all, I write this blog every morning to dump my thoughts. It’s a way of holding myself accountable for a journaling habit. It helps me articulate and communicate better in other areas of my life.

If we’re going to create something and share it with others, we have to like it first.

Call me douchy, but I like my blogs. I enjoy reading them. I couldn’t do this every day if that weren’t the case. And I would’ve certainly quit during the early months where no one was reading them had I not simply enjoyed writing them.

When we start creating something, it’s probably shitty. Mediocre at best. People aren’t going to be too interested.

Since that’s the case, we better love it. If not, if we instead focus on creating something we hope others will love but we detest…now it’s a lose-lose. They don’t like it and we don’t like it.

The simple process is this:

  1. Start creating something we enjoy.

  2. Do it consistently and get better at it.

  3. Share it.

  4. People will slowly begin to stick around to hear what we have to say.

  5. Repeat.

If the intention is something we can’t control—money, subscribers, likes—that’s unsustainable. If we just keep at something we love doing, all that shit will come later.

2) Understand we’re human.

The human brain takes millennia to evolve. The meat in our skulls is pretty similar to that of our ancestors from 30,000 years ago.

Yet we live in an impossibly advanced society. Our technology has improved more in the last 20 years than the previous 200 before it.

The world around us is moving at rocket speed and we’re still running with software that has yet to be updated. We crave instant gratification, acceptance, and importance.

What’s more, our billion-dollar social media companies know this. They pay people millions of dollars to exploit these natural human weaknesses which keep us looking at our devices. We feel good when we get a like. Someone has shown us approval and belonging.

This may sound a little depressing, but all I’m saying is…

We’re not morons for checking our phones. This shit is designed to be addicting.

TL; DR.

If we’re questioning our social media usage, we can simply ask:

• What am I hoping to get out of this?

• What part of this am I addicted to?

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