If writing makes you happy, write you must. If you like to make memories by clicking your own photo, a portrait of that street vagabond with broken teeth or that beautiful moth— it’s every breath palpable in its wings, you simply must click. By pursuing a creative passion that we love, happiness holds fort and takes wing. 

In today’s context of our world being digital, happiness is held to ransom by a button. Introduced in early 2009 by Facebook, the ‘like’ button has grown in power, morphed into new avatars, and has political, marketing, and privacy implications. The psychological impact makes sense in our context.

Likes are a dopamine booster, eating chocolates does the same. We take inspiration from ‘likes’. More ‘likes’ the better and that propels us forward. We get disappointed if our posts don’t get enough responses because that’s equivalent to being rejected or our post deemed unworthy. It is as if we did not get enough shoulder pats after scoring abundantly in a cricket match, or when that Bengali sweets were leftover. So what’s happening here?

We are all driven by social acceptance whether it is relationships, Instagram, Facebook or OS.ME.  Psychologically, when we post we communicate and we want to be acknowledged, even judged favourably. It becomes a mental drain if we don’t get comments or emoticons. It becomes a rat race within our head, checking notifications. So much like siblings vying for the attention of their parents.

Online and offline mirror each other. People are driven by a herd  mentality and reputation or fan following. Great photographers generate more love even for average photography. Lesser known photographers or writers naturally feel burdened, and have no option but to work harder to get attention for their work. Some do, some fall over.

I am unenthused by likes and I try my hardest to keep this out of my mind when I write or make photos but they find a way and creep up on me.   

What’s the way out?

Exit from social media seems a good option. And that flies in the way of expressing oneself. Limited exposure of your posts to people you trust, a more private screening of expressions is a worthier option.

What choice one makes is self dependent. Mental peace crucial to self progress tilts the priority for me. Does it for you?

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Sandeep Maher

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