Technology is changing how we interpret “belonging” to a group; belonging is no longer limited to social invitation and we are linked by Facebook friends and an endless loop of information on our newsfeed. Facebook’s success is linked to its ability to persuade consumers (Fogg). Once users have been persuaded to create an account, Facebook validates two important social needs: the fundamental desire to belong and self-presentation. (Mehta)
The desire to belong is innate. The instinct has evolved from a means of increasing one’s chances of survival into more of a social strategy for emotional wellbeing. Facebook enables users to feel more connected to their “friends” despite physical proximity or the status of their relationship with said friend. Even if you’ve grown apart from a pal, you can still be flooded with updates and new pictures thanks to Facebook. The false feeling of closeness provides users with a feeling of popularity and interconnection.
In general, humans strive to present themselves in the best light possible. Facebook allows us to create a more idealized version of ourselves and to exclude any negative information we don’t want the general public to see. According to research studies, on average people are fairly representative of their personal traits, including openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion and neuroticism. Researchers are unsure to as whether users simply do not achieve portraying their idealized selves online or if they intend to create an accurate profile of themselves. (O’Callaghan)
The phenomenon known as Facebook, and other social mediums, have already attracted considerable research; it will be interesting to learn about the psychology of social media on a deeper level. For example, the psychology of being “unfriended” is already being examined. As the first generation where it is uncommon to be without a cell phone or laptop for an extended period of time, I am intrigued to see the long term effects of social media on the ways in which we interact and to see whether the obsession endures.
Fogg, BJ. “Psychology of Facebook.” Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab, n.d. Web. 02 Nov.
Mehta, Vinita. “Why Does Using Facebook Feel So Good?” Head Games: What Freud
Never Knew. Psychology Today, 29 Apr. 2012. Web. 02 Nov. 2012.
O’Callaghan, Tiffany. “The Psychology of Facebook Profiles.” TIME: Health and Family.
TIME, 3 Dec. 2009. Web. 02 Nov. 2012.