The Popularity of Vanity on Social Media

I have inadvertently been running a social experiment on my personal Facebook page. About a year ago, I started a Tumblr blog as a way to advertise my skills indirectly and build my freelance business, and those posts go directly to my Facebook page and almost always involve pictures of myself. Or I’ll post pictures of things I’ve created, again usually with me also in the picture. These always get lots of “likes”, with comments about how I look. And I began studying my friends posts, and it is the changed profile pics or the fashion or done-up pictures or the selfies that get the most social validation.

But I also post about social and political issues that are important to me. Not frequently, because I don’t want to bombard people or depress them, but when I find a documentary that excites me or really want to press home an issue, I post about it. I try to speak clearly and passionately about these issues, with the goal of getting people to think for themselves. And I only get a handful of “likes”.

It’s become a little game to me though, balancing the vanity posts against the intelligent, more important posts, because I know the more people like the first, the more my other posts will show up in their feed even though they aren’t responding. I’m working the system to get my message across subtly, and that kind of entertains me. But it also pisses me off a little to think that people, even family, are more inclined to approve of my looks and my creative ability than in my ability to actually think and hold discourse. If I was the type to be influenced by the opinions of others, I’d be apt to shut up more frequently. Thankfully, I’ve never been shy about saying something that I think needs saying. I might need to work myself up to doing it, but it’ll come out eventually. But as an experiment, it says something about how a woman is valued still in this society, doesn’t it?

Here, on my Kat Micari site, my poems net me the most “likes” and comments, followed by posting my art, then my postings on the creative process. My random musings generally less so, but I have the luxury of not relying on this side of things for income. So I just post whatever I feel like.

Have any of you noticed trends in your posting that are kind of fascinating to think about on a broad social scale? Human nature in general is interesting to me.

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2 thoughts on “The Popularity of Vanity on Social Media

  1. I’ve had similar discussions with friends about this. I don’t have quantitative data to back me up, but I don’t think it’s a gender issue. In short, plenty of male friends have noticed the same thing on their own social media accounts. People tend to shy away from social/political posts. I’m not sure if this is because we are raising generations to believe celebrity gossip is actually “news,” or maybe people are not comfortable making social/political positions public online.

    • I’m don’t know if I should be glad or not that it’s not a “female only” issue. But, if it is across the board, then that is even more telling. A lot of it is probably because online discussions so quickly devolve into slurs and shutting people down. I actually love a good discussion and welcome opposing viewpoints, as long as the other person has actually thought their opinion through, because I like looking at situations in a new light. I like trying to come up with solutions for problems and engaging with others about them.

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