What Is Your Social Media Motivation?

People are all salesmen in today’s world.

It’s apparent in all social mediums – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – that overlooked post of someone trying to sell a product that gets glossed over by people browsing through their feeds. They want their products sold, their websites to be visited, and their gigs to be attended. These advertisements are commonplace, unnoticed and not talked about.

The most common ads, however, are not made by corporations or celebrities. They are made by the common, everyday person, with their social media connections being the target clientele.

Madison Holleran was a tragic example. A budding track star at UPenn, she used Facebook and Instagram to advertise the grandness of her life. She was pretty, smart, and athletically gifted. She was selling an image of happiness and success through every post while concealing the intense struggle within her. Most unfortunately, Madison lost this struggle, committing suicide at the age of 19. People on the outside would have never suspected her to be battling depression because what they saw of her through her social media posts was someone enjoying life with a promising future. (If you want to read more about Madison, this is a good read)

Like Madison, millions of lives are on display via social media, the stars of their own reality show. Even the most ordinary of lives are now glamorized and elevated through photos – moments in time that are sensationalized through captions. Whether they realize it or not, people are selling the idea that their lives are fabulous and desirable.

Why is there this burning desire to sell an image? Why are Millennials consumed with their own celebrity?

These motivations can be better understood by thinking about the audience, which can be split into three groups – 1) people that are already part of one’s social circle outside of social media, 2) people that were once part of one’s social circle but are no longer, and 3) people that one is trying to get the attention of. Every photo, every caption, and every status update is on display for every Facebook friend, Instagram follower, and Twitter follower. Do people seek validation of their elevated status in the form of likes? Do people genuinely want their friends to share in their successes and failures? Is a photo or an inspirational quote meant to sell an image of someone the poster wants to be, but isn’t?

These questions highlight a great struggle for the Millennial generation. It’s the identity crisis that is being played out on a cyber scale. Do character and value dictate one’s social media, or does one’s social media dictate character and value?

Only the individual knows his or her own motivations. But this social media motivation is a discussion that is worth having – who knows how many people are out there just like Madison?

– Chris

“How Many Kids Do You Want?”

Shudder. I hate that question. I am fielding that question a lot these days, and it’s been literally a decade since I was first asked the question. When I was a senior in high school, I remember talking to my girlfriends about it. “I’m going to go to college, graduate, go to law school, get married by 27, pop out a baby when I’m 29, and still become a hot shot lawyer.” I said it so matter-of-fact, as if they were just the logical steps every woman would take after obtaining a high school diploma. The type-A in me was so programmed.

Today, I am 28. I did go to college (and graduated, phew). But after working 2 years at a law firm with disgruntled attorneys, I decided law school wasn’t for me. I ended up being recruited by a head hunter and was introduced to the wonderful (and crazy) world of recruiting. I started dating my now boyfriend at 27. 29 is only one year away. I have a general sense of where, what and who I want to be by then… and it definitely does not include being a 29 year-old mother. When I was asked the question again for the first time in nearly a decade I was caught off guard.

Shit. I have not even thought about it. “Uhhhh…. two. Twins, preferably. Two for one pregnancy. Yes, BOGO. That sounds like a deal.” The truth is, the deeper I think about it, and really start to visualize what having a kid is about, I’m not entirely sure I want one. I am definitely not prepared to raise one. Two years ago, I asked a best friend how many times she dropped her daughter. She gave me an eyebrow raise and said, “Never.” I was amazed. She was mortified. It’s no wonder she hasn’t asked me to babysit.


As millennials, we are often described as “spoiled, entitled, instant gratification seekers” by our previous generation. Studies show there is a 54% decline in marriages compared to our parents’ generation. This makes sense: we have so many options available at our fingertips (literally). I can’t say what it was like to grow up before Tinder, POF, Match, etc., but I can imagine when you met someone, you really knew they were special.  And when you met that person, I can see how having kids would be the next logical step to take. Our parents didn’t grow up with PS4, Reddit, Netflix, Expedia, World of Warcraft — you know, timeless activities. Perhaps I contribute to our Gen-Y stereotype of being the selfish generation. Sarah Silverman summarizes it quite nicely below.


So, “How many kids do you want?” I think the more common question to ask our generation is, “Do you want to have kids?” Subconsciously, I have always been conditioned to think having kids is for everyone but I’m starting to realize maybe it’s not.  Life is filled with surprises and I’ve realized there is no such thing a life road map. Yes, you can make general plans but there will always be detours thrown at you, because, life. Better double up on protection.
Why haven't you had kids yet?

#SocialMediaPDA – When is it Too Much?

Emily: As I hit my late 20’s, it’s bad enough that I have my mother breathing down my neck asking, “When are you going to get married?” Now I am constantly being reminded (what seems to be on a weekly basis) that everyone around me is either getting married, getting engaged or getting preggers. It’s really difficult missing that big block in your Newsfeed when it’s bolded and centered every time a friend adds a life event and the standard congratulations flood the page.

While I understand the significance of these life events and am happy for them (as evidenced by my Like), what I don’t understand is all of the other general social media PDA. I guess it’s sweet to see John loves Rachel and got her just because flowers and a new pair of Jimmy Choo’s. John also wants me to know that he thinks his girlfriend is the most beautiful girl in the world. I can’t help but wonder if John tells her this in person, too, and if so, before or after the status update? It just makes me wonder, is there such a thing as too much social media PDA?

Chris: Whether we admit it or not, there exists a troll inside all of us, hungry and waiting to be fed. Social media PDA is the bacon cheeseburger for our inner troll. It’s like watching The Bachelor – on one hand you wonder how a show like this could exist only to realize you’ve watched every group date and rose ceremony. To me, I find it interesting what social media PDA reveals about us as people. There are many factors in play – from people wanting to uphold an image of a perfect relationship to viewers trolling every egregiously romantic post. I’ve noticed that women in particular have a distaste for social media PDA, because, as we all know, women love hating other women.


Emily: Women call other women bitches, sluts and whores as men call other men dicks, douchebags, and sons of bitches. These nicknames are often warranted out of jealousy – for women it’s based on insecurity surrounding physical looks, for men it’s based on insecurity surrounding the alpha desire to make more money or drive a flashier car. I can’t speak for men but I would say women are competitive and agree woman on woman hate is rampant. So if your question above is asking whether or not social media PDA is stemmed from the desire to make others jealous, I think very much so. I can’t see anyone really wanting to tweet or Instagram themselves kissing because they genuinely think people see this as a measurement of their true love. And if they do think others are dying to see their newest love status, it goes back to my original question, when is it too much? Do we have societal pressures to put on a happy face for the web all the time? Is this the modern way of demonstrating true love?

Chris: I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s never too much. Social media PDA always serves a purpose, whether it’s for John to show everyone how awesome he is for having someone like Rachel, or for people to troll on him for his over-the-top gushing. I don’t mind it at all. It’s like gratuitous nudity in Game of Thrones  – are you really that upset about it? I’m not.

But does this mean someone loves someone less because there’s a lack of social media PDA? Of course not. Girls should think about fighting the urge to find these hidden underlying meanings behind their man’s social media activity, because usually there isn’t one. It’s fairly simple – everyone has their own level of privacy they’d like to keep – just because I don’t tell my Facebook friends how great you are doesn’t mean I think it any less. As long as I tell you how much I appreciate you face to face, the social media stuff is irrelevant.

Emily: You mean after all this debate you’re not going to tell me you love me on the web? Because I love you!!! ^____^ ❤ ❤ ❤ Did that gross out any readers out there? Get used to it. #socialmediaPDA is going viral!

A Man’s Opinion on Taylor Swift

This is quite the conundrum. Let me start off by saying this – I am not a fan of Taylor Swift’s music. I’ve never listened to any of her albums, and I could barely name two or three songs of hers. What I do know about her is that she is adored by millions, a winner of multiple Grammy’s, and has written her own lyrics from a very early age. From my outside perspective, she’s a super-talented artist who doesn’t get into any trouble and has managed to handle public incidents like being Kanye’d at the 2009 MTV VMA Awards rather gracefully. She openly embraces all genres of music, from country to hip-hop, and seemingly cares about the success and well-being of other artists in the music industry.

So then, why do I feel like I should hate her?

First off, there’s the dancing at award shows. I can’t really fault her for this. If Taylor Swift wants to act like she’s at Woodstock while wearing a dress that’s worth someone’s annual salary in an air-conditioned auditorium surrounded by other millionaires in suits and dresses, that’s her right. However, having the savvy of being in the public eye for many years, she must know that the camera pans to her about a hundred times, right? I admit it – my initial reaction to seeing her do her crazy dances on TV is to think that she looks ridiculous, but I know that’s no reason to dislike her. She’s entitled to do whatever she wants, and is this any worse than celebrities trying to look too cool for school when they’re on camera? No, in this case, I’m just being an asshole and a hater.

Do your thing, girl.

Then there’s her opinion about men. The two lyrics I know of hers are as follows:

1) We will never ever ever (ever ever ever? I lost count on the ever’s) get back together

2) Boys only want love if it’s torture

I don’t have a problem with Line #1. You see, by repeating the word ever she is vehemently emphasizing that she will not return into a relationship with her ex-lover. OK, got it. But let’s look at Line #2 – Boys only want love if it’s torture. So we LOVE torture that much, eh Tay-Tay? Do men seek out abusive, emotionally taxing relationships with women? Do we instigate conflict and consider love to be some kind of environment of instability? To this, I respond with a big, fat:

You know nothing, Jon Snow.

But what irks me the most about Taylor Swift is the Spotify issue. To a degree, I understand her stance. Artists don’t make nearly as much as they used to (except if you’re, I don’t know, Taylor Swift, who was estimated by Forbes to have earned $64 million dollars in 2014). And let’s genuinely believe that she pulled her catalogue from Spotify services because she wants to look out for all musicians out there and their financial interests. It still doesn’t lessen her delusions of grandeur when it comes to the Internet and pirating material. Does she think she’s going to cause a chain reaction of major artists and labels to pull their music catalogues from streaming services? Does she think this will bring a halt to all illegal downloading of her music and the music of other artists? Is this going to bring the music industry back to the Good ‘ol Days? I don’t know her true intentions but I am pretty confident in saying this – the Internet will always win. Instead of fighting piracy, Taylor Swift should realize that illegal downloading will always exist, and that her actions of pulling her music from Spotify only alienates a portion of the general population who will see this as another rich artist being greedy. There’s no stopping the evolution of society – Is anyone crying for cassette or VCR makers? Music is more accessible now – that’s just the way it is. Spotify, YouTube, and other streaming services give artists exposure to new audiences that otherwise would never be aware of their music. It’s a good thing. Let’s not fight it.

After all this, I am still unclear on how to feel about Taylor Swift. Do I have some unjustified bias against her because her music is seemingly not of my personal taste? Is it OK to be critical of her as long as I can acknowledge some of her good qualities? I don’t want to be that guy that hates her because I think she’s this or that, but what I do know, based on my perceptions and what I’ve seen and read, is that I have zero desire to listen to her music. I guess I’ll never know how good or bad it really is.


*Emily was conveniently unavailable to contribute to this post. I’m sure a debate is forthcoming.