Emotional Wellbeing



Mandy Kloppers

Psychology Behind Social Media — Posting to Feed One’s Ego?

Psychology Behind Social Media 

Social media. We all know what they are. We all use them. But do we know how they actually work? Are we influencing social media, or are they influencing us? The following article deals with the psychology behind our posts, likes, and comments on social media. 

Communication on Social Media vs. in Real Life 

You are not self-centered? You don’t like to be the center of attention? Are you just an average “socializer”? Even if you are, you, like most people, will probably be talking about yourself about 30 to 40% of your time (pure science). You think that’s awesome? Online, the whole thing looks quite different: here, about 80% of posts are about its posters. 


That sounds like the case of an over-inflated ego, doesn’t it? But why are we doing that? The thing is, it is more emotionally exhausting and challenging to engage in face-to-face conversations. In real life, for example, we have no time to give a neat, clever answer before presenting it to our interlocutor. 


On top of that, we perceive not only what we have heard from a person we’re talking to. Our facial expressions and gestures are also scrutinized. And that’s quite exhausting.  


However, it’s different in the online world. There, we have the time to think of a smart answer. We do not have to worry about where to look or what to do with our hands. In short, it makes it easy for us to portray ourselves the way we want other people to see us. 

Social Media as an Ego-Booster 

Many would probably raise their hands defensively and say, “This is not true in my case.” However, it has been scientifically proven that simply looking at one’s Facebook profile can be a real ego booster. Being able to self-express on social media strengthens our self-confidence. Interesting or very questionable? It is certainly attractive for marketers who want to promote their products via social platforms. 


Are you a sporty or business type? Do you like pink, or is pastel your color of the season? Marketers who successfully promote their products through social media have realized that the most important way of presenting themselves is through things we consume and own. It is through them we show others who we are. 


Can you imagine that some people feel a similar emotional connection to their favorite brand as they do to their family or partner? Even if it sounds absurd, it is backed up by scientific studies. For companies, this is absolutely important. They need to know which products and aspects of their brand their customers identify themselves with. Those can be explicitly used for advertising purposes, especially on social media platforms. 


For example, by restricting audience targeting when playing ads on Facebook or presenting a product through influencers on Youtube or Instagram, marketers can effectively promote their products and make you, for instance, buy essay cheap, even though you were doing fine without it. That’s partly because, for many users, this type of promotion does not feel like advertising. 


Also, the emotional connection with a social media platform affects advertisements and products they promote. In a familiar online environment, users tend to trust product recommendations more than they do on an unknown website. They connect with social media’s positive aspects and emotions which they unconsciously transfer to the ads they see there. 


Why We Share Social Media Posts 

Back in 1908, American psychologist Abraham Maslow came up with the so-called “pyramid of needs” that showed why we need to communicate with other people. According to him, the ultimate goal we all pursue is self-realization. Nothing has changed since then. Nowadays, we still show our social environment who we are and what interests us. 


This is also reflected in the sharing of social media content: 68% of Facebook users say that they share content because they want other people to know who they are and what they are interested in. Nearly 80% do that because it helps them stay in touch with the outside world. 


What We Do Not Publish 

Do you know that, too? You write something on Facebook, but then you delete it before somebody can see your post. We all know this inhibition keeping us from communicating with others is our social media profile. This can also happen in the form of comments or likes. Something holds us back. We just don’t dare do that. 


This voluntary “censorship” is compounded by the problem that the corresponding post may not match our desired self-image. What could other people think? How could the picture of myself that I created be distorted? 


Whether consciously or unconsciously, social media have entered many areas of our lives. In communication and advertising, it can have a tremendous psychological impact on the user. At the same time, users with natural behavioral patterns determine the rules of dealing with social media.  


Businesses need to recognize that social media are not a self-perpetuating factor. They should, therefore, be efficiently managed and used for marketing purposes. If companies fail to take this into account, they risk getting negative comments and having their brand reputation damaged.  


The negative or positive image of a brand is partially formed by social media users based on the company’s actions. However, social media can be used as a marketing tool successfully because of certain psychological patterns each user is characterized by.