Tag Archives: attention seeking

Social Media Networking – Why We Need It

There are some obvious answers. Other motives go way deeper into the meanings of existence and human interaction.

Business Marketing and Social Media

Businesses marketing needs to use social media to stay competitive these days. The days of letting your fingers do the walking have given way to fingers doing the clicking. Even the local mom and pop stores in the neighborhood have Facebook pages now. It’s about establishing a brand name and gaining a online reputation. For those who are service providers, it’s essential to establish your authority in your field. While you may not have a book on the shelves or articles in print publication, having content posted online can be equally effective in establishing your credentials and image as a leader in any given area.

Personal Networking and Social Media

There are more complex reasons behind personal social media engagements. Some are related to business motives. Others can be boiled down to a basic human need to connect with another human being. None of us likes the feeling of being all alone in the world. Whether we use site likes Facebook and Twitter to stay connected to distant friends and relatives, or play a popularity numbers game through a certain number of friends, likes, and followers, it still is a way to avoid experiencing loneliness.

Not all posts through social media channels are updates on someone’s daily life or links for entertainment value. There are posts that genuinely seek to promote worthy causes, help others, etc. However, what motivates a person to share informative content in a public forum? Isn’t it a way to feel good about oneself, through gaining the recognition of others for being helpful, caring, knowledgeable, and so forth? This leads to the question of why the opinions or thoughts of others matter to us. Now we’re back again to the basic premise that no man is an island unto himself. We need to be connected to others, and rely on them to an extent for our self-esteem and self-worth. Hopefully, we don’t allow others to define us too much.

Effects of Isolation

I’ve read that there’s an area of the brain, in the back of the head, near the base where it connects to the spine, that atrophies with lack of human interaction. This has been cited as one of the reasons people will seek negative attention if positive attentions can’t be gained. Prisoners isolated in solitary confinement sometimes go insane. Newborns won’t thrive without contact with another human being.

Some of us may live cocooned lives, barely ever leaving the house. However, I suspect that those who do are unable to live without a phone or computer. How comfortable are you with being alone? How much do you care about what others think of you? Could you live on an island like Tom Hanks in the Castaway movie and not talk to a soccer ball?

Can Social Media be Blamed for Munchausen Deaths?

Social media attention seeking

Can we really point the finger of blame at social media when mothers seek attention by deliberately inflicting injuries on their children? Munchausen by proxy syndrome is the name given to behavior of caregivers who purposely exaggerate, lie about, and/or induce physical, mental, and/or behavioral health problems in those under their care. It may be used to label a mother’s actions when she manufactures a child’s medical crises as a way to gain attention and sympathy. Researchers claim there’s a connection between a rise of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome and social media’s impact on modern life. Munchausen syndrome is named after Barin von Munchausen, and 18th century German officer who was notorious for telling embellished tales of his past experiences.

Social Media and Attention-Seeking

Those who have an extreme need for attention-seeking can find ample opportunity to satisfy their needs through sites like Facebook, Google+, etc. Recently, the case of a New York woman accused of poisoning her child with salt came under scrutiny. Investigators found out Lacey Spears, frequently posted updates about her son’s frequent hospitalizations on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and a blog.

Many of us have seen more benign attention-seeking efforts on our social media networks. Facebook and Twitter are full of those mining for approval from others or fishing for sympathy. From posting selfies to status updates about friends and family members who are ill, social media provides endless opportunities for people to seek approval and support from others. Even posting messages seeking to raise awareness about important social, environmental, and political issues is typically motivated by a need to be acknowledged as the messenger of useful information.

The question then becomes what forms of attention-seeking should be rewarded? Most people I know want to avoid having drama queens in their life, due to how energy draining it can be to deal with them. The severity and frequency of the drama may be taken into consideration. Do you continuously reply with encouragement to a friend who has a new crisis to report every other day?

To call people who exhibit Munchausen’s syndrome drama queens is an understatement. Such people have a severe mental issue and need psychiatric intervention. Rewarding such twisted attention-seeking with sympathy and compassion exacerbates the problem and can contribute to further deadly behaviors. If you suspect someone you know has a mental illness that is driving extreme attention-seeking behaviors, what is the best way to handle it? Experts advise against rewarding such behavior with the attention and sympathy being sought. However, can withholding attention lead unstable people to inflict even worse harm on a child to get the attention they crave? I’d like to hear your suggestions for the best way to respond to extreme cases of online attention-seeking.

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