Finding a Way Out: The Uphill Battle of Performing for Likes on Social Media

Marla Rose
8 min readFeb 16, 2024
Credit: John Beske

“The reward feels good, and we keep doing what others want us to do in order to get the reward. With that fear of being punished and that fear of not getting the reward, we start pretending to be what we are not, just to please others, just to be good enough for someone else.” — Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

When I first heard about Facebook, I was leery. What is this thing? So you type what you’re thinking and people comment? Like a message board or…? Also: Why did I need this? I was happily living my life when a friend of mine from college who lives many miles away encouraged me to join, telling me that all our old friends were there, that we could catch up and share funny memories. I created a profile, figuring I would leave after a month or two, no harm, no foul. It’s been fifteen years now. I’m not proud of this, I am not particularly ashamed, those are just the facts. Yes, I have had fun reconnecting with old friends and my life has been enriched beyond measure by meeting some new ones but I have returned to that initial place of wariness with the platform — actually more so, because I know more — and have been for some time now.

I’m not expressing anything revolutionary or new here. Lots of people have left for a multitude of reasons. I’m just going to try to dive into one here…