#Psychology :The Science Behind Our Liking Everything Online
We’ve all done it: grazed through our Facebook newsfeeds and impulsively hit the like button.
But beyond the fact that it’s so easy to use, what exactly is it that we find so irresistible about this tiny, seemingly innocuous function? And why are we so compelled to like people, updates and media online?
According to Facebook, a like is “a way to give positive feedback or to connect with people you care about.” The social-media giant recently released statistics indicating that more than 65 million users like things daily, and although it’s generally more popular among younger users, people of all ages seem to enjoy pressing the like button.
The fact that it’s such a popular element of the platform’s functionality goes a long way in showing how important it is, both for the people clicking the button, and those on the receiving end.
What lies behind our obsession with likes?
Like has become much more than just a positive reaction toward a post or update — it has evolved into feedback toward people. As a rule of thumb, the more likes you get, the more loved you’ll feel. In fact, according to anthropologist Krystal D’Costa, the like button has become so influential as a tool that it can boost or shatter a person’s ego. In effect, it has become “an extension of one’s digital personal.”
Not only that, but other researchers have shown that like-based communication actually decreases the feeling of loneliness, as it conveys a sense of empathy and caring. From the sender’s perspective, sending a like can have the same effect as smiling or saying a kind word to someone. It is basically a really easy, low-cost way to communicate positive feedback.
So why do we like things? People send compliments on a daily basis for a whole range of reasons, including rather strategic ones such as wanting to appear nice, to “suck up” or to gain something in return (“You look so nice today … Can I borrow your car?”).
Complimenting a person is literally priceless — it doesn’t cost you anything and it can be accomplished with minimum effort. You don’t even have to mean it. People love to receive compliments even if they are very much aware of its manipulative usage. In fact, taken to its extreme, paying a compliment is a “legitimate” opportunity to lie, which is something that people subconsciously tend to enjoy doing from time to time.
Apart from transmitting a positive signal, the act of liking something is evidence of existence in the online realm. Comments affiliated with the like actually constitute your reputation online, and liking the same things as others within our networks reaffirms our connection with the group by identifying points we hold in common. There is, of course, the hope that a favor will be reciprocated: “I liked your post, now you have to like mine.”
In recent years, the opportunity to like something or somebody has spread outside the boundaries of Facebook to other sites. You can press like after reading a news report, purchasing an accessory or watching a movie. In these cases, liking something is an indication of the consumer’s satisfaction with the product or content, in which the like becomes a way to communicate their views and thoughts to other virtual users that they’ve never met before.
Your likes reveal more about you than you think.
Aside from the positive psychological impact of the Facebook like, as a function, it’s certainly not without its issues. In the spring of 2013, research conducted by psychologists at Cambridge University blew the lid off how this easily accessible digital record of your behaviour can be used (ultimately without your consent) to extract sensitive personal information about you — the kind of information that you might not even share with your closest friends.
In the study, over 58,000 volunteers consensually provided their Facebook likes, detailed demographic profiles and the results of several psychometric tests. Using logistic/linear regression, the researchers were able to predict individual psycho-demographic profiles simply from their likes.
In a nutshell, they found that your likes can reveal everything from your sexual orientation, personality traits and IQ, to your race, age and gender. They can predict your religious and political views, whether your parents are separated, how happy you are and even whether you use addictive substances.
The relationship between like and voice.
What drives people to like things outside the boundaries of Facebook’s walls if the action is not accompanied by a social reward?
Here, the answer lies in the concept of voice. Voice is the opportunity you have to present your opinions in the decision-making process, before a final decision is made. As such, it can enhance your sense of satisfaction with your decision, as well as the process that led to it. Voice is instrumental because it helps you to increase control over the decision-making process, which in turn leads to a better outcome.
Numerous studies conducted both in the lab and in natural settings have shown that having a sense of voice can deepen positive feelings, even when it has no direct impact on a decision.
One such study that was designed to observe the effects of voice on both the sender and receiver found that voice increased satisfaction because it heightened the perceived value of the interaction. The study simulated a negotiation in the context of resource allocation, in which one group of participants was given the opportunity to voice their opinions prior to the final decision, and the other group was not.
The results indicated that in comparison to a no-voice condition, the voice condition (which yielded the same negotiation results) increased satisfaction with the decision, and generated positive feelings towards the process in both the sender and the receiver. This is exactly what the like is all about — it enhances satisfaction as it gives value to the whole engagement process.
Having a voice in the decision-making process has been found to enhance satisfaction on both sides — the side that has the opportunity to voice an opinion (the sender), and the side who hears the voice (the receiver). Pressing like after engaging in a personal activity online (reading an article, purchasing an item, watching a movie) is a way of expressing your voice.
There are two levels to the relationship between like and voice: explicit and implicit. At the explicit level, people press like to voice their positive feedback. At the implicit level, the phenomenon relates to the subconscious level of behavior. People value voice because it suggests that their views are worthy and have a positive impact on their social status and self-worth. The opportunity to voice an opinion is interpreted as an expression of respect and appreciation, and thus creates positive feelings.
Why your site should feature a like button.
Clicking like after reading an article, for example, is similar to saying: “I read this article, and I liked it. I want to express my views on the matter because my opinion is worth mentioning.”
The possibility of sharing your opinion online suggests that someone is interested in what you have to say, which in turn has a positive effect on your sense of self-worth. Moreover, it provides the website with a social context. Having the option to like something signals the presence of a real person on the other side, rather than just a virtual figure. The ability to talk back, send comments or share a link (all of which generate positive impact with minimum effort) has the same psychological effect, which is why an increasing number of websites are choosing to use this technique.
It is also possible to learn about the importance of voice from people’s reactions when there is no voice. The frustration effect refers to circumstances in which, despite the possibility for people express an opinion, the decision-maker does not take those opinions into consideration. In such cases, people typically end up feeling worse than they would have, had they not been asked to voice their opinions in the first place.
Another implication of the like is self-persuasion. Because our actions secretly influence our opinions, clicking like can encourage positive thoughts we might have towards a brand or person. Research has shown that after having people actively present persuasive arguments as part of role play, they tend to express positive views that support that argument. Asking someone to say something, even if it contradicts their own views and opinion, can secretly twist their beliefs into favoring what they are saying. Likewise, even if people are not fond of a particular post, object, person or view, the simple act of clicking like, even when done with no profound intention or conviction, can lead to a rationalization process that will subconsciously make them feel positively about that post, object, person, etc.
The like has become so much more than just a positive reaction we express towards something someone has posted or updated. This simple function has become an incredibly influential tool both for the sender and the receiver. Used in a positive way, it can promote self-esteem, self-worth, feelings of acceptance and online socialization.
Its significance stems from both social incentives, because like affects the way other people perceive us, and individual incentives, because it impacts how we feel about ourselves.
How Exactly Do I Start My Fashion Business?
Great! Glad you’ve taken the first step and decided to take your love for fashion more seriously. But you have no clue how to go about it. So, we’ll start from the very beginning… hopefully these steps will help shape that vision and move you from concept to reality.
Oh…P.S… It will not happen in one day, or a week, or even a month! If you want to do it properly, it will take a while. So remember these words… baby steps.
First Step? Making the decision!
You need to decide what exactly what you want to do in the industry and stick to it! This really is the hardest part because you might not even have a clue. And even if you do, people will advise you to go down a different route. So please make that decision before you start off or else you will be miserable – or worse, act on that advice and end up wasting a lot of money in the process. But the money isn’t really the issue here. The issue is you waking up one morning 10 years from now wondering how exactly you got there.
So if, for example, all you always wanted to do was design wedding gowns, find a way to make this work even if there is a lot of money to be made from sewing uniforms – EXCEPT you are doing it just to gather enough funds to start off. In which case, give yourself a time limit and stick to it as best as you can.
Next Thing? Writing a life plan for your fashion idea!
No no… don’t roll your eyes yet… I am not talking about a business plan here. Yes many of us tune off when we hear the term “business plan” (including me). Don’t worry, the business plan will come later and you can always outsource that. For now, get a notepad and a pen and begin to write – in clear terms what you want to do. If 5 years you have deviated from this plan, you can find your way back.
For example, you can start off with… (let’s pretend I’m the voice in your head in brackets guiding you along OR you can do this with a friend):
- I know I like fashion: Ok… yes we have established that. What aspect of fashion do you like?
- Ladies wear: Oh nice! Why ladies wear?
- I don’t know… I just love clothes and dressing ladies up: Ok… so why do you need to become a fashion designer to do this? You don’t have to be a fashion designer to dress people up. Perhaps all you really want to be is a stylist. Or do you want to do this because being a fashion designer sounds cool?
Hmmmnnn…. Well… At this point, you need to know who a fashion designer really is. So conduct some research and be sure this is what you really want to do. Convince yourself of why you want to be the person designing the clothes the ladies will wear… while I move on from this point…
Ok great! So ladieswear! What aspect of ladies wear? Everything! I would like to design everything a woman can wear! Errrr… Seriously? How is that even possible? Even if you can, let’s take one idea at a time.
Let’s get down to specifics. What do you want to start off with?
- I think I’d like to design ladies casual wear: You think? You’re not sure?! Let’s try again. What is the first thing you sketch when you put pencil to paper? [Now would be a good time to quickly sketch something. Even if you are not great at sketching. You can also explain your design in words. That will determine who exactly you are as a fashion designer.] You might think you want to design casual wear but find yourself designing evening wear.
- Okay…. Done! I know I want to design casual wear: Oh-kay! Nice! What type of casual wear?
- Maybe t-shirts: Maybe? Or certainly?! [Try your hand at another sketch]
- Actually I’ve always wanted to have my own T-Shirt line: Ok great! T-Shirts then! What type of T-Shirts?
- Printed Tees with an interesting twist: Ok… now I’m rolling my eyes. Please narrow it down.
- Okay, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to draw faces on t-shirts with safety pins and sea shells for example: This is the point where I tell you it does sound bizarre but hey… stranger things have happened in fashion. So who knows… it can work.
And that’s it! You go on and on until you begin to narrow it down or till you hit a road block. If you do hit a block… take a breather and start over from where you left off.
When you are done with soul-searching…
It’s time for Research! Research!! Research!!!
Oh this part is vital! Many of us hate doing research but it is key! Obviously, the Internet Institute is your first point of call! Many consume themselves with just the production aspect of design but I believe it is important to start from scratch.
Find out everything you need to know about making T-Shirts, right down to the history of t-shirts, how they evolved over time, who buys t-shirts, who wears the most t-shirts, how much do T-shirts costs, where are t-shirts produced e.t.c. Why? You might think ladies wear t-shirts but find out during your research that the type of t-shirts you want to design might actually appeal to teenagers. The question is, do you want to design for teenagers? It’s all up to you. Talk to people, ask questions, meet with t-shirt designers, etc. The research never ends – even when you start off. And whatever decision you make based on that research goes into that notepad as well.
After research (which is on-going by the way), the next step is to:
Get the Relevant Knowledge to Excel in That Field
Now is the time to get the skills – either through some form of formal education or through work experience. If you cannot sketch learn how to sketch. If you feel you want to learn how to sew, then learn how to sew – though it is not mandatory for fashion designers to know how to sew. However, with the horror stories I have heard from fashion designers about their tailors and machinists, you might be better off learning – no matter how little if you want to live longer.
SO! You can choose to go to a fashion school, be self taught (there are enough resources online if you do the research) or get some form of work experience – either paid or unpaid. That knowledge is necessary to guide your production team – regardless of whether you are producing the T-shirts in-house or outsourcing production. I tell you, it will save you a lot of headache in the long run!
Testing the Market!
You need to know if people will buy your designs before you take off! Ask people what they don’t like about your work – that way they give you proper constructive criticism. It helps you improve your product and also builds you a thick skin.
Testing the market also helps you know if what you believe was the greatest invention since… errr… cellphones is really that fab. You just might find out that the “oh-so-brilliant” idea you had of designing t-shirts with seashells and safety pins was a pretty dumb idea after all. Should you dump that idea?! Nope. You might choose to go ahead and take the chance or go back to the drawing board and restrategize by replacing the safety pins with bugle beads.
And just when you are about to launch out:
Pray! Pray!! And PRAY!!!
You really need that divine intervention. Only that inner peace can trump the fear that you are bound to feel deep down. And you will feel that initial fear but just go ahead and launch – no matter how small.
Launching does not necessarily mean having a fashion show. It could mean uploading your items or sketches on your site or online platforms, selling to your friends and colleagues, or just simply showing people your designs and taking their orders whilst working with your tailor. In my opinion, as long as you are ready to start accepting cash for your creative ideas, you have launched out.
Truth be told, it really is not that hard to become a fashion designer. The difficulty lies in being a successful one and I doubt anyone has the perfect recipe for success. But what I always say is what’s the worst that could happen right?You fall flat on your face or get some mean comments from people who hate your work. What do you do? You pick yourself up after crying for days and try again! Someone out there is bound to like your work and you will eventually carve out your own niche market!
Great! Those are my tips. I do have more but I’ll stop here. I’m sure there are a while lot more out there as well so if you also have tips and pointers for us, do share them as well so we can learn from you!
Village Minds Production has partnered Alliance Francaise Accra, Blaqsheep Multimedia Group and Vell Marty to bring you their latest latest play, The Barber and the Apprentice.
The play, set in the barber shop of Efo Agbedefu is set to keep patrons cracking up from the beginning until the end. Gossip does not abound only in the salon full of women, it is also found in Efo Agbedefu’s Barbershop and all the banks in the world cannot contain the gossip in this shop.
In Agbedefu’s Barbershop, there is always something to keep you smiling. The closecalls, the dubious antics of Kwamena, the overbearing attitude of Borga Boakye and the uncouth character of Naa Atswei. Here in this shop, where information is ripe and accurate, where adultery is glaring and corruption the order of the day. Join us as we ridicule society’s foolery.
Come get a haircut and stand a chance of getting the Onaapo hairstyle by Efo Agbedefu himself, or perhaps Kwamina’s down pelele. One thing that is certain is that you will be entertained beyond your wildest imagination.
This is the third play Nii Ayi Solomon is producing and it promises to be an exciting display of characters who will crack ribs and leave audiences happy for the rest of the weekend.
The Barber and the Apprentice is directed by Woelinam Kwame Dziewornu-Norvor and Cygishmel Da ‘Cherub. It is scheduled to hit the stage of Alliance Francaise, Accra on 10TH November, 2017 at 7pm prompt. With only GH 30 you are assured of a good laugh.
This event is sponsored by Rosefabricsgh, Your fabric haven. Other partners include myjoyonline.com, vivaghana.com, rimless caricature, Papa Cuisine and Rock radio and pulse.
For more information please call 0541146122
Elsie Ewudzie-Sampson is a professional female Graphic Designer at one of Ghana’s premier television stations, GHOne TV. She holds Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Design from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology -KNUST, Kumasi.
Elsie’s love for colours has not only influenced her profession as a designer and an artist, but also a major inspiration in morphing vibrant traditional African market avenue through the power of social media. “My love for colours drew me close to fruits, vegetables and local food ingredients, though cooking isn’t my hobby, I love to see fruits and vegetables properly packages and presented so they don’t lose their natural colour or look. I am a workaholic, I work almost every day of the week and when I am free I love to sit by my computer or stay indoors all day”
In the piece below, Elsie explained to us how she transformed her passion to start an online foodstuff delivery service in Ghana.
Her startup business: BIG SAMPS MARKET – Y’3nk) Gyaadze
Going to the market is a headache for me, tight schedule, family to be with and all that. This has been my life for a while, I also realised it’s the same with most of my colleagues and my friends. Noticing that busy schedules keep people of my calibre away from making time to go to the market to get their foodstuff, and even when you want to go, the stress and the traffic involved sometimes. I decided to come up with something that will help people like me while considering convenience, quality and cost. In Accra, when you mention ‘Agbogbloshie’ cheap or affordable groceries come to mind, so after all the plans and after a simple comment during one of my “Word of Mouth” marketing sessions, I got the “Mall quality” groceries at “Agbogbloshie” prices phrase. Now you can call me Adwoa “Agbogbloshie”
This Idea actually came up when I was in school in 2013, but I couldn’t implement it immediately due to inadequate funds. But I still decided to start it when I was in my final year in school in 2015. I made deliveries myself on foot just to see it work on campus.
Becoming a professional graphic designer and finding myself in a male dominating industry is one of my success stories and motivation. For new start-ups like Big Samps I wish us all the best. I’ve failed thrice but I never gave up. We can do it.
Facebook: Big Samps
Whatsapp: +233 549964842
Call: +233 501372047
Contemporary Ready to Wear Menswear Brand, Sheels Urbane releases its Debut Collection titled ‘Rebel’.
The Brand which is owned by Fashion Stylist, Aina Fayosola was created as a breakthrough for Modern Men to challenge the norm of the fashion Industry and its radical beliefs.
Check out a couple of the pieces!
The Collection features a luxurious print and creative pieces that can be styled to each Individual’s satisfaction.
Brand: Sheels Urbane | @Sheelsurbane
Photography: Ifeoluwa A | @Ifeoluwaar
Stylist: Aina Fayosola O. | @fayo_ths
Model: Korede | @koreybankz
IG&Twitter: @thekevinkoya www.facebook.com/thekevinkoya