As the human race, we can learn a lot about ourselves, the things we care about and how we deal with things when looking back at social media.

Although not all of us are quick to post on social media, there is still a clear part of who we are reflected in the content that we like and the people that we follow.

What does social media teach us about ourselves? Let's take a closer look:

Humans are social beings

Regardless if you are an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, humans love being social in one way or another. If you are introverted, you might not be spotted at a party dancing the night away but rather spending some quality time with close friends. Being social is the one thing all of us have in common — it's just on our own unique terms.

So, where does social media come in and what makes social media, well, social? There are countless people that make use of online platforms. These range from Instagram to LinkedIn and, although built for different reasons, they all serve a similar purpose — and that is to connect people.

This makes it evident that on social media, all humans will have social interaction … but it is limited. This is simply because once you have liked all the new posts and checked out most of the fun videos, you might find yourself still feeling lonely rather than connected.

So, this teaches us that social media reflects that we want authentic connections and to engage in real social interactions. But this begs the question: Does social media actually offer this for its users? Food for thought!

Humans are storytellers

Storytelling dates back 30 000 years, which means that humans have been telling stories and teaching each other for many, many years. In the 21st century, not much has changed — humans still love telling stories, but now they’re being told in a different way. Enter — social media.

People tend to share a lot of their experiences, ideas and knowledge on social media platforms — especially on platforms such as LinkedIn. Now, as much as we enjoy telling stories, we also live for listening to them.

"This is what I treasure about social media — we can inspire one another,” says Vincent Van Patten, contributor for Medium.

It is evident that humans want to teach, be taught and relate or sympathise with others, and we do this through words. People now use social media in particular to tell their stories and talk about what they have gone through in hopes of uplifting another person.

Humans are emotional beings

Did you know that humans have 27 emotions? Or did you think we can only be happy, sad, angry or excited? Well, it turns out that you can experience a lot more than that. Social media is a great place for humans to share their emotions. This is from getting other people to be excited with them to convincing others to be angry with them.

Take, for example, the dress that no one seemed to agree on. You were either team ‘white and gold’ or team ‘blue and black’. The moment when a person chose their ‘side’, they passionately stuck to it!

Humans also stand firmly behind the causes that they believe in and can be quick to cancel a person or brand who is not doing right by them.

So, what does social media reflect back to us here? It shows that humans are emotional beings, regardless of how hard we try to suppress our emotions. Social media creates room for all 27 emotions online, which just reminds us that as humans, we are always busy feeling.

Humans want to belong

No matter how different a person views themselves to be from others, the need to feel that they belong to a group or community is always present. This can explain why so many people follow influencers and try to use the same products as them and buy the same clothes.

For example, if Kylie Jenner wears pink shoes with a yellow top then the 2.7 million people who liked that post on social media will likely do the same. Those wearing what she does will feel a sense of belonging.

By being part of a bigger online community, people feel they belong.
So, what does social media teach us about ourselves here? It tells us that, as humans, we are always looking for people that are similar to us, and we want to connect with them to feel that we belong through shared interests, backgrounds or ideas. On social media, we see this through groups on Facebook, communities on Instagram and ongoing live streams on Twitch.

What are some other things you think social media tells us about our own humanity? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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Speaking of humans being passionate, emotional and social beings, be sure to read Why being human on social media is not overrated.
*Image courtesy of Unsplash