Look at me: why attention-seeking is the defining need of our times

Discussion in 'Gaming and Technology' started by Lancer, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. Lancer

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    The urge to belong is universal. So would a better understanding of it help tackle loneliness – and explain why stalkers, spree killers and jihadists turn their pain on others?

    here is a famous Jewish mother joke. You’ve heard it before. Question: How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: “Ah no, I’ll just sit in the dark. Don’t worry about me.” It’s funny, at least the first time, because people do behave like this. “Hey, over here!” they shout. “Ignore me! Ignore me!”

    Everyone needs attention, like we need to eat. This is not controversial, nor is it hard to understand. But the idea must be slippery, because it will not stick. If we could keep in mind that people need attention, it would change the way we see almost everything they do, from art to crime, from romance to terrorism. And we must. Facebook alone harvests and sells the attention of 1.4 billion people every day. That’s about a fifth of the world. This alarms some people, and it is a big change. But we can’t know what to make of it until we understand what people need attention for.

    Attention is other people thinking about you, and if there were ever humans who didn’t need it, they are now extinct. “Attention is one of the most valuable resources in existence for social animals,” says Dr Geoff MacDonald, a psychologist at the University of Toronto with an interest in human connection. “It was literally a matter of life and death. The people who didn’t feel good around others, or didn’t feel bad when they were separated from others, wouldn’t have the motivation to do the things that are required to pass their genes down the generations.”

    Specifically, people have been shown to need a type of attention that psychologists call belonging. Abraham Maslow put belonging into his famous hierarchy of needs in 1943. In 1995, Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary concluded in their paper The Need to Belong that the available research did indeed show that everyone has a “strong desire to form and maintain interpersonal attachments”. In particular, they identified that belonging means getting positive attention from people who know you well.

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    This isn’t hard to understand either. Someone who thinks well of you is more likely to cooperate with you. Or even mate with you, if you’re lucky. But their opinion only really counts if they’ve spent a lot of time with you, because that makes their idea of who you are more accurate, and only accurate approval is secure. “If you feel like you’re accepted for false reasons then that’s bound to create anxiety,” MacDonald says.

    People who feel they don’t belong suffer terribly, and experience health problems comparable to smoking or obesity. They are the 18% of British adults who reported always (4%) or often (14%) feeling lonely, in a studypublished last year by the British Red Cross and Co-op. There are more lonely people in Britain than live in London. The problem is now obvious enough for the government to appoint a so-called “minister of loneliness”, Tracey Crouch
    The word loneliness is a good description of the feeling...
    Look at me: why attention-seeking is the defining need of our times
     
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  2. Lancer

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    Personally, I think it's only going to get worse with folks seeking attention on social media. I will say with non-hetero men its going to or has even become a survival technique. 'Oh you are not on Snap chat, Facebook, Kik, Instagram, G chat, OnlyFans, Connect Pal? Next!' Follower count is a social currency now.
     
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  3. African King

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    I just joined IG maybe 7 or 8 months ago. It is alright but it doesn't run my life. Facebook has been the thing I've been on since college in 2008. When I first joined Facebook from 2008 to 2011, I was on it so much then the amount of time I spent on it went down so much. I even have had it deactivated for as much as one or two years at a time at least TWO TIMES since 2011. I feel like people can just do too much on social media. Especially feeling like they need to share every major personal or professional accomplishment on there.
     
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