How can we use Social Media as a Source of Gratification? If you ask me this question, my simple answer is Yes. Here, we look into how social media is giving that feeling of contentment and fulfillment to its users.
Wikipedia Explains Gratification as:
Gratification is the pleasurable emotional reaction of happiness in response to the fulfillment of a desire or goal. It is also identified as a response stemming from the fulfillment of social needs such as affiliation, socializing, social approval, and mutual recognition.
Gratification Theory by Social Scientists:
Social scientists have long ago discussed the uses and gratification theory concerning media utilization. Emphasis is given to creating content in the traditional media where content has been associated with the gratifying needs of its consumers. Alternatively, users consume media to satisfy or gratify their specific needs.
Social media is just a platform where content is generated for the users by the users. The purpose of using social media is different from traditional media and involves more of a human to human interaction. We use Social media to connect with other people, revive old connections, find new friends, promote a business, gain popularity, show off skills, or disseminate information, or gain knowledge.
A Few Case Scenarios Present Examples of Social Media Gratification:
Tina is a working professional. She frequently travels for work. So, she posts regular photos of her field visits and travels. She gets likes and comments from her list of 500+ ‘friends’ on social media. Her latest photo of working on a water and sanitation project in Africa got 200+ likes.
People praise her and get impressed by her job and for the perks of free travels to amazing destinations. Looking at pouring comments and likes on her photos makes her feel good.
Aly is a university student and lives in a hostel. He is in a study group of 10 students. All of them have birthdays in different months and in between other events of celebration happen. Hence, all of them get together frequently for parties and celebrations. He shared Photos and videos of the event on social media.
Aly’s birthday photo got 100+ likes. His cousins and family flooded in comments from all over the world. Therefore, not only they wished him, but they also get overwhelmed by his friend circle and, at times, envy his amazing university life.
Binny is a homemaker. She is not an excellent cook, but she likes to experiment with recipes and, she regularly posts mouth-watering food photos. She has an Instagram profile, and her photo expertise has gained her subscribers above 15k.
Her post about bite-size sausage rolls is a recent hit. Lots of her subscribers have asked her to do an online baking and cooking course on social media. She gives free samples of spices, recipe mixes, and cooking gadgets from various food-related companies regularly.
Tina’s job is stressful, and she is continuously looking for a better option to switch her career.
Aly, while reading all the comments, thinks how hard it is to gather friends and misses home terribly and thinks of his family.
Binny worried about the considerable investment losses she had while trying to set up a food delivery business.
Looking at the flooding of likes and praising comments, Tina feels contented. She has no success in her job search yet continues with her current job thinking about ‘support’ she is getting from her virtual friends. While scrolling through her social media profile, she starts to feel satisfied with her job even when she has a rough day.
Aly’s cousins have in-boxed him, telling him how lonely and quite their birthdays were because all the friends went back home for an early summer break. Aly feels happier than before, his feeling of loneliness subsides.
Binny has received another free package of baking pans that she adores. Her recent post gets her 50+ more subscribers. She starts to think that the investment losses do not mean much as her fan club is increasing, and maybe this is the work she should continue doing.
In the above cases, social media interactions have done immediate gratification of simple actions. The users feel satisfied and not realize that it is only virtual. Gratification does not only come through feedback in the shape of lovely comments. Every individual uses social media for some reason and purpose. So, whenever that sense of completion happens, users will have a sense of fulfillment. It leads to gratification. Do you know how to buy Instagram likes the UK from trusted suppliers?
It is also notable that no user consumes social media with a single purpose. Even if they have the sole purpose of joining social media, they can develop multiple purposes and use the media for a variety of reasons. For example, a person joins social media to make new friends, finds likeminded people to be friends with, and reconnects with childhood friends at the same time.
To a great extent, social media is the gratifying needs of its users. There are a variety of platforms, and if the user doesn’t feel satisfied with one, they switch to the other platforms. Also, if a user uses multiple social media apps, utilizing them all for maximum gratification.