The Psychology Of Posting Our Food Photos On Social Media
So, some people complain that people seem to love posting photos of their breakfasts, lunches, and dinners on social media. But honestly? Those are among my favorite posts. Why? Perhaps because no matter what other divisive things are going on in our world, one thing to which we can all relate? Eating. Most people I know like food. ;)
But is there more to it? Are we somehow hardwired to want to share our soon-to-be meals and snacks with our families, friends, and even random acquaintances? Studies indicate this may be so.
Psychologist Susan Albers explains in her article on Psychologytoday.com that there are various reasons why we feel compelled to "share meals" with our friends on Instagram, Facebook, and the like. Here are just a few:
The Photo Replaces a Chat by the Water Cooler. Social media has replaced some of the in-person chatting that may take place between friends and co-workers. Albers gives the example of telling your friend "you wouldn't believe the steak I had last night." Well, now they will cuz you've got the photo to prove it.
It's a Way To Confess Our Food "Sins." Now, not everyone posting a picture of their French Silk Pie is feeling guilt over this delightful little decadence. But for some, posting that photo of their four chili cheese dogs may be a way of coming clean. Sometimes, people hope their friends will alleviate their guilt by leaving some "go girl, treat yourself" type comments. This is usually what happens. Some may chide them for their lack of self-control and tell them they need to eat more healthfully. Usually we don't want to talk to those people anymore, though, do we? ;)
It's a Way to Share Your Mad Culinary Skills. Social media is how we share what we're up to. That may be finishing a degree, getting married, having a child, buying a new house, taking a vacation. It may also be sharing your burgeoning chef-dom. How many guys have you seen post their grills filled with their signature brisket or sausage? Your cousin shared the photos of her perfectly baked peanut butter cookies and wonders if you'd like the recipe? (The answer by the way, is YES.)
Other reasons range from our inherent primal ways of connecting to one another. "Breaking bread" together has always been a way humans have shared time by a fire or at a table. Sharing photos on social media allows us to do this, at least virtually. Food is something we all have in common. It comforts us. Cooking and sharing food is one of the most "human" things we do. It's about connection.
And really, isn't that what social media should be about?