Recently I concluded that I’ve always been kinda withholding on social media. I’d never comment or respond to people, I wouldn’t like anything my friends were posting, I’d never share my friend’s cool stuff or really ever go out of my way to be supportive. And then I’d feel hurt when other people wouldn’t show me support for the stuff I’m working on.

I blamed it on a lot of things. I told myself I had high standards. I saw all these problematic trends that I didn’t want to participate in – the narcissism built into all of these interactions, the unrealistic fantasy lives everyone portrays. I wanted discussion and learning and hard conversations, but nothing here is built for that. So I tried to keep it all at arms-length.

But gradually, I’ve just stopped caring about any of that. This is what we have right now. It’s not going to become better by keeping a stick up my ass.

So you know what? Fuck it. You deserve that silly little dopamine rush we all get from the red badge that says you’ve earned the approval of your peers.

Your ten thousand cat photos? Carry on with vigor. That’s a cute goddamn cat alright.

Hey, the artwork you posted today maybe wasn’t your best work, but damnit you tried and you’re actively creating. Godspeed, my friend.

Uh…another selfie? I mean, damn that’s like the tenth one this week but you look happy and that new hat is, in fact, pretty fly.

All that’s to say – I think we should be generous with our affection. Remember how nice it feels when other people give you their approval, and pay it forward. These digital hearts and thumbs might be nonsensical to the extreme, but they’re all we’ve got.