I finally made some progress on this whole internet/social media thing that has been bugging me since AHS12. So here's my hypothesis: I think the internet has pushed people more towards approval seeking.
Here's an example. Let's say you post a picture on Facebook and nobody "likes" it. So the picture has no value, right? Of course not. The picture has value to you, regardless of how many people like it.
Yet in spite of this simple example, I see logic to the reverse of this all the time. "This website gets xxx hits per month so that shows how great it is". "Here's how to drive more traffic to your blog". "How to get more Likes on Facebook".
The primary motivation for an action (assuming it is voluntary) is that a person wants to do it. Now if other people like or approve of this action, I see that as a secondary source of motivation. It's nice if others approve or even if a large number of others approve, but it is not the central reason for the action.
For a further example, take these two viewpoints to their logical conclusions. Let's say you write/take photos/take some action because it's what you like to do. You are in control and therefore you are the primary driver of behavior.
Now let's say you write/take photos/take some actions primarily for the approval of others. So what do you take photos of? Well, what's popular right now? What do you write about? Maybe you can do some Google analytics and write about popular topics.
But is this any way to spend your time? At that point you become more of a pollster rather than a creator. And I don't think there's much joy in letting the world dictate what you should do with your time and energy.