Nowadays, many of our social interaction and consuming behavior can be related to Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs. Created by Maslow, his hierarchy of needs can be viewed as a motivational theory which is composed by a five-tier model of human needs (McLeod, 2018). Belonging to the psychological field, Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs theory looks like a pyramid with different levels. The five –tier model includes levels of basic needs, safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs and self-actualization from the bottom to the top (McLeod, 2018). Each of the five-tier level is prepotent to the next higher level (Mathes, 1981). After learning Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I have gradually find that his theory is in accordance with my accumulated experience and increasing psychological needs, as I have grown up year by year. Particularly, the third level belongingness and love needs shows a significant role in motivating my personal behavior in a wide range of social aspects in current period.
Social networking services have seen rapid diffusion around the world (Cao et al, 2013). In modern society, the emergence and popularity of social network has largely change the way of communication and interaction for a great number of people especially the younger generation, which can be characterized by its real existence, open interaction and equal participation for all users. For the younger generation including me, we are frequent users of some different social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, We-Chat and so on. The social media provides a platform for us to post words, pictures and share personal feelings with others. We can also interact with others by looking through their sharing contents, giving likes and making comments. In this process, the belongingness and love needs can be effectively realized. Taking myself for an instance, I have joined different social groups on my Facebook. I can chat with them about my favorite movies in a group. I can also give my opinions on how to survive in many popular electronic games. We form a group sharing similar hobbies and use different ways to communicate with others, indicating a new approach to satisfy the belongingness and love feelings. As a matter of fact, no one is able to survive on a lonely island. Everyone needs to be more or less connected with the people around them. This kind of social need is not only the relationship among people, but also the sense of belonging to a certain group. Without these belongingness needs, the person may be unhappy and feel unable to enjoy life.
Ability to satisfy the belongingness and love needs is supposed to be taken as the key point in many social media platforms. Without going outside, we are able to learn what is happening in the whole world. We can learn that a friend Cathy has gone to a party, a neighbor John has travelled to a mountain with a series of scenery photos and a classmate Steve has posted an internship position. A large amount of information moves towards us in pieces, filling every corner of social media. Personally, by having an account in Facebook, I am able to meet with a lot of people due to some shared topics although we used to be totally strangers. My relationship with some people has been strengthened as we usually interact on Facebook. Facebook has carried a huge source of information allowing us to keep up with the latest news of friends, greatly satisfying the belongingness and love needs in our deep heart. Some people feel reluctant or have no time to take part in the real activities in life. For these groups of people. Social media has become an important part for maintaining the social relations, making it hard to imagine what interpersonal life will be like once the social media has collapsed.
Benefited from social media, I have known some classmates and made some friends before being situated in a new school environment. This has provided some advantages and convenience for me to be adapted to the new environment. However, social media has also brought some disturbing problems while largely satisfying the belongingness and love needs to some extent. I am wondering if many young people have this kind of feeling. When logging in personal social media account, it is hard for us to see some complaints or unhappy sharing of some friends. Conversely, the majority of shared contents are some good photos like scenery, delicious food, family and good life. It seems like that everyone is always enjoy the most beautiful things in life, showing a harmonious beauty. I have an old friend Mary who always prefers to post her own photos after being filtered and processed by Photoshop. The truth is that she looks common and fat in life. This gives me a sense of unreality actually, making it possible for me to make a further reflection on how to satisfy the belongingness and love needs. Everyone wants to show their best aspect in front of others. This is a way to create a good impression on others and to establish positive social images. More importantly, the refraction of the image in social media indicates our deeper needs in belongingness and love.
Human needs evolve from low to high. Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs reflects the common law of human behavior and psychological activities, showing an enlightening effect on moving enthusiasm. It is important for us to learn what are our current psychological needs and try to use effective ways to satisfy our needs by following his theory. As a young and unexperienced student, the main focus is the third level for me, namely the belongingness and love needs. This can be largely realized by social media interaction and real life activities. I want to have different groups of friends to share similar hobbies. To discuss about commonly concerned topics and to improve academic and professional abilities for future graduation. In the next several years, I may have higher psychological needs to be satisfied, the esteem needs. The key is to develop rational attitudes towards Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs theory and try to play the full advantage of it by applying the theory in personal life.