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Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs In Social Media

Dominating Social Media With Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”

social-media-iconsIf you’ve studied psychology, or have an interest in it, you will have come across the name Abraham Maslow. You will probably also be familiar with what’s known as Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”.

If you haven’t heard of him, then read on… Actually, read on anyway!

Who is Abraham Maslow?

Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualisation and thus, self fulfilment. He stressed the importance of focussing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a “bag of symptoms. He is known as one of the founders of humanistic psychology.

You can read about him in more detail here

What constitutes Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

In a nutshell, it’s a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow about his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow used the terms Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem, Self-Actualisation and Self-Transcendence needs to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualisation at the top. See below.


While the pyramid has become the common way to represent the hierarchy, Maslow himself never used a pyramid to describe these levels in any of his writings on the subject. The most fundamental and basic four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called “deficiency needs” or “d-needs”: Esteem, Friendship and love, Security, Physical needs.

If these “deficiency needs” are not met – with the exception of the most fundamental (physiological) need – there may not be a physical indication, but the individual will feel anxious and tense. Maslow’s theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire the secondary or higher level needs. Maslow also coined the term Metamotivation to describe the motivation of people who go beyond the scope of the basic needs and strive for constant betterment.

The Hierarchy of Needs can also be transcribed to our modern social media networks. Here’s how:


These are the most basic of needs which reside at the bottom of the pyramid. Social media cannot fulfil these needs, and nor should that be attempted. They are: breathing, food, water, sex (people do try with this one!), sleep, homeostasis, excretion.


The social media platform best suited to the needs of the safety level is LinkedIn. It fulfils: security of body, security of employment, security of resources, security of the family, security of health, security of property. LinkedIn is a professional social network, for professionals who take it seriously. It’s therefore the best social platform suited to our need for safety when using social media.


The social networks that fulfil our need to belong are Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ These networks provide for our need to: have friends, connect with family, to socially connect online with partners, spouses, prospective partners (sexual intimacy).


Twitter and Google+ are the social media platforms where the needs in the penultimate level of the pyramid are met. They are the platforms where its users (usually) play nicely, connect professionally, share relevant content, (usually) encourage others. They fulfil the need for the following: self-esteem, confidence, achievement, self respect and respect for others.

Self Realisation

This is the top level of the pyramid and the pinnacle to aim for. The social networks that facilitate this are Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress. They fulfil the following needs: morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of acts.

Are you looking at your presence on these social media platforms differently now?


P.S. If you haven’t got any of the social media platforms and want to, but don’t have the time, we can help!

To read more about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, click here

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