The most relatable topic in the whole world, check! Everybody and their dog (literally!) is on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and the list goes on.
I literally Googled “how many people use Instagram daily” while writing this post and this is what showed up: “Of Instagram’s 1 billion monthly active users, more than 500 million of them use the platform every day”
Just go on YouTube and you’ll find hundreds if not thousands of videos like ” sOcIaL MeDiA iS RuInInG yOUr LifE aNd yOu DoN’t eVen kNOw iT “. Let me make it clear for the last time that you DO KNOW IT! We all know it! (sorry Victoria Justice 😉 )
Then why is it that even after knowing almost everything we see on social media is not the reality, we fall for it? Why is it almost as hard as quitting any addiction even though we know it is harming our psychology? Let us call it what it is, social media addiction! Ask yourself this question.
The most common answers received are “It is just an escape” or “I don’t really check it all the time” or “Oh no, I don’t use it all day” or “I think I’ll be missing out on something” something? really?
Don’t worry, I know how hard it is to snap out of this loop. Down below, we will explore some psychology behind this addiction.
Reasons Why Social Media is Addictive
1. Social Media Validation
This is the most important reason why people are addicted to these apps.
The people who designed these social media apps know it very well that it is addictive. I mean, that’s the whole of point social media, right?
This isn’t something I’m making up. There are instances where these people admit it and confirm the design philosophy behind most social media apps and features.
For example, Sean Parker confirmed: “It’s a social validation feedback loop… exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”
This is an excerpt from the book Digital Minimalism. I highly recommend you read it. If you want to read some of my favorite excerpts from this book, find out Books that will change your perspective.
For those of you who don’t know who Sean Parker is, he is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist, most notable for co-founding the file-sharing computer service Napster, and serving as the first president of the social networking website Facebook. [source: Wikipedia]
This is one of the reasons you can’t help going back to checking your phone every 2 seconds.
2. Identity Crisis
Running away from problems. Most people see social media as an escape.
This is fine until using social media as an escape is the only way you can experience some sort of change.
Most of the users are young impressionable teens who don’t really have a strong sense of self and what they aspire to be.
When you don’t know yourself, you let other people tell you who you are and you’ll probably start believing it gradually.
“What we see is what we become” is so true in this case. What was once beautiful, creative, aspiring is not anymore.
Yes, preferences change with time and exposure. But this goes hand in hand with the confidence and validation, on which these apps thrive.
This leaves those with little to no identity chasing a new personality or a hobby or a preference or interest every time there’s a new trend in the block.
3. Dopamine Release/ Pseudo-pleasure
You know these apps are a distraction and that you are wasting the time that is never coming back yet, you keep scrolling.
How many times do you check your phone after uploading a status or a story or a post?
Does the number of views/likes bother or affect your mood for the rest of your day?
If the answers were yes, then why are you still on these apps?
The simple answer to this is the dopamine your brain releases every time you upload a story/post.
Find out how and why short-term dopamine release is not good for you in this post I’ve written: The Ultimate Motivation Guide.
The pseudo-pleasure you get from literal random people viewing your story or liking your picture is what keeps you on the loop.
And, like Parker says, this is an exploitation of human vulnerability.
It is evident that dopamine release is a major factor in causing distractions and making you less efficient.
Therefore the lack of motivation to do anything, even checking out on your friends face to face for that matter! Because you’ve already watched their stories am I right?
A fellow blogger, Mike Worley has written an amazing post about social media which you can read here: Social media- benefit or nightmare
These were the most important reasons for social media addiction. There could be several other reasons for this. If you think I missed out on any, leave them in the comment section down below!
This post just covered the reasons for addiction and how we all take part in it knowingly! In my next post, I will take you through some tips on how you can break the loop of checking your phone and get work done!
So don’t forget to subscribe and join the list to get updated every time I post something on here! I would really appreciate your support!
Check out my other posts if you are into art or blogging or want some motivation tips! You can find them in the categories section below!