Whether you are a fan of social media or not, it is now a part of everyday life – from messaging one another and sharing pictures to advertising our businesses and even using it to catch criminals!
There is no denying that we are all slightly obsessed with social media. But what is it about it that makes it so addictive? Here are 10 reasons why.
One reason why social media is so addictive is that it gives us validation. Humans have evolved in a way that makes us crave inclusion from other people. When we create a post on social media, we feel satisfied when another individual ‘likes’ or ‘comments’ because it makes us feel included and liked by others.
Social media apps are created by groups of extremely intelligent individuals who want us to use their apps so much that it becomes part of our everyday routine. You may not be aware of the impact different sounds have on the brain.
When we hear a ping, buzz, or ring, the first thing we do is connect the sound to a certain notification before rushing to our cell phones to see who is trying to contact us.
App creators use these sounds to cleverly pull us away from our world offline and connect us once again to the world of the internet to ensure we are spending time on social media.
The fear of missing out also makes social media addictive. When we aren’t using social media, we feel like other people are enjoying life more than us because they are posting about it.
Therefore, we feel like we need to let the world know that we aren’t missing out by tagging ourselves at events and locations.
The ‘like’ button is another reason we find social media so addictive. Not only can we see who it is that is liking our posts, but we can also see how many people like it. Individuals who gain more likes than others are often thought of as better or more popular than others who may not receive as many.
Social media creators use this as a means for individuals to carry on communicating, which gives the app more air time. For example, we tend to ‘like’ anything posted by friends and family because we know they will ‘like’ ours back.
Social media is competitive. Users feel they need to post everything about their lives to look like they are doing more than others. This is addictive and is the reason why social media apps allow users to tag themselves at bars, restaurants and other public places.
Users want other people to know they are essentially living their best life by making sure they update their social media apps every day, sometimes more than once.
When we wake up in the morning, the first thing many of us do is check our social media apps to see what others have posted.
The unpredictability of what we are about to see as we scroll is another reason why social media is addictive. The anticipation has a psychological impact on the brain and is why we find it hard to tear ourselves away from social media because we unknowingly enjoy this feeling.
We feel rewarded in some sense when we use social media. Not every notification makes us feel happy, but most of the time, we feel rewarded because we feel validated.
The unpredictability of social media is rewarding and is what makes us feel the need to check our cell phones constantly.
Social media apps are designed to be addictive. Even when users try to stay off social media, it is not long before they start to receive notifications and emails to make them aware of what they have missed out on.
The bright colors keep our minds stimulated and wanting more, while the familiar notification sounds keep us connected even when we are away from our cell phones and computers.
Apps such as Instagram and Snapchat allow users to film short videos so other users can see, like, and comment on them. However, there seems to be a hidden agenda here as the more videos users film, the longer they are spending on the app, which makes it highly addictive.
A Bad Habit
We all develop bad habits throughout our lives. A bad habit is usually biting your nails, leaving a bath towel on the floor, or putting the milk carton back in the fridge even though it’s empty.
Social media can also be classed as a habit, and if we spend too much time scrolling, it is easy to see why this can turn into a bad one.
These days, we are so consumed with what others think of us that we forget to put our phones down and simply enjoy the present moment. Wherever we go, individuals are constantly staring down into their screens or taking pictures to post on social media.
It has become such a bad habit that people can often feel depressed or anxious because they are so consumed by social media and the need to feel validated.
We Can Be Whoever We Want to Be
The beauty of social media is the fact that we are in control of how we present our lives to others.
Every person on the planet has problems, yet we only want people to see how much we are enjoying our lives. This is addictive because we want to maintain this perfect image to make us feel validated and important.
Many users enjoy editing selfies so much that they appear unrecognizable and go on to publish these images on social media. Users know that a picture of them looking beautiful will get more ‘likes’ than an image where they look like an average person.
It is hard to deny that social media is addictive. We enjoy posting content that we know people will like to make us feel included and important. But we need to ask ourselves why this is? Why do we care what others think about us?
One thing we do know is that the brains behind social media are only getting smarter, and right now, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight!