The 3 Little Known Reasons Why Social Media Is so Addictive

Why Social Media Is so Addictive

According to a recent report teenagers are spending hours a day on social media including Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media services. The average person spends nearly two hours (approximately 116 minutes) on social media everyday, which translates to a total of 5 years and 4 months spent over a lifetime. Even more, time spent on social is only expected to increase as platforms

This number might be lower for adults but in general it’is only going to rise due to the fact that social media companies make more money, the longer you stay on them.

Think about this. The more time you spend on social media the more ads you see and the more ad revenue the social media companies make. It’s in their best interests to keep you using their service for as long as possible in order to make more from ads.

This is the case for just about all forms of social media. These companies are working as hard as they possibly can to find new and better ways to make their platforms as addictive as possible.

Facebook even uses a form of tracking called pixels to gather data from other websites that you go to to learn about what things you like. This makes it easier for their algorithms to target you with better ads. The algorithm adjusts advertisements to your own tastes based on the data they gather from their two billion users. They are the only company that gets way with placing their ads directly in front of you by putting it onto your news feed. Their complete business model is based on keeping you on their platform for as long as possible. Of course they made some changes after the latest scandals but only as much to keep the government coming after them. 

Social Media Gives You a False Sense of Accomplishment

I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves scrolling down the endless newsfeed of Facebook and Youtube for hours at a time. Why is social media so addictive?

Another study actually found that liking, posting and even sharing produces a dopamine rush very similar to what you would receive if you hug someone. When you start receiving these feelings by doing nothing except being hooked you lose all the motivation to get it the natural way. Because this would require you to going out into the real world and meeting new people, discovering new things or creating new things.

Why go through all that trouble when you can just keep on scrolling. 

Number 3, it lowers your self-esteem

Browsing social media gives you a false sense of what the world really looks like.

Everyone is posting only the most exciting ,the most beautiful or disturbing news and pictures.

The content we like to share typically these falls into 6 categories as Jonah Berger pointed out in his book “Contagious” 

  1. Social Currency 
    We all care about how we look to others. We want to seem smart, cool, and want to be liked.  
  2. Triggers 
    Top-of-mind means tip-of-tongue. We post content frequently so our peers are triggered to think us. 
  3. Emotion
    Emotional content often goes viral. When we care, we share. A lot of people focus just sharing their feelings rather any meaningful content.  
  4. Public
    The more people we reach the more followers we will get.  
  5. Practical Value 
    Of course sometimes we share things that has some practical value. Useful things get shared as well. This let’s us look like experts and we’ll get more shares. 
  6. Stories 
    We tell stories that people want to tell other which will carry your idea along for the ride. 

We want others to be like us. The best way to do that is to paint the most beautiful picture of ourselves for others to see. Very rarely will you see someone revealing the hardships in their life on social media.

The truth is that the majority of the time most of us aren’t always looking that great or going on amazing adventures or having the times of our lives. The majority of people have internal struggles going on just like you and me. However, if you scroll through your Facebook or Instagram feed it seems like everyone else is having a blast all the time.

When we constantly see all of this we feel left behind. We feel inadequate, out self-esteem sinks.

Social Media Hurts Our Social Skills

A study found that kids who grow up using social media show a significant decrease in social skills compare to those who don’t. This is because communicating through social media is very simple as compared to communication in real life. When you communicate through social media you really just have to be fluent in the English language and understand how to use emojis.

In real life there is things like social signals, body language ,tonality ,dealing with groups and much much more. These thing are super complicated and extremely subtle.

It’s not something that we can learn in a day. When we are on social media we can communicate with others without practicing any of these things. In the end we don’t get to see what really works.

We don’t get to see what makes others feels good, what makes others feel uncomfortable.

Socializing is just like any other skill and that we need to practice in order to get good and to stay good.

Spending Time on Social Media Is One of the Worst Investments You Can Make in Your Life

Time is the most valuable form of currency that you have. It’s valuable in the sense that it will only decrease, you will never have anymore of it. When you invest your time into social media it’s like investing money into a stock that will always drop down to zero. It makes no sense.  You’ll never get a return on investment you can only lose.

One day in the future, you’ll realize you’re 25 or 35 or 50 and you ask yourself:

Hey where did all my time go?”

Well it all went into that crappy stocky investment and you lost it all.

Instead ,invest your time into something else.  Almost everything is better than spending your time on social media (if you are not using it to “manipulate” people with ads to sell your products. However, if you are scrolling through your newsfeed your return on investment will always be zero or even less because you buy one of the products that are advertised. 

If you spend your time building a skill someone might pay you a decent money someday.

Even if you spend this time creating youtube videos, who knows?

You might be able to create a passive income stream. The only thing that matter is that you CREATE something not passively CONSUME. 

In the end, social media isn’t inherently bad, if you know what you are doing or use it for business.

Honestly I use it from time to time to stay in contact with friends from my European network. However mostly I used third party tools to share articles like this one.  

Of course Facebook has things like events, groups, messenger ,that are extremely useful tools but if you just mindlessly scrolling through your feed, you gotta ask yourself “What is the return on investment I’m getting here? “When you realize that it’s zero or even negative why are you still using it.

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