Is it time to really look at what social media is doing to us? The issue here is that we really don’t know the long term consequences of too much screen time, because being attached to screens for hours at our time is a relatively new aspect of our day-to-day lifestyle.
It’s been just 10 short years since the first iPhone was released and about the same amount of time since Facebook began to really start to pick up speed. Facebook in particular has changed our society in many ways, but there’s one most obvious change that has been coming to light in recent years — how addictive and time consuming it’s become.
Personally, I have noticed my own addiction to screens. I work on a computer, and in fact a large part of my job involves Facebook directly. I often get sidetracked by the endless scroll through the newsfeed, and although there is some great content and it’s nice to see what friends and family members are up to, or what’s happening in the world around me, for the most part it’s a waste of time, and realistically, it can be a trap.
I’ve realized that I’m not the only one who feels this way and even the ex-President of Facebook himself, Sean Parker, recently had this to say at a conference:
“The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible? And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments. 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. The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.”
Having Awareness About The Why Can Help To Break The Addiction
Knowing that there is an agenda behind this addiction, and that it is designed to keep you hooked, can potentially help you to understand why you may have fallen victim to it. Facebook is not the innocent bystander in this equation, as Parker mentioned, they know full well what they are doing, and designing it for that reason — to keep you online, to keep you stuck in this endless, often mindless loop of, “the scroll.” With that in mind, do you want to give away your power to a massive corporation that clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart? Because at the end of the day, what this all comes down to, at the bare minimum at least, is to sell you stuff.
Russell Brand had something to say about this as well:
So, What Can We Do?
For me, when I start to notice that I’m becoming addicted to anything at all, be it coffee, marijuana, sweets, gluten, I try and take a break from it, just to break the cycle and to regain power over the situation, recognizing the addicted thought pattern, then interrupting it at that moment breaks the cycle.
So, last night as I realized that this had become a problem again, I didn’t used to have Facebook on my phone at all, but when I was travelling without my computer I added it so I could continue to post etc., and keep up to date with some work, but somehow the addiction crept up again and before I knew it I would find myself with any amount of spare time and reaching to my phone to begin “the scroll.” Eventually, it was too much and as soon as I admitted this to myself I deleted the app from my phone entirely. It’s a huge waste of time, and there are much better things that I can be doing with that time.
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This is a good opportunity to check yourself, and if you’re thinking, ‘but I’m reading this article on Facebook, how else would I have seen this?’ This is a valid point, but there are other ways to access information! Facebook has taken over such a large portion of the internet over the years that we often forget what the internet looked like before the explosion of Facebook. It’s not that you need to quit using it entirely, just be aware of what it’s designed for in the first place, use it for your benefit — don’t let it use you.
Take The Power Back
Do you rely on Facebook for your daily news or reading? Don’t forget, that Facebook has algorithms that dictate what you are being shown, and what we (the Collective Evolution team) have learned is that Facebook has virtually killed any organic reach and instead will show content for pages that are paying a premium for it, this is a form of censorship.
Chances are, this article will not be shown because it is calling out Facebook directly. Several years ago, if you had a page ‘liked’ on Facebook, you would see content from that page, but now, without going to that page yourself, it is unlikely that you would just happen to see content from that page. Before Facebook took over everything, I remember using the bookmarks feature, and everyday I’d check the pages in my bookmarks (one of those sites being Collective Evolution) and I would find my news myself, instead of relying on Facebook to put it in front of my face. I feel that this is important, to keep in mind, that what you are seeing you are seeing for a reason. Let’s not forget how Facebook has essentially taken over Youtube, MSN messenger, and largely, methods of communication like texting and email as well. Is it wise to have all of our eggs in one basket? Or should we be more proactive with deciding on our own what we would like to see and which platforms to use?
What are your thoughts on social media and our addiction to it? Have you recently kicked the habit and feel much better for it? We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this topic in the comments section of this article.
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