If you are anything like me you have your phone by your side just about 24/7. The need to be connected is overwhelming at times and the FOMO effect (fear of missing out) can impact our daily lives in many ways.
When notifications starting pinging in your Facebook feed, do you feel like you need to answer them immediately? Do you check the likes on your recent post constantly? Does the comments or number of likes impact how you feel? There is a reason for this and its called dopamine.
Dopamine is created in various parts of the brain and is critical in all sorts of brain functions, including thinking, moving, sleeping, mood, attention, motivation, seeking and reward. According to a study of Australian consumers by San Francisco-based media-buying firm RadiumOne, social media usage is a dopamine gold mine. “Every time we post, share, ‘like,’ comment or send an invitation online, we are creating an expectation,” according to the study. “We feel a sense of belonging and advance our concept of self through sharing.”
Instead of dopamine causing you to experience pleasure, the latest research shows that dopamine causes seeking behaviour. Dopamine causes you to want, desire, seek out, and search. This might help explain why we feel compelled to click “like” so often.
Mauricio Delgado, associate professor of psychology at Rutgers University in Newark, says that marketers’ online efforts can have the same neurological effect on consumers as offline staples of living. You don’t even have to go through the physical exertion of clicking “like” to feel the rush, Delgado adds. “Often, if you have the earliest predictor of a reward—a sign of a social media alert, like your phone buzzing—you get a rush of dopamine from that condition stimulus.
We live in a world of instant gratification and can get this in a click of a mouse. It is not secret that we love to talk about ourselves. People devote about 30–40% of all speech to talking about themselves however online that number jumps to approx. 80% of social media posts. That’s a lot of me, me, me!
However 78% of people say the biggest reason they share is because it helps them to stay connected to people. Data suggests that we’re checking our phones an average of 150 times every day, and around 30% of the total time spent online is dedicated to Social Media. Excessive Social Media use is more than just a bad habit — it’s a matter of mental health.
This is why there are businesses like Talkspace developing therapy programs specifically for Social Media Dependency to help people manage their use of social media and the psychology impacts it has on them. And they have already treated over 300,000 people.
This is a big subject to talk about so I am only touching on the surface but hopefully it has given you food for thought.
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