I was catching up with a friend earlier this week over coffee. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this friend who we’ll call Junkie and catching up is imperative. I was so excited to meet her since the only conversations we’ve been having were online. And while that works for a time, nothing beats true face time.
I saw her from across the street. I waved to her and she put away her phone before she crossed and we hugged. The first few minutes were pleasant. We talked about the recent happenings that happened before it led to where we were. I started asking how she was and was ready to hear about all the juicy details of the past 4 years before she said “hold on, one minute” and went to check her phone.
By this time, I have already moved on from this addictive trait of people checking their phone every few minutes. I myself have tried so hard to get rid of that bad habit but I know not everyone can give it up.
But what is it about Facebook that really makes it so addictive to people? I can only theorize so tell me if this rings true.
First, it’s an easy way out of boredom. When we no longer have to deal with dull minutes because of our smartphones, why would we go back? In just 2 taps, you’re exposed to a plethora of information that will help you escape any boredom at all. With the unbelievable amount that people are sharing with each other nowadays, you’ll never run out of things to consume. Then we wonder why we get so tired in a day when all we did was stay on our phones.
Here’s the thing, some have claimed that being on social media fires up creative joy in the brain because of the many stimuli available to us at any given moment. Part true. But at the same time, we make use of the decision energy whenever we consume a link, a post, or a comment. And that’s a lot of decisions we’re exposing ourselves to.
Second, it feeds our ego. Let’s be honest. It can feel superb when people like your posts, pictures, funny comments, or the things you share. It validates you and it’s addicting! We feel so high after the last successful profile picture so you want to keep feeding yourself that same high. After all, we love talking about ourselves and here we have people who can so easily talk about you with you.
Third, there is consistent company. Even in the form of a person you barely know or a practical stranger. It’s addictive to know that you’re in a space where you are not alone. One post can generate a like or a comment, a share will be shared by others, comments are replied to. Forums and pages are filled with active users who are willing to partake in weird, constructive, and useless conversations.
There are a ton of reasons why Facebook has become a social media giant, why it continues to exist today, and it catches up well with our dynamic lifestyle. At the end of the day, everything should be in moderation. So if you find yourself choosing screen time over face time, it’s time to re-evaluate.