A few years back, when I was growing up there was only SMS and voice call. Messenger or whatsapp did even not exist, Skype did and even Facebook but only to an insignificant extent, access to those were mostly on computers and mostly unavailable on mobile phones. There was more of a real world rather than a virtual world and life was completely different, more family time existed. People lived and not just “like” and “follow”. At the moment, social media has spread its tentacles over virtually all domains of human life. When at one time we questioned how we could live with social media, we now question how we could live without it.
The content on these engines are engineered and everything is targeted specifically according to the marketing strategies of those companies. Scrolling on Facebook or Instagram feeds can make us feel inferior. The human mind is being constantly programmed online, We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested.
Let’s dive in deeper, only 10% of all our behavior is conscious, 90% of all our actions that governs our behavior is coming from the subconscious mind. The conscious mind deals with the past, the present and the future whereas the sub conscious mind lives in the present moment and is non linear and non judgmental therefore it does not think or reason independently. The subconscious mind works through images and sounds and as a matter of fact, everything that we see or we hear are being stored inside this part of the mind. Being habitual in nature, it works through repetition. Therefore if you repeatedly see same content you will be automatically influenced by it. Suggestion are everywhere, when you listen to the advertisements on the radio or television, you are specifically being given suggestions which your subconscious mind blindly accepts [non-judgmental]. The next time you go to the supermarket, you will pick up the products there is no ifs and buts . Facebook or other social media are worse than Television Programming for your brain. Far worse.
In the past few years, research has begun to reveal how awful social media is for our brains. It can lower our self-control, which can boost impulse spending and food cravings. It can make us more open to peer pressure. It seems to hurt our self-esteem and make us feel lonely, frustrated and angry when comparing ourselves with others. And the online chat functions can seriously mess up our perceptions of everyday in-person interactions.
When we receive likes on our pictures that we post or view an attractive picture, dopamine is released in the same reward pathway that is stimulated when we eat delicious food, make money, have sex, or use cocaine. Dopamine is an organic chemical released in the brain and associated with pleasurable feelings
Have you ever noticed the rush you get from scrolling on Facebook feeds, checking your email, googling a subject of interest, browsing your Twitter feed, receiving a text from your love interest, peeking at what your friends are up to on Facebook, or other similar internet-fueled activities? Did you notice that the anticipation of receiving the information you had sought out was often more gratifying than receipt of the information itself?\
A biologically-based need for seeking drives these Internet activities that you come to crave. The culprit that propels your seeking behavior is a simple organic chemical, or neurotransmitter, called dopamine.
Dopamine is a key player in the brain system concerned with reward-driven learning. Dopamine has many functions in the brain, including roles in behavior and cognition, voluntary movement, motivation, punishment and reward, sleep, dreaming, mood, and attention – just to name a few! Dopamine is released by rewarding experiences such as food, sex, drugs, and neutral stimuli which become associated with these things.
New studies suggest that dopamine regulates the motivation to act. Recent observations indicate that the brain is more active when people are anticipating a reward rather than receiving one. This is because we are wired to seek, and to really enjoy the thrill of the hunt.
The Internet can ensnare you in a dopamine loop since it makes the process of reward-seeking so quick and easy. Before you know it, you have several tabs open in your Internet browser so you can monitor and engage with your various social media channels while you try to get some work done. Over time, you may add more channels and/or check them more frequently.
That would explain why we feel the urge to check our Facebook feeds so often and even worst is the craving for dopamine releases in the brain that we get when our posts are flooded with comments and likes. However it doesn’t necessarily give us that much pleasure once we’ve checked it and seen what others have posted. So in short, Facebook addiction is nothing less than drug addiction. And in case you didn’t notice, you are allowed to deactivate your account but once you change your mind you can automatically reactivate it in a single click. The reality is now we are too afraid to unplug the wires because we’ve grown too attached to the reality of social media and we are dependent on it.
The reason why Facebook, Twitter, and similar social networking websites have attracted hundreds of millions of active global users lies in people’s desire to feel connected. At our very core, we all long to experience a sense of togetherness and belonging. The sense of being connected with others makes us feel loved, secure, happy–it helps break our attachment to our tiny little egos and identify ourselves with something bigger–a community. But can social media truly achieve that?
Well, not really, and this is the hidden danger of social media: fooling us that it can substitute the real thing we are seeking for. Although social media does help people connect, the reality is that it does so only on a superficial level. Using social media can help us communicate in the form of text, images, or videos, which is all good and nice–but can that substitute true personal intimacy and physical bonding?
Initially the Social engines was purely meant for connecting with friends but now there are more happening behind the scenes. Once the masses were gathered on the platform, all companies converged for making money. Your every single clicks are being tracked and monitored to be used intelligently for marketing and sales purposes. Facebook and other social networking website uses you insights from your activities to constantly feed your mind with stuff that will please you. Even worst, if didn’t please you it no longer a problem to make sure it does through suggestions and mind programming! Think about it, Social websites like Facebook makes extra marital affairs, gay philosophies, porn addiction, drug addiction, violence, terrorism so widespread and part of our life to such a repetitive extent that ultimately this is what we become [the subconscious mind is accepting it all].
It sabotages your Self-Worth
Facebook, twitter, Instagram etc all are sabotaging your self-worth, crushing it endlessly. When you are thirsty and you buy yourself a chilled Coca-cola, the thirst goes but only temporarily you end up looking for water eventually. Similarly Facebook does it to your self-worth. When you are connected, you are on a roller coaster ride with all the wow!, ooh!, great!, love it!, hate it!, funny, shocking, interesting, nice, and then it drops you down completely once you log out. As a matter of fact, the longer you are log in, the more self-absorbed and worthless you feel and trust me no one realizes it!
It alters your appetite
According to Women’s Health, “food porn” photos can activate the brain’s reward center and compel viewers to overeat; one study suggests that even looking at food images after a meal can trigger hunger. Facebook and Instagram does it all the time.
It messes with your ability to think independently.
One study from HP Labs found that people were more open to peer pressure within social networks. Subjects were more likely to change their minds about “liking” certain things (normal sex vs gay sex, for instance) and more likely to change their minds if there were a moderate number of Likes on the other side. For example, you don’t like Indian food but you see thousands of likes on a restaurant page, you end up liking it too and going to the restaurant. Initially you didn’t like it, but they make you like it!
It makes you spend more money.
New research suggests that heavy social media use might be correlated to lower self-control, which marketing experts believe could lead to higher spending. “Ultimately, the way you counteract this is by raising your self-awareness,” Professor Keith Wilcox from Columbia University says: “It’s not about don’t spend time on Facebook, but just be aware of what it might be doing to you.” When you look at pictures of models and friends, especially those selfies on Instagram or Facebook, you have no choice but to feel inferior and you ultimately spend money in stores if not online to constantly be up to the level or better!
It can “butcher” real-life conversations.
Susan Greenfield of Oxford University has compared online chats to buying prepackaged meat at a store: “Perhaps future generations will recoil with similar horror at the messiness, unpredictability and immediate personal involvement of a three-dimensional, real-time interaction.” Ask a teenager to go out and ask a girl out in person, new generation find it more and more hard to do it. Worst of it all, think about the same teenager giving an interview, catastrophic!
It makes you seek validation
When you take a selfie and post it online you are in fact seeking validation. We’ve always wanted to be accepted. Social media has just exacerbated this desire in the form of likes and comments. Seeking validation online is a danger because it has us relinquish our power to affirm ourselves even more. We now look for even more external measurements to our worth. When we seek validation, we attempt to define who we are online and far far from being our true selves. We no longer believe in who we are!
It hurts your self-esteem.
When two German universities joined forces to investigate social networking, researchers discovered that one in three people surveyed felt worse (“lonely, frustrated or angry”) after spending time on Facebook, often due to perceived inadequacies when comparing themselves to friends. That friend who got the new job might have marital issues or suffer severe debt. The friend who bought the new house might be an alcoholic or abusive. In my experience, the majority of Facebook users post only things of a positive nature, If Mr X bought a house she must have everything she wants in life. She’s better than me. He made it. I didn’t.
It makes you compare
When we see other’s accomplishments, how many of us envy them? How many of us compare instead of connect? Like validation, we’ve always done this with our friends in school or at work. But with social media’s ability to edit our image, we now do this even more. It’s time for us to stop comparing ourselves to others and place the power back in our own hands to judge our worth. People devote huge amounts of energy in measuring themselves against others and irrationally coming up lacking. Social media worsens the comparison game. You see a friend excitedly announce a new job on Facebook and think, “Why not me? I’m worthless,” You see a friend posted pictures of a newly bought house, you look around your small room and lament that you have so little financially — this despite knowing you have a beautiful loving partner, an incredible child, and a great deal of caring friends and family. you chastise yourself for not having the money to provide your family with a house. you end up hating yourself for not being able to afford it! Your mindset shifts from positive to negative.
It makes you negative
You wake up in the morning and first thing is a dose of Facebook or Instagram and all you get is shit content, negative news [accidents, rape, drugs, porn, etc.]. The content triggers your mind in a negative direction whether you want it or not. Well your day started well, isn’t it? how do you expect it to be now, positive? well, No!
It makes you bitter
“Why didn’t he like my picture!” “Why didn’t she commented on my post”. Bitterness is created when one person liked another status and not ours, or that one person shared a moment with another friend and not me. We grow bitter from what you see on social media and isn’t it best cure is to step back from the platform that only fosters a bitter emotions.
It makes you care about the wrong things
We used to care more about real, tangible things—like my relationships with my siblings or parents. Who cares about earth or spiritual development of our own self? Now all that is being watered down with cares about a virtual world—how my image looks on social media or how many “likes” my Instagram photo got. Give priority to what happens in the real and visible present, not what occurs in a virtual world.
It makes you chase arbitrary numbers
Like all social media platforms, Facebook is a numbers game. How many friends do you have? How many people commented on your post or picture? How many likes did your video get? If you suffer depression and receive few comments or likes on a picture or post, you’re predisposed to taking it personally — they didn’t like it so they don’t like me. Rarely does it enter the brain that people might not have seen it or are too busy to comment. Further, some people are even inclined to “collect” Facebook friends even if they don’t like the person.
It makes you waste time
We understand that time is valuable but do we care online? Why waste it with people, interactions and advertisements that offer no return for our attention. Social media forces us to waste time with these sort of things. It’s better to invest limited and valuable time in something that gives the world—and us—more value.
It makes you isolated
On social media, we are in a world within a world. It’s easy to shut ourselves off from interaction because we end up believing that interaction online is enough and fulfilling. It’s easy to not see people all day, but rather see them online. Depression is an isolating disease because you spend your life horrifically alone in your head. Imagine being in a room filled with friends, family and loved ones and still feeling utterly lost and abandoned. Now compound that with staring alone at a screen reading about other people’s lives, hoping and waiting for someone to comment on or like something you wrote. Even more interactive Facebook components such as participating in a discussion or conversing via IM can have detrimental effects. The people with whom you’re interacting are flesh and blood, but they’re not physically in your presence; online they’re wisps in the wind. If they’re “Facebook Friends” and nothing more, they can be reminders of the lack of closeness in your life — whether real or perceived. If you have friend abroad each time you interact with them on Facebook it’s like a piercing reminder that they live hundreds of miles away. When you logout you are almost immediately punched by a deep sadness increasing my loneliness on the friendship front.
It makes you depressed
It’s impossible to keep up with Facebook because people are always posting one thing or another. Thus it’s highly plausible that as a user, you’re going to miss cool pictures, announcements or humorous posts. And the more friends you have, the more you’re going to miss out. It makes us feel depressed that we are letting friends and family down.
This happens to all of us. we scroll and scroll and scroll, but we just can’t keep up. It feels like we are in a race running through thick mud as the finish line moves further and further away. Negative thoughts bombard us— What did I miss? Will my friend hate me because I didn’t like a picture of his kids or comment on his post? What if I missed a birthday? I CAN’T KEEP UP!
And then the debilitating guilt and fear and the horrid, selfish aspect of depression set in. I’m letting people down. My friend will hate me because I didn’t comment on their post, they’re not going to like something I post out of spite. They’re going to forget me, unfriend me, even banish me from a group. It’s a vicious cycle because the more I spiral, the less I check Facebook and the more I “fall behind.” And even though I know it’s illogical, I have immense trouble stopping my depression from ensnaring me in its massive grip.
So this list can go on and on, seriously but it makes no sense to continue because chances are that you will scroll on Facebook or Instagram after reading this post, or you will like another page like a Zombie. But let’s take a moment and think where life is going, what direction are we heading into, is it worth it? Are we conscious about it or we are just following blindly. Reality is we are no longer conscious, we are blindly following and they make us do what they think, they make us like what they want, they make us eat or drink what they want.
Welcome to the virtual world within the real world, you are a human turned into a an online zombie, you don’t crave for blood but you craves for likes and follows and the dopamine rush. You forgot that you have a soul that is connected to god, you forgot that you are limitless, you forgot that you were born different…