In this day and age, we are always surrounded by the smartphone latest technologies and devices. There has been a considerable increase in the number of persons between the ages of 15 and 40 who are addicted to social media (Teenagers and young adults). There was a time when only a few could afford the internet, and then only for their essential work, rather than to be active and showcase themselves on social media. However, as technology has advanced, the internet has become more accessible to everyone, which is good, but it has also increased social addiction.
Communication is necessary for all of us to communicate with one another, and it is unavoidable. However, today's communication is vastly different from that of the past. We used to communicate with each other through face-to-face interactions, not by liking or commenting on someone's post and then messaging him or her. A simple heart reaction to our post can bring us joy, and a text message or meme from one of our close friends can brighten our day in seconds. Overall, our fear of being judged by our peers, as well as our dread of missing out on a new trend, has led us to become more socially addicted.
We all need a platform to promote ourselves and show off our lifestyle, and social addiction feeds on people's egos and increases self-esteem. It's a natural human tendency, and social media provides the ideal platform for us to do so, as someone's popularity is measured in terms of followers and likes they receive. We live in a culture where we are always required to update ourselves to display what we are doing by publishing it to our social media feed to earn more followers and likes. Furthermore, social media sites have served as an excellent platform for social comparison and demonstrating a person's self-esteem.
Likes, comments, and posts we publish on social media may appear insignificant at times, but they are important. They delve into our cravings, desires, concerns, and joys, which are some of the very things that make us human. The temptation of social media addiction isn't solely mental. It's possible, due to two hormones produced by our brains: dopamine and oxytocin. Unpredictability, little amounts of information, and reward cues all increase dopamine production—pretty much the same variables that exist on social media. The draw of dopamine is so great that studies have revealed that people find it more difficult to resist tweeting than cigarettes or alcohol.
Humans spend 30–40 percent of their time talking about themselves. However, online, that number rises to almost 80% of social media posts. Face-to-face communication is complicated and emotionally draining since we don't have time to think about what to say and must rely on visual cues and body language. We have more time to construct and refine things when we're online. Self-presentation, as defined by psychologists, is placing yourself in the way you wish to be seen. Self-presentation gives us such a powerful emotion that browsing your own Facebook profile has been found to boost your self-esteem.
We have a hard-wired desire to pass on information. Even before we do anything, the mere concept of sharing activates our brain's reward centers. People claim that they share to better understand who they are and what they care about. However, the most important reason we share is for the benefit of other people; they share to stay connected to others.
Facebook is a great example of a platform where people love to like, with over 2 billion monthly active members. Facebook's "Like" button has been used more than 1.13 trillion times since its inception, with the figure climbing by the day. We do this to keep our connections intact. We add value to our relationships and cement our closeness when we favorite and like each other's postings. A reciprocity effect is also created. We feel obligated to repay those who have helped us, even if it is in a tiny way. We aim to level the playing field. When you receive a tag or direct message, you feel driven to respond with one of your own. And if you get a like on your profile, you'll undoubtedly feel compelled to respond in some manner, whether it's by sharing something in return, joining an email list, or something else.
Selfies are also effective because we pay more attention to faces than everything else. On Facebook and other social media platforms, the profile image is the first thing that draws the eye. We follow the gaze of the people we see on-screen online, according to studies. Empathy can be evoked by viewing faces. We replicate each other's expressions in face-to-face discussion, even if we aren't conscious of it. This is known as emotional contagion, and it's a key component of how we form bonds. We use emoticons and emojis to reproduce that vital element of empathy on the internet.
Social media does not transform us; it is only a reflection of our natural tendencies. Things amp it up a level. We all have a predisposition to evaluate our worth by comparing ourselves to others, just like social comparison. Feelings of insecurity may arise as a result of this. However, social media has the potential to bring people together. If you've ever posted about a loss or a personal difficulty on social media, you've probably experienced the outpouring of support from friends and even strangers. Spending time on social media is linked to virtual empathy, which can be transferred to the actual world. Social media can chew at our vulnerabilities and draw us in, but at its root, it's about identifying and passing on the good in the world: seeing it in ourselves, others, and passing it on. It allows us to grow a little closer to who we want to be, a little more empathic, a little more kind.
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