The Truth Behind Social Media "Likes"
What is one of the first thing's that you do when you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed at night? Are you one to go straight to your cell phone or laptop to check for any updates on notifications?
Let's be honest; this is something that we are all guilty of, including myself. This is 2018, after all.
Regardless of what social media platform that you use whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, your first initial checkpoint is the "notifications" tab. "How many likes did my post get last night?", "Did they ever reply to my comment?", "Did my friend message me back?". Social media is extremely addictive, and there is a reason behind all of it.
So, what exactly is the reason?
Social Media and Dopamine
Have you ever had that slight feeling of adrenaline everytime that you get a "like" on your post? The more attention that it gets, the dopamine rush intensifies. For many years, Scientists believed that the dopamine chemical was responsible for pleasure in the brain, but rather than creating it, we seek it.
Technology affects the brain the same way that drugs do. Everytime that we post, share, comment, or "like" something on social media, we are essentially creating false expectations. We as humans want the sense of belonging and social media gives us just that.
Have you ever posted something on Facebook, and found yourself deleting it because you didn't get the amount of "likes" that you expected? Maybe your number of "followers" went down on Instagram so you followed a bunch of users, or invested in a bot that would automatically do it for you.
The problem is, we seek more, more, more, and the internet gives us that sense of instant gratification at the click of a button.
Now, don't get me wrong, technology has its advantages; however, many people take those advantages for granted.
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Have you ever gone to check your phone and noticed that there were no notifications there? How does it make you feel? "Eh, whatever" right? However, the moment that your phone vibrates, you get a rush of excitement and almost instantly feel the need to check. This is because both technology and social media give users a temporary sense of 'fulfillment' that disappears shortly after we receive the rush.
The truth is, when we get rewarded, it causes us to desire more which traps us in this loop. This loop is what has caused millions of people to be addicted to social media.
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Whether people realize it or not the internet is slowly killing people's perspectives, desires, motivations, and goal-directed behaviors. It gives us the 'grass is greener' mentality, and are in constant competition with everyone else. Nowadays, people feel content with living a "normal" life. This allows people to give up on themselves easily. People on social media tend to promote how "great" their life is, or how "perfect" their relationship is, but the truth is, they don't show the behind-the-scenes as to what really goes on.
No matter what area in your life it is, becoming successful takes time. It takes hard work, dedication, sacrifice and that's what most people don't understand—especially the younger generation. For a lot of people, they see what it takes to become successful and find that it's too "difficult" for them, so they feel the need to quit if results don't happen as quickly as they want them to.
The problem is, people don't have the patience anymore. They see other's succeeding, get frustrated with themselves, and give up. Nowadays, there are only a few people in life that strive to achieve their goals and are succeeding. Those are the people that aren't brainwashed by social media or 'instant gratification.'
There are age restrictions for many things in life such as drinking, gambling, smoking, but not for technology. The only people that can set restrictions for technology are parents. Unfortunately, parent's are allowing young children to access it and it's only going to get worse if people don't put a stop to it.
When I worked as a Preschool Teacher last year, there were children that were two years of age that would throw tantrums if they couldn't have access to technology. That should say enough.
People avoid the fact that the choice is there. Not everything in life is a 'click away.' The satisfaction and the rewards of patience, and hard work, in reality, are far greater than any from a computer or phone screen.
People have to come together and understand that life is about the journey, not by the outcome. After all, what fun is a journey that is shaped by a virtual reality?
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© 2018 Ashley Marie Riley