Social Media and Pillars of Addiction

     

In the past ten years, social media has become a big part of everyday life. Since the inception of Facebook, people have flocked to social media to share, connect and learn. Social networking has also changed our lives; people spend more time online today than they did before. Sometimes, the better part of the day can be spent on Facebook – and it is possible such behavior can be seen as an addiction.

Having used social networking actively in the past I’ve come to think about reasons for the popularity of these sites.

The need to belong

Psychology argues that humans have a need to belong. In short, a person feels a great need to be part of a group. The group can be most anything: co-workers, hobbies or even a family. Now, think about social networking, especially Facebook, and you see how the need to belong can be satisfied there. Facebook is partly made of different pages and groups which you can like or join. Sometimes the entry to a group is overseen and controlled by administrator, making the group exclusive and close-knit organization. It further fosters the community of like-minded people to interact with each other, and to belong.

Fear of missing out

Fear of missing out is a thought that something cool or worthy of seeing is happening in the place where you are not right now. Since so many people are on Facebook, many who are not might think cool things are taking place there – after all, why would it be so popular? The fear might or might not be justified; but at severe cases it can lead to addiction and overuse of social networking services.

Human curiosity

All that was available in the past was websites you could only browse. Information was plenty, however you couldn’t really interact with others – except for few archaic chat rooms. The one-sided information that was readily available was enough to satisfy the needs those times, but as we know, humans can be very curious. Many of us want to know how other people are doing; our friends, relatives and even celebrities. Social media answers to this call since the latest news from all your contacts can be read from a single news feed. The flow of information doesn’t go only to one direction anymore. People can share anything with each other, feeding and satisfying curiosity.

Feeds narcissistic tendencies?

It is argued that social media is a valuable playground for narcissists. In the early 2016s, the average number of Facebook friends was 155, meaning that the things you share will possibly be available for well over hundred people. Now, compare that to real life – how hard would it be to get your message across to so many folks? It would take much more effort; but in social media, the crowds will be just a click away. In addition, it’s also very easy to expand this group with a push of a button – the Add friend button. In the light of these things, I can understand why social media is a good seedbed for narcissism.

Social networking is here to stay. It does not seem sites like Facebook or Twitter are going anywhere, for it could be against human nature not to use them. Surely, there are those who opt out of using social sites – these renegades often have good reasons for their decision – but the general trend is that social media gets more popular. What will happen in the future for these websites is unknown to everyone, although I don’t expect major changes because they already fulfill the need to connect, share and belong.

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