25 Days of Blogging Day 5: Social Media: The New Age Drug (Part 1)
I have a question for those who are 25+ of age: Do you remember a time when social media didn’t exist? A time where cellphones were either comically massive or barely small enough to fit in your pocket? A time when cellphones could only browse on certain websites and do emails due to limitations. Performing a video chat on phones was merely a pipe dream that you only saw in futuristic sci-fi movies. The internet existed, but it was limited to dial-up phone lines; no “invisible” WiFi connections. Limited to computers; not phones.
It was a time where the only means of talking with with others from across towns or across the globe online was through message boards, websites, chat rooms, and emails. That was our “social media”. Our social commutations came from – wait for it – going outside and interacting with others.
We lacked technological distraction. In fact, using technology as a means to netted you the label of a social impaired nerd. If you wanted to talk reckless to somebody, you actually needed a pair of balls or ovaries to step up to a person you didn’t like and fight them (keyword: fight, not dox/swat or pull a gun and kill them on them on some bitch shit)
Then, the 2000s hit.
The 2000s brought along broadband internet connection (killing the dial-up game), the dot-com bubble burst, an everlasting slew of message boards, chat-rooms, and of course, social media. Computers and internet services became cheaper: increasing the ease of access for both items. Japanese electronics company Sony brought board band online gaming to the world in 2001 with the PlayStation 2. Their Western competitor, Microsoft dropped XBOX Live in 2002. A year later, MySpace – one of the original social media websites launched followed by Facebook in 2004.
Within the first four years of the 2000s decades, the seeds of social networking where planted; paving the way for others companies to create their own social networks such as Bebo, Black Planet, and Gaia Online. Facebook of course, would grow into the innovating but social destructive juggernaut that would plague humanity today.
In unison, phone technology evolved with the internet, computer technology, and social media. No longer were phones’ internet services were limited to only email a select few web pages. Overtime, you could browse full web pages without flaunt. You could chat with your friends using your phone’s camera (a feat only seen with computers’ webcams). Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter created their own apps for phones. The phones themselves became cheaper and more powerful; easing access for consumers – like their computer counterparts did years prior.
Here were things took a turn for the worse.
Let me say this: technology and social media are amazing tools – if they’re kept it as that: tools. You use tools. You don’t let tools use you. Alas, society has allowed itself to be used by these tools. Social media was meant to connect people with friends, family, business prospects, consumers, et cetera. But, as I stated earlier, gaining access to these tools became easy. Too easy in fact (you simple, entry level smartphone from Net10 or Tracfone have social media apps).
People started to figure out a few things:
- The internet allowed them to paint a fictional story of their lives.
- Strangers and friends alike could like your content
- Social media is a highlight reel
When you combine those three, you create a dangerous issue for humanity. Let’s be real: whenever we get a like or a comment on the content we created, we get a sense of joy (me included). And isn’t an one-time deal. The more content you produce for social media, the more likely you will have people liking and commenting on it. This creates a near endless cycle of producing content for likes – may it be real or false. The more likes you get, the more “happy” you are.
That’s a dopamine effect. You know, dopamine: the same chemical in your brain that reacts to drugs such as marijuana, coke, heroine, ketamine, etc. Social media is a drug; a legal drug at that. You don’t need to go to a shady black market dealer to get it. Just need a device with internet connection and content to post. And, as with any other drug, once the effects are gone, you need even more. Your next fix. The urges are stronger. It’s hard to break away from the drug.
Ever notice when you aren’t getting likes and comments from people who think they should stroke your ego every chance you get when you post something? You feel angry, moody, and depressed. So, you start to post even more mindless, pointless content in hopes that somebody will like your stupid stuff so you can get that high again. You even start refreshing your page thinking that it will help. It’s like a druggie indulging in more drugs to get that dopamine fix again.
When that doesn’t work anymore, you feel empty. You feel empty so you go in search for something to fill the void. It becomes an addiction.
And addictions are dangerous.
Until next time,
-Yuki The SnowMan
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