The Ruthless Psychology of Social Media Apps

We’re addicted and it isn’t our fault.

On Social Media

Gabz writes:

As I was in my 5:00 am meeting today I was, well, multitasking, as you do, and somewhat browsing around and stumble upon this article by Mister Davis Sparks, THE GROWING TIDE AGAINST SOCIAL MEDIA
As I was reading, there was a lot of noting and “yepping”. And there was one piece of it that kind of stuck out and had me thinking for a bit.

I read that article, too. And I couldn’t agree with it more.

He continues:

The second thing is the TikTok addiction. I am proud to say that I have never downloaded this app and I plan to, for as long as I can manage, never download it. As I have might said somewhere one time, I do not need another let’s-get-high-on-dopamine kind of app.

This is the crux of it; the deliberate use of flaws in human psychology to keep us hooked on an app in order to serve us more ads, so they can create more growth, for shareholders who are already bursting at the seams with wealth, for a stock market that is really just craps for the wealthy, is so despicable I can’t think about it without feeling rage.

Not only did I buy into the farce that I would need to use it in 2009 to further a career in writing I didn’t even know if I wanted (it’s career suicide!) I opened myself up to every platform under the sun to try to grind my way to literary relevance: a wide open Facebook profile where I accumulated 5,000 “friends”, who, by the way, were writers and not my intended audience. A Twitter account in 2009 that started off really fun but ended up being a vessel for shilling an artists wares. It got better when I switched to tech, which is what I wanted to do forever and then 2016 happened.

Social anxiety is a social media app’s best friend

I suffer from crippling social anxiety. It’s not just introversion; it is full on I don’t function well around people and refuse to go anywhere where there will be more than a handful and if there are more, the throng should be moving around and not just standing there or my heart palpitates and I will find a way out of the building.

It has a lot to do with trauma, and I think most people with social anxiety have some form of trauma. Facebook, in particular, ran an experiement right before the 2016 election to guage how a user responds to posts using the new reaction buttons. If you reacted angry, hell yeah, let’s give you more shit that will make you even MORE angry, this way you will continue to engage in our cesspool of targeted ads and clickbait. It was documented in the tech press and Facebook discontinued the A/B test of that feature. The damage was done.

I was addicted. Heavily. My friends and my ex would say that I was addicted and I refused to believe it.

But I started to realize that my anxiety and general unhappiness coincided with a medicine change and my continued abuse of social media.

I thought I couldn’t quit you

Oh but I did. The belief you have friends on Facebook because they interact with your posts, whether you feel happy, sad, express trauma, or announce a good or bad thing, is what caught me. Instead of hanging out with my in real life friends, I depended on a few “friends” I made on Facebook who, since I deleted it, have not made any real effort to reach out to me, and I don’t expect it. I think it bothers me a bit because of how sincere they seemed. And maybe they truly want the best for me, as I them. But I had to be real with myself, I don’t really know those people, and they don’t really know me, even though that profile was like my group therapy once I locked it down.

I’ve deleted Twitter. I have one account there for sports and I regret looking at it every time I open it. I’ll probably be deleting that account as well.

I don’t use Threads or Instagram. YouTube is a rabbit hole I am trying to hack my way out of wasting so much time watching bullshit there. I had to delete hundreds of subscriptions and force myself to not subscribe to any more channels. I find there’s nothing really to watch as the channels I decided to keep around don’t post much. When that happens, I do something else, like read, which is the way I’ve always liked it.

There’s a reckoning coming but for whom and for how long??