I know it’s been said before but I feel like I want to say it again. Bring attention to it. Because every time I hear it or read about it, it sheds light a little bit more. It startles me a little bit more. And education, I believe is the key to bringing more action. The more we know about something’s effects on us, how it fits into the bigger picture, we can bring more intent to how we partake in it.
Social media has had its benefits. It has brought people together. The random person you never spoke to in high school is now your friend on facebook, forget the fact that you never spoke while being in the same class but hey, it’s one extra follower. But here’s the thing about social media: you are the product. When you are not being asked to pay for the service, it is evident that you are the product. They are selling you to thousands of advertisers to the point that I’m not even sure if I see my friends’ posts anymore.
What was the original intention behind signing up to these accounts and apps? Was it not to connect with friends and family? And yet, here we are, scrolling through videos of people we don’t know and ads for things we did not even know we needed and spending hours of the one thing we will never get back – time and trading our presence on the unintended.
We have traded our presence for dopamine-hits on these apps that leave us feeling worse than when we originally signed on – which then pushes us towards using the boost button to give these apps what they originally wanted – the money.
Features such as the reel has us using these to boost our follower accounts, our likes or whatever it is we have now placed our self worth in – an addiction to validation. Of course the human who has come from a history of needing to be accepted by its peers for survival – will by default and somewhat hardwired in them require that acceptance. This acceptance is as hard-wired as these regular dopamine hits in the form of notifications and new surprise updates to our social media are becoming.
What we can do is become more intentional about what we want from these apps and how we will go about it. If it is to create your art, your work, then to stay committed to that work, devoted to it, regardless of the numbers that come and go. Choose the amount of time you want to spend on the application and stick to your guidelines. Ensure you’re getting what you want out of it.