Social Media Addiction

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An interesting encounter

An interesting encounter occurred to me when I was studying in a summer camp where the organizers only allow us half an hour to use all of our electronics per day. After we finished our assigned work for the day, he calls for phone time. Few moments after, almost everyone was on their phone and most certainly, on social media. The room was full of people, but no one was talking or even looking at each other. I am very intrigued to find out the reason why social media can be so addicting and why it feels more real to some people.

The core function of social media

The first thing social media creators thought about is to make communication easier for everybody, which is also the core function of social media. How nice would it be to have something that connects my friends and me and together? Facebook came in and here, people can simply post anything about themselves and let others know what you are up to. This platform was quickly adopted a number of other social media platforms, and it simply became a form of information machines, which can quickly and selectively transfer information to others. Now that we have an information machine, what is the next logical step to do to increase our market? The incorporation of the like button is a tool that has been adversely used for more marketing techniques. This is the root cause of social media addiction. The like button changed the way we judge people around us. It gave us a way of quantifying a person's popularity (Dan, 2013). In other words, the more likes someone has, the more popular they are. Certainly, this might sound absurd at first, the sad truth is, through the passage of time, it slowly became the way of judging a person because it is just so easy to look at a number and compare it with others. Through observations, most people want to become popular if given the chance to, without changing significantly their current lifestyle. Soon people are starting to upload posts that they think might receive some likes, and uploading posts soon became a routine for many people, hence the more the addiction (Hanyun, 2013). As a result, an individual will do some of the most ridiculous things in order to be more popular. For example, hanging down a cliff without any protection, drinking bleach, and cutting themselves for no reason are all sort of ways to attract people's attention.

The negative effect on human inter-relations

Addiction towards social media relates to the state of mind that one cannot concentrate on other things outside the phones and gadgets. Every now and then, one keeps anticipating what is going on in the social sites before they even login to check other people's activity status and comments on different items in their social life. Most of the things posted on these social media platforms are more personal than for general intention, and therefore this captures the attention of most readers and so they want to find out what happens next. This urge to want to know the progress and the comments posted online creates an anxiety of some sort, thus a negative effect on human inter-relations.

The virtual world of social media

With the increase in amassing more popularity in the social media world, the real world started to matter less to them as long as they get the dopamine rush through "likes". In Experience Machine, Nozick states that social media is a machine that makes whoever joining enjoy a lifetime of pleasure (Dan, 2013). However, in the case of social media, the virtual world is created by the real world, with real people, real place, and real connections, hence why people cannot get off social media. Using a combination of technologies like automated banking and artificial intelligence platforms, social media can do everything that an experience machine gives an individual, except that one has to work for that pleasure, which is something that the experience machine does not allow one to do. Perhaps that social media is just a way of deceiving the common people to think that they are being in a real world, thinking that everything they do on the internet will be just as real. Nevertheless, is it as real as sitting in the same room next to each other? I would say that social media is just another form of experience machine, which before anyone enters, they were made sure that everything they will experience will be real. In fact, it is just a way of tricking the brain and giving themselves an excuse to have this pleasure. However, how is this any different from real life? The difference is the like button. This is allowed only in social media, a real world that marks everyone with a number. It is through the change of this number that someone knows that they are now more popular than ever before, therefore giving the user an instant pleasure. Moreover, this instant pleasure can be replicated for how many times you want in social media. Now let us compare social media to The Matrix, a fictional world where everyone lives in an A.I. generated world. They have an artificial appearance, artificial friends, artificial relationships, and artificial occupations. Everyone and everything is artificially created, aimed at giving a human being a greater amount of pleasure. One thing that social media and The Matrix have in common is that the people in either case are not aware of their artificial identities and their surroundings (Nuning, 2017). The fictional world in Matrix is closely related to the artificial life throughout the social media.

The appeal of technology

The question of why social media feels real to some people has quite often come up regarding how often and how interesting the internet has made things. Technologies and platforms being invented every day have made life simpler. The invention of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and personalized sound world creates companions of a normal day-to-day life. Some people find it easier to operate a machine than dealing with others directly. The users are empowered by the need to feel in control and self-sufficient by confining themselves in platforms that do not necessarily. Bull Ipod argues that the disjunction between the interior world of control and the external one of exigency and conflict becomes suspended as the user develops strategies for managing their movement mediated by music (Bull, 348). The mobile and exigent nature of the journey is experienced precisely as its opposite by creating and managing their sound world. The iPod, in effect, warms up the spaces of mobile habitation for users.

Works cited

Bull, M.  No Dead Air! The iPod and the Culture of Mobile Listening.  Leisure Studies. 2005.               Vol. 24, No. 4, 343–355.

Huang, Hanyun. "Social Media Addiction and Sociopsychological Traits." Social Media Generation in Urban China, 2013, pp. 77-102.

Kurniasih, Nuning. "Internet Addiction, Lifestyle or Mental Disorder? A Phenomenological                  Study on Social Media Addiction in Indonesia." KnE Social Sciences, vol. 2, no. 4, 2017,               p. 135.

Weijers, Dan. "Nozick's experience machine is dead, long live the experience                                machine!" Philosophical Psychology, vol. 27, no. 4, 2013, pp. 513-535.

August 21, 2023



Addiction Experience

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