Science figures it out: "social media’s addictive loop compels users to share mindlessly"

Originally published at: Science figures it out: "social media's addictive loop compels users to share mindlessly" | Boing Boing


Much gets written about the drug-like effects of the likes and retweets online. I’d argue what’s more damaging is the negative stuff though.

I’m a YouTuber for a living and that online presence opens you up to a hurricane of hate and bile that never could have existed before. It’s a low percentage of the audience, but even at 0.1%, it’s still hundreds of comments a month that make you feel like garbage for 20 mins or so. That emotional labour adds up over time and wears you down.

Worse, people feel entitled to do it because you’ve allegedly signed some social contract to absorb all abuse because you choose to produce content for public consumption.


Frequent users of social media become “desensitized to positive feedback, such as likes and comments,” sending them into an addictive loop where their sense of well-being depends on…

so we may strongly suspect that Herr Rob Beschizza will not even notice that ‘heart’ i just clicked unto him? [lower lip pout]


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Merry Xmas Rob! Everybody likes presents.


You’ve mentioned that before. I assume the…

Prevents you from sharing, but I also think I’d love your videos. :grimacing:


This assumes that social media addiction is driven primarily by the urge to be noticed or go viral. I used Twitter pretty heavily over the years (prior to current situations). I was never trying to be a ‘content creator’ to where I cared about my follower count, or really much more than cursory interest over likes.
I still opened that little bird because I get a ludic loop of updates and small dopamine hits from seeing information that causes an emotional reaction.

I’m not even sure that ‘being popular’ is really that widely shared of a motivation for social network use. We’re primarily consumers not creators.


For many people, it very much is.


For some. I’m not sure that’s explanatory for the bulk of consumption, though.


It’s a nonzero number, which still makes it part of the larger problem.


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And …

I’ll see myself out.


I have basically dropped out after being -too- active. Friends/family worried. So I’ll post Wordle and then leave. Wordle is my way of saying “I’m not dead yet but this is all I want to give here.” Which, I think, is better than those eight paragraph posts about leaving facebook by people who return to it two weeks later.


How else are we suppose to fill the void in ourselves?
If the alternative is a massive amount of time dedicated to introspection and serious self reflection while working toward a healthy lifestyle…yeah this little glowing box that feeds my need seems way simpler.

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Human beings are both, and it’s capitalism that emphasizes consumption over creation. We’re very much shaped by the culture we live in, like it or not, and capitalism is built on consumption, so many of us overly consume. But human beings have always been creators and will be until we no longer exist.


Damned right!

God creatives are in a bind.

Imagine a society where the impulse to create and share with other humans, the instict to build communities around that, is seen as an exploitable psychological defect and a moral failing? Now stop imagining… we’re here.

Analysis like this just basically re-affirms that all human creativity is directly under attack. It’s literally being pathologized now and yet how the hell are you supposed to make and share and sell and collaborate while avoiding social media!?

:fire:L :fire: M :fire: F :fire: A :fire: O :fire:

The problem is the architecture is only there to force feed “content” down the gullets of “consumers” so that they’ll get mentally damaged from the abuse and buy whatever random shit gets shoved in their faces… and creatives, creatives are SOL.

I don’t believe any of this was really designed with a desire to nourish human connections and promote the work of individuals.

Social media is not a reflection of the essence of humanity because what we are seeing in its chambers is a distorted humanity in a cage being slowly tortured to death for a small profit per head.


To add, modern capitalism also insists that people market themselves and work on their personal brand – it literally doesn’t value you otherwise. So yeah, people get desperate to be noticed to the point where it’s unhealthy? Surprise, that’s what’s asked of us!


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I imagine AI-driven capitalism will super charge this. Once any creative style can be instantly reworked by a machine, it becomes even more important than it has been for creators to sell themselves and offer up details of their personal selves to their fanbase to distinguish themselves from machine-generated work and keep those patreon dollars flowing. Of course, LLMs are probably pretty good at building a fake human “personal” presence as well…


Not only that - if your human impulse to create takes influences from the world around it, then stop right there. Your creativity is infringing on the vast web of copyright that corporations have vomited over human culture. Pay up and consume, don’t remix, don’t derive, don’t do anything creative or fun.


Even if we are creative and creators, every creator must, in due course, consume whatever they’re remixing and contributing to. By volume, we still consume more than we create.

That’s not stated as any kind of criticism. It should come as no surprise that we generally listen to more than we can create. The volume’s just larger and we’ve got to have material to interact with and react to.

That million view Youtube video didn’t get there because all million of them were busy trying to create their own video. Sure, it drives interaction and creation, but culture can be entirely legitimate and valuable with consumption as well. Art interacts with an audience.