IG, Facebook, and all other Depressants
Two of my closest friends jump shipped and others are about to take the plunge. They got rid of their Instagram profiles. I hear more and more people fed up with the black hole that social media creates. A lot of people relate their spiraling moods and bursts of depression to social media. I always wonder how come so many people have been expressing this disdain relationship with apps such as Facebook and Instagram. Are we comparing ourselves too much? Or is it that we are reading to many negative things? I recently unfollowed a lot of people who I thought wasn't my vibe. I also avoid certain things on social media in order to stay level headed. But it is deeper than that. It is like no matter what we do social media has some effect, and mostly not a good one.
This week while catching up on my favorite podcast, "The Friend Zone" I heard them speak on this very topic. How does the internet and social media relate to our emotional health. Fran, one of the podcast members who I love, always speaks on amazing psychological studies that most of us don't even know are out there for us to read but provide us with amazing information on how scientists keep learning how our brains work. This week she spoke on how technology and social media has been used to affect us emotionally. Black Mirror Episode or nah?!
First of all, the source: The study was published on the national Academy of Science, soo yea this is legit. The study explains how in 2012, for a week in January, some scientists used Facebook to alter what some of its users were exposed to in order to test how users react to positive or negative feeds. Some people in the study had more positive posts on their timelines while others had more crime or sad news. (Probably one these was my mother and her graphic DR news posts *rolls eyes*) The alteration of the timeline created the mood on your feed without any warning in order to see how you reacted on it based on what you posted after as a status. Yes this is legal, not fair, but legal since we sign off our lives in the Facebook disclaimer and it's yearly update of its terms of service. To defend the study, these scientist explained that this type of study gathers information to help companies like Facebook create features to control their feeds. Hey, aren't we all thankful for the block button, now give us a filter button so I can filter out anyone that types the word Trump on my feed!
The actual doings of this study, the fact that we are allowing them to treat us like lab rats, and that our emotions and minds are being intruded, are a whole big topic but for the sake of this post I want to focus on the findings of this study. These scientists found that you can manipulate the masses through their feeds. Is like spreading misery for a reaction! In addition to this study the podcast touched on a company called Dopamine Labs that has confirmed that your dear loved application, Instagram, knows how much we all love our likes and notifications. In order to keep us logging back in and refreshing our feed, Instagram holds on to some notifications and doesn’t let you know of them right away. Dopamine Labs offers a plugin service that personalises “moments of joy” in apps that use it. It promises customers: “Your users will crave it. And they’ll crave you.” In other words Facebook can buy positive posts from Dopamine Labs to feed to us on our timelines. It Is like that commercial where the old man tries to get the dollar.... oh you have to be quicker than that, aka keep coming back! Bugged out huh? They are feeding us bullshit, and dangling a prize, all ways to control us. Why? Well it was also proven that that when people are sadder they buy more! Tear for a buck.
In my research for this post I found another interesting source. The Guardian site has an article, "'Never Get High on Your Own Supply'-why social media bosses don't use social media" and this stopped me on my tracks! " None of the company’s key executives has a “normal” Facebook presence." Another social media site, twitter, shows that out "of the company’s nine most senior executives, only four tweet more than once a day on average." Why? well these sites were made to exploit us. They are meant to grab our attention and turn it into $ so they obviously know the trap and will not fall into it. The article goes on to mention how many of these high executives in social media companies have different lifestyles on the internet because they know of how damaging and destructive it can be to our daily lives. Need more proof? A study published online in Computers in Human Behavior on December 10, 2016, found that the use of multiple social media platforms is more strongly associated with depression and anxiety among young adults than time spent online. The analysis showed that people who reported using the most platforms (seven to 11) had more than three times the risk of depression and anxiety (odds ratio of 3.08 and 3.27, respectively) than people who used the least amount (zero to 2 platforms). Among the personal emotional evasion that these apps have there is also the concern for privacy as these apps use ads to shove things down our throats. I swear in more than one instance I might of been speaking about a brand or clothing and POP there goes an IG ad. I think this is getting out of hand!
Based on this I wanted to bring awareness since mental health is such an important topic and now that society is our fingertips we need to do more to keep sane and healthy. We need to take control and decide what is good for us. Like my friends who got off social media, it wasn’t right for them. It was too much for their own mental capacity and I totally understand and admire the initiative to take control. I like to use my social media as a creative platform and a way to keep up with what is going on in the world and my local city. I have recently unfollowed a lot of “bullshit” profiles or those who dwell on too much negativity. I must admit after this research I got rid of Facebook and set IG rules. I think we all need to set boundaries to leverage out how we use social media. Maybe don’t sign on if you are already feeling a little down or learn to check yourself if you feel that social media activity has influenced your mood. I always second question myself when I go purchase something, is it something you want, like really want, or you want it to fill a void based on how you are feeling today. Oh and if an ad pops up, don't fall for it! All these sites keep track of your online footprint so they are playing into your emotions. Another suggestion is to only get on social media for a certain amount of time, or after certain tasks like “Vete a cepillar los dientes first at least.” (go brush your teeth first) I love to say my gratefuls and prayers before opening IG in the mornings. A total different mind shift and most of the time the session last seconds since I am already thinking of how to make the best of my day. Also, don’t share everything. Don’t let Big Brother know that you are sad because obviously these companies are banking off it. If you think about it the more you share your emotions you are becoming a part of the problem. Don’t spread negative vibes because it can trigger a wave of negative emotions.
The podcast and the articles speak into so many more reasons as to why we must be weary of social media and its uses so I really suggest you do some research and evaluate how you fall into these pitfalls of the social media black hole. The topic is scary and gut wrenching as you start to think on how much of our lives they are controlling but is best know to approach the topic before you are broke and depressed due to the up keep of your profiles.