The smartphone people carry around in their pockets is a new type of digital cocaine. Why does social media are acting like a drug? Why is the smartphone in pocket so dangerous? Rajan Singh, head of HabitStrong, has described all about this.
Rajan Singh said the first thing you need to know is how Facebook or Instagram make money on social media. Many people think that they don't have to pay to use Facebook. Of course, you don't have to pay for it but look at the revenue of Facebook in 2020.
He added that Facebook has earned more than six lakh crore rupees. How they earned such a huge amount of money? Absolutely they have to sell something. But what do they sell?
Rajan Singh said social media sells your time and attention. Whenever you are on Facebook, you see ads and click on some ads. What happens then?
Rajan said, Facebook is earning money by showing ads. And if you spend 20 minutes in Facebook, then social media benefits from that too. Because, they sell your time.
"If you're Facebook, then how do you increase your income and what do you do?" He asked. Naturally you want people to come to this platform and spend as much time here as possible. And in fact, people spend most of their time on Facebook or Instagram.
He further said, how will people come to this platform compulsorily? A habit must have to grow to come here to check on Instagram and Facebook. It's not because they want to do it. They come without thinking, whenever they get bored, they just look at Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or other platforms. This habit is made and it is being made strongly. Which later turns into addiction.
Rajan further said, what is addiction? Addiction has two characteristics. One of which is to feeling urgency to do the work. And the second one is - when the habit creates a negative effect and it can no longer be stopped knowing it that it is bad. When such a stage comes, that habit is called addiction.
Rajan added that this addiction works in our brain. You must have heard of dopamine. What happens when someone uses cocaine? He feel a kind of peace and the amount of dopamine in the brain increases. It increases by 20, 30 or 40 percent? No, it grows a lot more. That's why cocaine is so addictive. Currently social media is creating that addiction. For example, you posted a picture; someone saw that picture and liked it. It's a big innovation.
Citing an example, Rajan said that when something is written on the notice board, people do not have much interest on it. Even if there is poetry or something else written there, people also have no interest on it. If someone sees it but his reaction could not be understood. But when someone is posting pictures, stories or something else on Facebook people are able to like it.
The person who posted the picture is enjoying great peace of mind. He thinks a hundred people, a thousand people or 10,000 people liked his writing, pictures or stories. And seeing this, others are thinking, there are so many likes on that person's post, it is a big thing. That's why people are emphasizing the importance of having followers on social media. The more followers he has, the more others think he is important. Now it has become a game.
He added that people are posting more interesting content to increase followers and get likes from others. The more likes, comments, shares, the happier the poster is. When you post on Facebook, you also want more people to like it. This is going to be a deal with dopamine. Your dopamine levels being raised when a lot of people like your post, which you didn't expect.
Rajan Singh thinks dopamine = do it more. The work that you have done, it creates urgency to do it more. As a result, addiction to social media is being created. That’s why social media is currently working like cocaine.
He further said: "What you are carrying in pockets, it's not a phone, it is a digital version of cocaine and be careful, be watchful, be mindful because if you don't pay attention you are going to get sucked into it and after some time, there will be no time left to do things which truly matter to you. It will destroy all your time, your focus. Instead of spending time with our family with friends playing games or doing things like that we will be sucked in this black hole from which it looks like there is no exit."
Rajan Singh intended to just explain to how this thing works, how cocaine and social media they're both using the same dopamine chemical to hook us and to make sure we never get out and we have to get around this; only then we can be free people.
BDST: 1406 HRS, AUG 30, 2021