BEACON TRANSCRIPT – You probably all know by now that social media is addictive. There are various explanations regarding why that is, but not all of them make sense. This is why scientists from the Cornell University recently looked into social media addiction and why you can’t quit Facebook.
Social media platforms, as well as most of the games you play via their service, are designed to be addictive. There’s just something about having your morning coffee and browsing Facebook or playing Candy Crush that makes your day feel incomplete when you skip it.
Well, this is one of the simpler explanations throughout this article.
You see, when you do something repetitive, even in short bursts, for an extended period of time, that thing gives you an addiction. Even more so if you happen to do that thing while you are doing other repetitive routines.
Does that sound familiar? If it does, it’s probably because that’s what you’re doing every morning. When you’re browsing Facebook during lunch, or during your morning coffee, you’re just imprinting a behavioral pattern in yourself, one that is quite difficult to break.
And this is where the Cornell University starts.
The study coordinated by Information Science and Communication Researcher Eric Baumer, Ph.D. student Shion Guha, Emily Quan, and Professors David Mimno and Geri Gay studies the main reasons laying beyond our repetitive return to Facebook after we’ve tried to quit.
The study’s title is quite a mouthful, being called “How Social Media Non-use Influences the Likelihood of Reversion: Perceived Addiction, Boundary Negotiation, Subjective Mood, and Social Connection”, and it was published on December 3rd.
The researchers used information form an online move created to get people to quit the addictive social media platform for 99 days. After studying data from over 5000 surveys sent by the Dutch website to its participants, at the 33, 66, and 99 day marks, the scientists came up with the following results.
The main factors that lead to people getting back on Facebook after quitting are the addiction (you probably noticed that when opening a new tab, even if you don’t necessarily mean to, your finger tend to move towards ‘f’), the need for social acceptance and praise from FB friends, the person’s mood, and the use of other social media outlets.
It was also proven that a person which is in a good mood is far less likely to get back on the addictive social media platform.
Debatably, the ‘healthiest’ way to approach your social media addiction would be to actually consider the role each platform plays in your life, and make adjustments to their usage based on that.
For example, a person who realizes that the amount of time they spend on Facebook would be better used otherwise is likely to try to stop using the platform altogether; however, if they spend the time to realize that the platform indeed offers some benefits, such as allowing them to stay in contact with a number of friends and communities, they are more likely to do the ‘healthiest’ thing and just moderate their time spent on social media instead of trying to stop it altogether.
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