“Just as alcohol, drugs and cigarettes tend to have a highly “addictive” quality in their nature, Facebook too can be extremely addictive!” me.
Not so long ago, we discussed how the use of social media channels, in general, can cause different types of psychological problems or disturbances and how it can have the ability to negatively influence our mental and emotional health. In another post, we discussed the psychology behind people tweeting.
But how about Facebook? What are its psychological manifestations and the psychology behind it and its use? Is it, too, a threat to our not-so-balanced emotional stability? Why is the use of Facebook so addictive?
A study conducted in 2007, discussing the psychology of Facebook, mentions many mental and emotional issues associated to and resulting from using Facebook and so on.
In order to avoid sounding repetitive by reiterating what others have said regarding this issue, I will state my personal opinion of the subject at hand before reading further about it from my research results.
Facebook… In Simple Terms:
Simply put, Facebook is, as the name entails, a book of faces! It is an online library with names, pictures and other information about people you know, would like to know or have known at some point in your life.
Based on that, it goes without saying that some might consider Facebook as a tool to connect to others, to find those from their past and to stay in touch with family and friends locally and abroad. Others might think of it as a platform for fun applications and games that help pass the hours of a boring day. Whatever people think of it, the truth of the matter remains that Facebook, on many different occasions, has the ability to get you addicted. The “how” is what I would like to emphasize next!
Facebook to its Audience is like a Spider to its Prey!
The way I see it, the most loyal Facebook users are in a trance or, for better use of words, under a spell – the spell of technology: wanting to be up-to-date with the newest trends and keeping in touch with present advancements in the field of technology.
But what else does Facebook use to capture its audience?
- The Desire to Compare: Facebook nourishes our desire, or even need, to compare ourselves to others in terms of looks, traveled destinations, shopping sprees, spouses, friends and so on.
- The Curiosity Factor: How many times did you find yourselves snooping around in your friend’s albums to see what she was doing on that day when you called and she didn’t pick up? Better yet, how many times did you spend half an hour or more reading your friend’s wall posts to know who said what to her/him? Facebook fulfills the curiosity factor that breeds on our need-to-know need!
- The Boredom Variable: What could be more addictive than finding something to gap the hours of boredom we suffer at least once a day? Facebook is that bridge which gaps boredom on many levels through games, applications, music and much more.
- The Jealousy Disease: Are you too jealous? Maybe somewhat insecure about your relationship? Facebook is your pill to getting better! Through its ability to track conversations, events, whereabouts and so on, Facebook provides a perfect platform for solving jealousy issues through stalking options!
- The Loneliness Phenomenon: Let us be frank here and admit that many of us, at least at one point or another, feel lonely. Facebook has the power to be the cure for loneliness! (It might also cause it in certain events, but that’s besides our point here). If you are feeling lonely, you can call a friend, go out with a group, or just spend hours sending messages to your friends’ Facebook inbox, comment on their pictures, write something fun on their wall and so on!
- The Ache to Belong: Have you been in a situation where you were asked: “REALLY? You don’t have an account on Facebook? How come?” I am sure at least someone you know has been in this situation. Facebook exploits the ache to belong through its great number of users and affiliates.
Is There A Solution?
Based on my above analysis, I think that the possibility of finding a solution for this Facebook addiction is almost non-existent, especially when you think of the factors that I have mentioned and how they are directly related to our psychological build up and personalities.
Therefore, and to conclude my argument, allow me to ask you the following questions: Do you agree with me that many of us out there are actually “mentally” addicted to Facebook? Do you think this addiction could be dangerous? And can you suggest a cure?