Social media is something that has become so ingrained in the lives of people all around the world that we tend to open our social apps without even thinking twice about it. We feel the need to keep up on the latest posts from our friends and find breaking news before the mainstream media can even type up a report on it.
As a result, there are over 4.7 billion active social media users around the world, or in other words, around two-thirds of the entire global population. Social media apps are competing with each other for one thing, and it’s not money, it’s your attention. To do this, apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more come up with ways to have you open the app time and time again. Social media apps use these five strategies to keep you coming back for more every day to the point where the average internet user is on social media for 2.5 hours per day.
The Auto Play feature now available across many apps is a relatively recent way social media is further designed to keep you hooked. It can be hard to put your phone down once you get sucked into the seemingly endless amount of videos at your disposal on apps like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. They’re designed to gain, and more importantly, keep your attention on the content provided by the app. The longer you’re hooked, the more the app benefits.
Endless Content Scrolling
Like the Auto Play videos on many apps, there’s also a load of other, seemingly endless, content. From pictures, advertisements, games, events, news articles, celebrity gossip, and offers for deals on purchases. There’s a multitude of ways social media is designed to hone in on your interests and capture your attention.
Social media offers so many different features, ways to share content, and ways to absorb content to keep the user from getting bored of the app. This pretty much causes most users generally looking to hop on social media as a distraction from their boredom.
Notifications are social media’s way of pulling you back in for more. Once you’re on your device and checking notifications, it’s not hard to stick around and take a look, ultimately spending more time on social media apps. Whether it’s a message notification, a notification a friend is posting, a tempting offer, or the sought-after “like” on a post/picture you posted, social media leaves us wanting the excitement of those notifications more and more.
It can become a distraction during work, driving, or enjoying time with loved ones. Of course, there are settings you can change on your devices so you don’t receive notifications at all, or receive silent ones if you prefer to keep up to date without as much of a distraction. Though, social media tends to bug you relentlessly about turning on notifications after you turn them off.
The algorithm on any social media or entertainment app is designed to keep you satisfied by providing suggestions for content from users and channels you seem to pay more attention to, or suggestions for content similar to what you enjoy. It’s a sneaky way to pique your interest, making it harder to put your phone down after you find yourself going down the rabbit hole of new content.
Yearning for Others’ Approval
Social media is a great way to connect with others and put yourself out there. With the growing number of social media “influencers” out there, social media has turned into a sort of toxic environment where likes and popularity are all that matters.
The immense pressure from others to look flawless at an unattainable level, or to seem adventurous and fun, is unhealthy. A lot of people end up faking it to gain popularity and likes. What you see on social media is typically very different than real life, so take everything with a grain of salt and don’t try to reach standards so far overshot.