The movie seems dull, and we check our phone, expecting a WhatsApp update. We all might be familiar with this situation. The consequences of scrolling down the Instagram’s search page for hours; checking WhatsApp messages every two minutes and other short lived activities, they are largely affecting our behavior and attention span. Ten years ago, we did not have our Instagram profiles, however we did have hardcover novels and books with us, which was read by literally everyone. People do read now, but the ratio is recessive. A recent study shows that an average British adult is spending 50 days online in a year! Technology is dominant over us now?
Digital world and Increasing bandwidth may provide us easily accessible knowledge, but it is reducing the duration of information transmission like a paradigm of unlucky hierarchy. Technology is shifting its pace rapidly, but it is also changing the way human react and perceive things.
Social media’s behavior
Someone said “distribution is free now, earlier it used to cost a fortune.” People weren’t recognized earlier nor were their business to the foreign world. However, now the barrier of recognition is completely removed by the world of social media. Facebook’s sole purpose was to connect people domestically as well as internationally by building a bridge over the geographic factor. People change in time, so does the goals and desires of certain companies. Similarly, some applications are now being encrypted and designed in a certain way to ensure that the users become addicted to them.
People find themselves hooked to Instagram and YouTube as earlier they had enabled notifications and update features. Technology is booming and Internet bandwidth is drastically increasing at every inch on the surface of earth. 4G network has ensured great speed with a promise to never let the user down. One of the perks of the 4G network is “Content“.
Content is the idea of a person, while the Idea is carried by the network companies and is presented by the Social media giants. Content flow is the major factor which allows the user to wander more. Making the user to crave for more content and data, is the major goal of the companies, as more the user stays on the application, more profit the company will incur.
A consumer is always exploited by the producer, whether it’s retail or digital. A consumer will never understand how much he/she is being exploited. We are all connected on Instagram with each other, whether its in New York or in a city in Rajasthan. But, the actual fact is, we are not connected to each other. People are so involved in their phones, that they are not aware of their surroundings. People don’t realize that they are not able to have a conversation with a person sitting next to them.
Reality often hurts. But this reality is lethal. Citizens of humanity have actually forgotten the main agenda and purpose of basic human laws. Sitting together and lost together. The sole purpose of socializing is now officially corrupted.
Facts state that Multitasking increases a person’s mental health and develops their problem solving skills. But now, people are indulged into a different type of multitasking. We might have seen people checking their phones multiple times, checking their Instagram feed when something boring / normal appears. We might have dealt with this kind of situation ourselves or could be dealing with it. People have to realize that they have lost their attention span due to the flow of content and by seeking the rush of dopamine.
Applications like Tik tok and Instagram are responsible for the degradation of attention span of an Individual. But how does that even happen?
We can read a book and gain some knowledge ; we can see a movie dedicated to that novel and consume some knowledge ; we can watch a video on YouTube on that piece of art and gulp the same knowledge. What is happening here? The transfer of knowledge remains, but the amount of time and concentration is heavily degraded. Availability of High speed Internet and technology has inclined people more towards videos and short paced knowledge.
|Reading the Book Rich dad poor dad||1 month|
|A friend explaining the book Rich dad poor dad||1-2 Hours|
|Watching a YouTube video explaining Rich dad poor dad||10-15 Minutes|
|Someone explaining 5 takeaways from the book on Tik Tok||30-45 Seconds|
Dopamine, Cortisol and Technology
People who consume Cannabis and alcohol experience a mood often called as ‘High’, but not everyone experience these certain kinds of high. However, one particular high is experienced by every person on this planet, which is the surge of dopamine in the human body. Dopamine is a hormone and a neurotransmitter that plays several important roles in the brain and body. Whenever a person is in Stress, ‘Cortisol’ is released, which is a stress releasing hormone. Cortisol makes a person works and concentrate, but longer period of cortisol release can make a person extremely tired and it generates anxiety and drowsiness.
Dopamine is released to combat out cortisol and its effects. Dopamine is released usually when a person is engaged in sexual activity or is in midst of an orgasm. Dopamine provides pleasure and relax to a human. Interestingly, studies have proven that there is one more activity which produces Dopamine in abundance, which is Social media .
Every 15 minutes a person thinks constantly about their social media activity, thoughts like these often arise-
- Someone might have commented on my last post
- lets check twitter for some new updates
- Alia might have posted, lets check her Instagram
- There might be someone’s birthday today, lets check Facebook for it
- There must be something new on YouTube, I should check it.
While thinking about these thoughts, Cortisol is releasing and doing its work by making the person highly anxious. So to get rid of that anxiety, the person checks their feed and dopamine is released instantly giving the person pleasing effects and satisfaction or we should say “Dopamine high”.
Instagram’s search page and dopamine rush
The most random and yet the most powerful strategy to hook the users to Instagram, is the the Instagram’s search page. When the organic feed of the user is finished, the search page provides the user a wonderful experience to experience their interests in form of random images. Instagram analyzes the user’s interests and displays relevant yet random images to the search page. If someone likes to cook, then the search page will be filled of mouth watering dishes, delicacies and savories.
The search page is like an infinite loop of content which activates the person’s dopamine rush for an extremely long duration. When the person realizes that it has been too long wandering off to random posts, It will be too late.
Today many people find difficult to manage their schedule and learn different things as they often feel low and tired, because they have consumed enough dopamine within the past hour which was supposed to be consumed for another day.
Technology is neutral ?
Some people find it hard to cope up and take a break from the technology that they are using. Technology is neutral, it acts the way the user wants it to perform. There is an utmost need for everyone, especially the youth to understand the value that time holds with itself. Building great ideas and businesses take up a neutral approach towards different aspects of development. A frugal and flexible mind devoid of any obligations can result in huge success.
This article’s agenda is not to demean social media, but is to understand that we are forgetting who we are and who we used to be; we are slipping into anxious loops and jeopardizing our career and our potential.
The usability of technology is neutral, rest is the motive of the user.