Social Media: Addictive by Design

Social Media: Addictive by Design

Today, we live in a technology driven society where we often bypass the real world to get our “digital quick fix” on social media. For example, how many times a day do you casually scroll Facebook, share a funny video from Youtube or even post a story to Snapchat? Now, this may seem like completely innocent pass-time; however, is social media something you could easily deactivate and not hesitate about?

Well, for most of us the answer is no because social media is not just a platform to keep in touch with friends and family but has literally become a central line for networking world-wide. Thus, social media platforms have successfully gone from a option to a necessity. By not being connected online, you will not only have a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) but you will also be the black sheep in a technology driven society.

Take for example a Cornell University study that used data from the website, that encourages people to stop using Facebook for (you guessed it) 99 days. All though, participants wanted to quit and believed they could quit most only lasted a few days. Those who lasted longer were able to cope if they had still had access to other platforms like Twitter. Overall, the fear of missing out took over and the addiction of social media won for many who attempted to quit but failed.

Why? Well it may not necessarily be our fault as social media is actually ‘addictive by design’. Psychologically, we tend to favour small short rewards (online gratification) over long large rewards (doing homework). All though, we know doing homework will benefit us in the long run we know we won’t receive that gratification until a future time (getting that A+). Hence, deactivating Facebook may lead you to doing more homework but also to missing out online.

Thus, we choose social media over homework because the gratification is immediate and hello, we are addicted and have major FOMO!




Cornwell University. (2015, December 10). CORNELL RESEARCH: THESE FACTORS MIGHT EXPLAIN WHY WE CAN – OR CAN’T – QUIT FACEBOOK. Retrieved November 1, 2016, from Cornell.Edu:


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