I will be straightforward.
Social media makes us want instant gratification. We want to put the least effort to get the good feelings immediately. Good feelings and sense of achievement require a lot of hard work and patience in the past before Web 2.0. This makes the value created by a huge population diluted by meaningless things. A loss the world has to pay.
This is a very serious problem in our society today. It changed how we behave, perceive things, live, and advance as humans. I will be blunt and straightforward in this post, because maybe 90% of the population has a very low attention span now.
We are addicted with social media, including me. You are probably too. Social media was created for a good purpose, but in order to succeed, they had no choice but to raise the “Engagement” between the users and the platforms (websites and apps).
In order to make things very simple to understand, I will explain how it works with examples. Social media has harmed our brain in the way it functions, a lot of people now think in a short term basis with a very low attention span. It reminds me of monkeys. We are not monkeys, but we are currently being trained to be. So freaking stop being trained, for God’s sake.
Fact: People know that looking at their phones all the time is bad. The reason they can’t put their phones down is because they are addicted. They are victims of the digital drugs. At this point, I’m also a victim. Let’s change it.
Here are 2 examples to make you understand what I mean:
Sense of Support
What it means to support a cause, or someone you care? In the past, it means going to meet them and talk to that person. After telephone was invented, it means calling someone you care and say how proud you are with them.
At this time, support is merely a “like” or a short “comment”. It feels meaningful at first, but slowly we start giving “like” to almost every single thing.
Which do you think is more meaningful? 100 likes to 100 people, or 1 phone call to 1 person?
Of course you will say 1 phone call (if you don’t, you should really read this post to the end). So, why do people prefer give “like” than a meaningful phone call or meet up? Because it is so easy. You just need a click on Facebook, or a double-tap on Instagram.
People know this is true, but they stop questioning what they do, because they are addicted. When you give a “like”, a little part of you feel happy, you feel supportive, it is instant kick of dopamine to our brain. Dopamine makes us excited and happy. But, the next one is even more addictive.
Sense of Achievement
In the past, in order to get the sense of achievement they need to produce a huge value to the society. Or to win a competition, to build a successful business, to invent something. What about the people that can’t accomplish that?
Ok, let’s think about this:
Why do you post something useful on Facebook? Because you merely want people to learn something new, or you want people to relate you with the knowledge you share, you feel good to be acknowledged for it. “Like” and “comment” are proofs.
Why do you share something funny on Facebook? Because you want others to laugh, you feel that you are somehow giving value to them. And if people “like” it, you feel good. Remember that Dopamine makes us excited and happy, and it is addictive because it feels good.
Wait, is this really a problem? Yes and No. The bad things about this behaviour is that our brain is accustomed to sense of achievement from social media, because it is something you can easily get every single day (if you know the tricks).
It makes people hunt for something that they can achieve quickly, when in reality, great things take time. And all those times you work for it, you won’t want to waste your time in social media.
I hope this short explanation is enough for you to understand how social media has created a habit of instant gratification in your life. It makes you want things to be easy and fast. This subject is long by itself, so if you want to understand further about this subject, read Hooked by Nir Eyal, it is a book to understand how startup companies actually create habit forming products. For startup guys, this is the gold, please use it responsibly.
The Cost of Instant Gratification
I assume you understand what has happened, so what is the real cost?
- Lose of focus, low attention span.
- Give up easily, low in patience.
- Less meaningful relationships.
Don’t believe it? Let’s answer this questions:
- When was the last time you can read a book non-stop for 3 hours?
- When was the last time you work hard for something for years to accomplish something?
- When was the last time you actually spend quality time with your parents, talking about what you love to do, what you hope you can achieve, knowing their concerns, knowing what they want to do, etc?
I hope you can easily answer the questions, it is a good sign. But if you can’t even read something without touching your phones every 5, 15, or 30 minutes, you are in a deep trouble. If you only “worked hard” and give up on a business after a few weeks, or months, you are in a deep trouble. If you only have quality time with your parents once every a few weeks or months when you are literally staying in the same city with them, you need help.
We have overflow of information and instant gratification, and we need to be able to manage it.
All the people that have succeeded in the past are focused in whatever they do, they are not distracted all the time. How do you become really good at something if you are distracted all the time? I was also a victim and I have changed. This post is meant to remind you about what you are good at, and to focus on it.
In my parents’ time, when they started a business, they need to slowly struggle from the bottom. Some of their friends spent the first 3 years doing badly, until the business took off really fast afterwards. How many young entrepreneurs nowadays really hold on for 3 years?
A lot of nowadays young entrepreneurs expect things to be so f*cking easy and instant. They read to much articles about startups who gain gazillion valuations in a few months, a year, and so. They work on a business for a few months and call it a day if they can’t succeed. It is okay to be wrong, but never ever stop. I think being a businessman is an infinite marathon, it is not a single / finite sprint. The winner is not the ones who is the fastest, but the ones who never stop and reach the furthest.
The easy ways to stop this b*llshit
- Go to your phone, remove all the notifications from Social Media Apps. Yes, I mean all. Why not just delete it? You still need it for communication with people.
- Stop checking all your emails. Some people have the habit to open every single email. Just tick the ones you don’t want to read, and mark as read or delete it. If you have time, unsubscribe to 95% of what you have subscribed. Pareto principle. Yes, it is not 80 : 20 anymore, brother. It is 95 : 5.
- Stop giving “like” to everything. It is good for you and for the receiver. Only give “like” to useful contents and celebrations (birthdays, winning competition, new year, Christmas, and so on).
- Research about how to further stop the addiction to useless digital media.
- If you agree with everything I said in this post, you need help. Try questioning everything I have stated and find your own understanding. Social also made us agree with things more easily, because we are trained to judge something really quick: If you think it is good and agree, click like, if no, scroll down.
- If you don’t agree with some, congrats! You have your own stand and it is good.
- If you don’t agree with all, congrats! You still have the focus to read everything. 🙂
Adios, if you have thoughts or want to connect with me (I am not a therapist btw, don’t come with problems). I love opportunities: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org