Social media and networking sites are booming and still gaining more members and pages. Why is that? What is it about social media that we love so much, that keeps us coming back for more? There are plenty of things involved, as it is a question not easily answered with a simple sentence.
Dopamine Levels Increase with Each Notification
Ever so slowly and in small traces, our dopamine levels can increase with every notification. Now, things get much more intense if we are expecting a notification, from a crush, a salesperson, a job contact, or even somebody new or old, from our past. The designers of these sites know that and the notifications are usually red or fairly noticeable, in a way that encourages you to click.
Every like, every favorite and form of feedback gives you a small increase of dopamine, so naturally, our response is usually to go back and check for more. It can slowly turn into an addiction.
The Hive Mind
Sometimes, we like to belong to a group. Seeing that multiple people like a video you did, a photo you also liked, or anything else that reinforces your values and beliefs, can easily sway you to come back and look for similar levels of approval, on different topics. A top rated comment is something you strive for, with every post. The hive mind can sway you to new topics, seeing that your friends have also liked something, a bit different than what you normally browse for, but still, they are your friends. This also plays a vital role for advertisements.
Social Media Sites as Advertisements
Social media sites are a breeding ground for advertisements. If those advertisements are not specific and intentional, then seeing your favorite streamer wearing headsets of a certain brand is definitely going to turn you towards that brand. Seeing your friends like a certain brand of clothing, shoes or cars, even, can help you decide on your next car or pair of shoes.
The manufacturers know this and use the platforms as a relatively cheap method of advertising which does have quite a long reach.
The Feeling of Self-Importance
Having many friends, likes and followers can give you reinforcement and a feeling of value. You can easily define yourself by the quantity of likes and followers, something that might not hold real value but easily produces a feeling of value.
Social media sites have been around for some time and are still popular, due to many reasons, from biological ones to psychological ones, as well as serving a purpose for both shops, major companies and even scientists, as an area of study. One thing is for sure, they are here to stay.