Is Facebook Creating a Society of Dopamine Addicts?

Dennis Ryan, Element 79, Chicago AdvertisingScientists have proven that one physiological reason we constantly check emails or social networks s is that when we find something interesting or something that challenges us to respond, our brains release a burst of dopamine.  Overtime, we become hooked on this stimulus and that can cause a cavalcade of negative consequences, from fractured attention spans to compulsive glancing at mobile devices, even while driving in heavy traffic.

We all have our own anecdotal evidence about this phenomenon but a study from Retrevo that asked social media users just where, when and how often they checked sites and services like Facebook or Twitter confirms: we’re addicted.

Now like any addict, we all lie to ourselves and claim we can control it, but the data suggests otherwise.  48% of respondents check Facebook and Twitter right before bed and 42% immediately upon waking.  If that’s not addiction, it’s at least not healthy.

Check out their findings by surfing here.  If you don’t see yourself in their findings, god bless you.  If you do, welcome to the club.  And get ready for a whole new kind of twelve step program…

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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Leah Barrett says:

I’m sad to say I am totally part of these statistics. When I wake up, while I’m on the train, waiting to cross the street, before I go to bed. It’s a sad, sad addiction. But I do learn a lot about what’s happening in the world – for example, Facebook posts were the first to inform me there had been an earthquake in Haiti, that Michael Jackson and Patrick Swayze both passed on, that the US won their World Cup yesterday, I could go on. So all isn’t lost.

David says:

As if you needed another media source tugging at your attention, I offer an old school source of dopamine you can enjoy passively: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/ The guys at Radiolab offer dozens of interesting, well produced audio shows that challenge conventional thinking. All you have to do is sit back and listen between updating your Facebook status, Tweeting, and Stumbling on. Enjoy…