Picture this: you’re sat at home watching your favourite programme, your phone buzzes and you see the Facebook logo illuminate your screen.
A) Immediately open it
B) Leave it a bit – they can wait until you’ve finished binge watching this series on Netflix
C) End up forgetting about it until the little notification number haunting your app becomes too high to ignore
Well for many people, it seems the only answer is A, according to Vrije University in Amsterdam which found evidence to suggest Facebook is as addictive as chocolate and cigarettes!
The study looked at 200 Facebook users reactions to a series of photos; some containing the Facebook logo and some without.
Results showed that when frequent Facebook users were shown photos with the Facebook logo in them, it sparked spontaneous pleasurable reactions, while a follow-up study showed that they instantly crave to use the app after briefly seeing the logo.
Google’s former product manager Tristan Harris commented on the smartphone addiction, claiming that technology companies are using tactics from casinos to fuel it – comparing the feeling of getting a notification to the feeling of gambling, eliciting the same “what did I get?” sensation.
He suggested that this may be why app users can gradually earn ‘rewards’ such as Snapchat scores and streaks, describing this as companies ‘hijacking’ people’s minds and creating a habit for them.
BUT, it’s not all bad news. Although tricks of the trade exist, it is possible to handle it in a healthy way while keeping up to date.
Now we know how difficult that can be – sitting waiting for a friend? You’re on your phone. On your lunch break? You’re on your phone. Lying in bed? You’re on your phone.
So what’s the fix?
Follow our top tips to target your social media addiction:
Evaluate – It seems that social media has become a buffer for boredom – so despite its useful properties for interacting, communicating and news sharing it’s important to evaluate why you’re using it every time you do.
Detox – This is the best of both worlds; having a break without deleting your accounts permanently. For example, Facebook has a deactivation tool to appear as though the user has deleted their profile, giving them the power to choose when to reinstate it. We love this list of benefits for a social media detox.
Despite the addictive properties it could have, social media can really boost your business or personal profile so don’t go completely cold turkey!
Schedule – It’s important for businesses to update their social media regularly, but with the creation of sites like Hootsuite which can do all the work for you there’s no excuse to be glued to the screen all day. Take a look at our advice from earlier this year.
We understand that different social media accounts require different levels of attention, so work on exercising moderation and striking the right balance. If your job needs you to be online all day, why not have a break from your personal account when you get home?
Whatever you choose, remember there is a world beyond your phone screen that requires your attention as well.