What makes our fingers flutter?

It’s dinner time in a local restaurant. A group of teens sit eagerly awaiting for their food to be delivered. The waitress appears. Chins levitate. “HERE’S OUR FOOD!” one girl shouts as her pasta gets closer. It’s been a long day and stomachs are rumbling. But, as the plates hit the table, knives and forks stay where they are… and the camera phones appear

Psychology of Social Networking BuzzingLikes.com

There’s something mysteriously satisfying about other people interacting & showing interest in our social network profiles & posts. But, what is it?

Well, as it turns out, every time you receive a notification on say, your Instagram profile, be it a like, a comment or a new follower, your brain actually releases a small amount of dopamine – the chemical that plays an important role in:Psychology of Social Networking BuzzingLikes.com

  • Motor control
  • Motivation
  • Arousal
  • Cognition
  • Reward
  • Lactation
  • Sexual gratification
  • Nausea and more.

So, we’re not really social network addicts – it’s just that the dopamine release which we achieve when someone shows that they give a f*ck just gives us physical and mental pleasure.

“PING”…Psychology of Social Networking BuzzingLikes.com

So, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brains pleasure & reward centres. It also helps to regulate movement & emotions.

Not only does this enable us to feel rewards, but to move towards them as well. The reward in this case being the notification.

But is this good or bad? Well, it’s quite good to a certain extent. Social networks bring a lot to the table. However, like everything, moderation is key. Burgers, alcohol, sugar, weed, exercise… and yes, social networks, should be consumed or used in moderation.

We scroll and scroll, telling our brains that there is an end result – looking for gossip, news and updates from our loved ones. So…

What’s the harm?…Psychology of Social Networking 2

In the following interview taken from RealSimple.com, Psychologist Sherry Turkle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of “Alone, Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other,” we uncover the possible harm and the outcome of our excessive use of social networks.

Q. Exactly why are we so attached to our digital devices?

They provide something our brains really want: the opportunity for what’s called “seeking behaviour.” We’re born hunter-gatherers, and in a way, a Google search is like going out and finding a deer to bring home. It activates that instinct and gives you an emotional buzz.

Q. Is technology truly addictive?

I prefer a different word: I would say technology is extremely seductive. A smartphone offers something that isn’t like the lure of passively watching TV, and our brains are uniquely vulnerable to it.

Q. Because with TV you’re a watcher, and here you’re an active participant?

Yes, it’s a perfect storm. Our brains crave constant stimulation, and these devices allow you to skip over waiting and go straight to scintillating sound bites.

Q. What is it that makes us jump at every ping?

It’s that desire to find out who wants you, not really the content relayed in the text.

Q. What’s the fallout of these habits?

There’s less tolerance for the boring bits in life. Part of my fieldwork is to stand at stop signs and watch what happens in cars. The moment people stop, they reach for their phones. They can’t be alone with their thoughts. Parents need to show kids that there’s no need to panic if you’re without your phone. If you don’t teach children that it’s OK to be alone, they’ll only know how to be lonely.

Q. Why is it so satisfying to rack up Facebook friends and Twitter followers?

As a psychologist, what I hear most often is “Nobody listens to me.” With all these “friends” and followers, you have automatic listeners.

Q. So are these just meaningless connections?

They can be meaningful. Social media and texting are great ways to stay in touch. But that doesn’t mean you should live your entire social life online. It’s a useful supplement to face-to-face interaction, not a substitute. With cyber-connections, you aren’t exercising the same emotional competencies that you do in person.

Q. Why has texting become more common than talking?

Because it protects people from the possibility of confrontation. There’s a whole generation that isn’t learning how to have a conversation. I asked some kids why they choose to avoid face-to-face communication, and one boy said, “It takes place in real-time, and you can’t control what you’re going to say.” Without this skill, kids aren’t prepared to negotiate many of life’s bumps.

Q. Do smartphones harm relationships?

Yes, if you allow your attention to be swayed. I’ve observed several young adults’ dinner conversations. Say there is a group of seven. Three are engaged at a time. The rest are scanning the group to see if enough people are participating so they can sneak back to their phones.

Everyone alternately drifts in and out of the discussion, saying, “Wait, what?” These conversations can’t go that deep. A recent study found that if you place a phone on a table, personal or heavy topics won’t even come up. You wouldn’t want to bring up your mother’s illness if there’s a good chance that you’ll be interrupted and feel hurt. It’s not that people don’t have profound things to say. But we’re stripping away the conditions for saying those things to each other.

Q. Would you say technology is making us dumber?

I’m pro-technology. But, the digital world can sometimes make us forget what we know about life: that there’s no greater gift than giving someone your full attention. Why are we using these tools in ways that cause us to take our attention off each other? That doesn’t seem smart.

To conclude…Psychology of Social Networking

Yesoveruse of social media can be harmful. Males and females everywhere are becoming obsessed with image and the opinions of people who they don’t even like, or perhaps haven’t even met.

It’s these things growing up that make life seem more complicated than it actually is and make us forget about what’s important and what we should be making the most of, as well as where we should be focusing the limited time we have – with family, friends and ourselves. Sh*t, most people these days don’t even know themselves – they’re too busy reading what other people are thinking.

But – we can gain a lot from using social networks. We can find and communicate with family and friends that we perhaps couldn’t have before. We can learn things about subjects we like. We can build successful social-media based careers. We can promote services for our companies. We can watch funny videos of cats, dogs and monkeys chasing each other!

Just remember… for every second you use scrolling, spying or searching pointlessly on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or any other social network, you could be spending quality face-to-face time with your friends and family or developing yourself and your own life. So, do you need to work on your moderation?