Social Media Identity Addiction

Posted on Posted in Psychology, Thoughts

As a millennial, I feel that my reputation proceeds me on this subject. When we think of the negative impacts of social media we tend to think of the instant gratification or the loss of emotional intelligence. However, one thing that I believe is truly harming our society is the constant competition which leads to social media identity addiction.

On social media, we portray the best parts of our lives or even live out fake lives. The reason for this is because the more interesting you are the more likes and follows you are going to get. Our constant need to be different, unique, and interesting is the perfect base for social media to feed on. On top of that many social media platforms have caught on and realized that if they can really drive that need up, even more, they can make an even bigger profit.

For example, Instagram will now withhold likes from its users and then blast them all at once. So instead of getting notifications from every like of follow you receive, once you open the Instagram app they give you a notification that tells you all the likes, follows, and comments you received. That way in order to get all your notifications you have to open the app, plus the users get a greater ego boost when they get a notification for 12 likes at once instead of 12 individual likes. Another example of this is on Snapchat. Several months ago Snapchat released this thing called a “streak.” This means that two users have been “snapping” with each other for so many consecutive days.  

For example, Instagram will now withhold likes from its users and then blast them all at once. So instead of getting notifications from every like of follow you receive, once you open the Instagram app they give you a notification that tells you all the likes, follows, and comments you received. That way in order to get all your notifications you have to open the app, plus the users get a greater ego boost when they get a notification for 12 likes at once instead of 12 individual likes. Another example of this is on Snapchat. Several months ago Snapchat released this thing called a “streak.” This means that two users have been “snapping” with each other for so many consecutive days.  

Social Media Rewards

What is so crazy about these reward systems is there really is no reward. On Snapchat all you get is an emoji next to your friend’s name whom you hold the streak with. Then on Instagram, all you get is an ego boost that so many people are interested in what you are posting. These “rewards” driving people to use these social media platforms even more. 

Personally, I only use Snapchat anymore to keep the streaks with my friends. Nothing interesting happens in my life every single day that feels “snap-worthy” so I will take a picture of something random and text “streak” on top of the picture and send it. I am not the only person who does that either because Snapchat released an emoji on their app that users can put on their pictures that just says “Streak.” The need was so great they had to create an emoji. This just makes the whole process easier, so now instead of having to type out the word “streak” with the click of a button the “Streak” emoji is there. 

So the constant competition between users plus the social media platforms finding new ways to make their apps even easier to use are making people of all ages more addicted to their online identities.