Welcome to the MEDIATEAM theme week: Social media: Leave your MARKeting!

This whole week will be about the developments, differences and opportunities of social media channels. A new blog or video special will be posted every day! For example, tomorrow we will throw you back in time with our video special about Hyves and MSN.  Later this week, you can read about influencer marketing in one of the upcoming blogs. Oh, don’t forget to look out for Mr. Potato! By finding him, you can win a Pathé cinema evening and fries! Check this post for more information. But now, before you will be overloaded with all the positive notes on these social apps, it is time for a moment of reflection. Because how manipulative and addicted is social media?

In 2017 Facebook (who also owns WhatsApp and Instagram) launched their new mission statement: “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”. But when you think about it: The more we have our eyes on our phones, scrolling through our timelines and texting others, the less attention we have for the people around us. So this statement sounds like a contradiction, don’t you think?

Social media vs. Cocaine

Social media platforms benefit from your data and the time you spend on their app. That is how they make money from advertisers. Platforms use your psychological vulnerabilities and dopamine effects, to make you grab your phone mindlessly over and over again. For example, did you know that in terms of addictiveness mobile social apps are considerably fostering more dependency than cocaine and alcohol? Shocking, right?! A literature review of 13 MRI studies showed that people with an Internet Addiction Disorder exhibit brain abnormalities, due to reduced levels of dopamine transporters, resembling brains of drug addicts and compulsive gamblers.

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So be aware as a future marketer to stay ethical in dealing with people’s time. Don’t waste it by being irrelevant with your message. And if Facebook really wants to ensure to be good for people’s well-being, it should change its psychological tactics for the better.

What makes social media addictive?

As a consumer you should also be aware of some things. Know that those apps are made to give you a dopamine shot. First, this will make you happy, but it is just a matter of time before you are begging for more. There are so many aspects of apps, which are designed to make you come back or stay longer. For example, the little number of unread messages in the corner. I can't stand those! What about you? I just need to click on the app, so that the number will dissappear. And what about the notifications which are continiously popping up and distracting you? I just have to open them and have a look. People like to get social validation (likes and comments) or to see new information (also when it is just a cat video). It gives us a good feeling. Even the time you have to wait for your timeline to refresh, is designed to enhance your dopamine shot. When you swipe down, wait for the page to refresh and for new information to appear, it feels like pulling the lever of a slot machine. We get a sense of winning! All these little tricks are what makes social media so addicitve and distracting.

How to kick the habit!

But don’t worry! Here are a few tips to keep your brain in check:

  1. Shut off your notifications to keep from being interrupted in your daily social life. If something is really important, people will call you.
  2. Don’t put your phone on the table in meetings, during studying and especially during dinner. Be close to the people around you.
  3. Keep your phone out of the bedroom to get a better night of sleep. The screenlight of your phone messes with your sleep and your biological clock, which will think it is still daytime.
  4. Try to enjoy your surroundings when having to wait for the train, bus or your friend to arrive without looking at your phone. Give your brain some peace of mind.

With this disclaimer about social media to keep in mind. Let’s enjoy this week full of tips, tricks and facts about popular social media channels like: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Spotify.

PS. Don’t forget to find Mr. Potato!