Social media addiction is a bigger problem than you think

Can't stay away from social media? You're not alone; social networking is engineered to be as habit-forming as crack cocaine.

1 2 3 4 5 Page 4
Page 4 of 5
viewing online video on a computer screen in a dark room Thinkstock

YouTube: The perfect cocktail of addictive ingredients

YouTube is addictive, too, especially for people under the age of 20 or so, who use YouTube as their main source of entertainment. Serial YouTube video clicking is akin to the compulsion to TV channel-surf. You flip through the channels endlessly because surely something better must be on right now. YouTube is like TV, but with a billion channels.

What habitual young YouTubers are watching is a key to understanding why it's addictive for them. Most of this watching involves videos where YouTube stars talk to the camera. Here's an example. Here's another. (Note how many viewers these videos are getting — it dwarfs the audiences of any TV show.)

Shows like these trick the human brain into feeling like the YouTuber star is talking directly to the viewer, and makes the viewer feel like they have a personal relationship with the person in front of the camera.

Meanwhile, there's another Darwinian contest taking place. YouTube stars have learned how to speak in a way that grabs and holds the attention of the viewer. They've learned how to make their own on-screen personalities addictive.

It combines the innate human attraction for social interaction with a Darwinian contest among stars to master the art of attention-grabbing charisma plus the channel-surfing compulsion plus an addictive social networking element in the comments sections.

1 2 3 4 5 Page 4
Page 4 of 5
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon