Social media has had a tremendous influence on our culture, in business, on the world at large. It’s hard to even imagine that a little over a decade ago there was no Facebook or Twitter. 16 years ago people were actually waiting to hear from one another because even email was a luxury. Social media has revolutionized the way people communicate and socialize on the Web. However, this may sound a bit dramatic but social media are taking over our minds by misusing psychological vulnerabilities to operate and control our time and attention. Here are things social media does to control your mind.
Uses Social Proof
Social proof is the term for the psychological phenomenon where people copy the actions of others in an attempt to perform the correct behavior in a situation. To encourage people to stay active on their sites, social media platforms will continuously remind them of the activity of your friends. If you try to take a break, they’ll capitalize on your FOMO (fear of missing out) with email updates of what your friends are doing without you.
The only way to use messenger on Facebook is to publicize to everyone that you’re online. Facebook ensures that you know when all your friends have been active—to the minute. In this way, social media capitalizes on social proof by making it seem like everyone’s using social media all the time and that you should be, too.
Spies on You
Facebook tracks users’ Internet usage: Every website that has a Facebook pixel will report your visit to Facebook. Facebook buys information from companies that sell credit reports, which contain information like income and lawsuit involvement. The company even purchases information from supermarket loyalty programs, so they may know what your grocery bill looks like. Unless you’ve changed your privacy settings, Facebook tracks your location. Recently, Facebook users discovered that Facebook even keeps log histories of phone calls and texts. With this information, Facebook categorizes you according to a database of about 52,000 attributes.
People are more likely to follow the instructions of someone who appears to be an authority. People are more likely to believe that a website is an authority if it appears to be a real organization, is professionally designed, is easy to use, and has a simple way to contact people for assistance on the site. When social media sites do this, people feel comfortable giving these websites their information.
Social media platforms further trick you about their privacy settings by using “dark patterns” of design. Often, these sites feature padlocks in the corner which make people feel like their information is secure.
Here you go, ‘Things social media does to control your mind.’ Missed out any other point? If yes, share your thoughts in the comment section below.
There are many good things about using social media, and many bad things too. But make sure to stay alert.