Is Facebook as addictive as Heroin?

I have written about this topic before, but these articles (well targeted by Twitter and Facebook) have sparked my attention again.

They are both really worrying. What I have written before I could still laugh about but now that the creator of the like-button compares Facebook to heroin... Wow.

And I can't prove him wrong. Let's talk about heroin. Wikipedia states the following: Common side effects include respiratory depression (decreased breathing), dry mouth, euphoria, and addiction. Other side effects can include abscesses, infected heart valves, blood-borne infections, constipation, and pneumonia. After a history of long-term use, withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours of last use.

Facebook is addictive. I've been there. Facebook is designed to keep the user on the network by giving him/her exactly what he/she wants. It is television, but better targeted. Because it knows everything from its user. And this makes it so addictive. But is it as addictive as heroin? Well... it does not have the same side effects physically, but I think that mentally it can be very similar. Facebook is something that can give you almost a euphoric pleasure, but this pleasure align well with the actual value it brings to you?

At least it's not harmful to our bodies! Right? Well... We think that. But we don't know! All we see is the tip of the iceberg. The whole world is using a technology that is changing faster than ever. The technology is changing for maximum profitability and user retention. Facebook is a commercial company. But is it okay to do that? What if this algorithm turns us into zombies?

You must be thinking I'm talking bullshit right now. But think about it for a moment. We get distracted by our phones a hundred times a day and this makes us less able to focus on one thing. How many times per day do you look at your phone while you were concentrating on something else? For me, it was a lot, so recently I completely blocked my phone between 7AM and 8PM using a tool calledfreedom, but it's not enough. Just like the creator of the like button, I'm saying goodbye to apps. I've just bought a Nokia 3310.

I feel that Facebook and all other attention-demanding websites and applications not only provide next to no value for me... I think it has a negative impact on the value I can provide to the world.

A lot of companies have no-phone regulations but what if you're home? When are you going to read a book and actually try to understand something for more than 10 seconds (before you scroll down to the next post)? Some individuals show a very short attention span and aren't able to suppress the urges to look at their phone while having a conversation or doing something important. It just feels like the right thing to do, but is it?

It may be a very strong claim but I'm gonna say it anyway (if I haven't lost your attention already, and gone to the next thing in your scroll-morphine slot-machine, you must agree with me. You must see it in a few individuals around you at least). So I think that our privacy is already gone. Our identity can be found everywhere on the internet and everybody can do with it whatever they want. Being addicted to your phone means your attention span is way shorter and this problem lasts the whole waking day because your phone is always nearby. A shorter attention span means you can provide less value to the world. In your job but also in your social life. Let's continue. I think that, once companies will recognize that social-media-addicted people have a shorter attention span and therefore become less valuable for them, they will not hire them anymore. In other words, our attention is taken, and so is our value. Just like heroin, our phones consume us and makes us less valuable. We are eaten by what we crave.

The internet connects the disconnected but disconnects the connected, and people are increasingly becoming more connected to the internet, and less connected to their surroundings. Their behavior is almost triggered by the neural network of their digital identity, so their identity is slowly moving online.

Quote from TechCrunch: "If you were to look at a complete model of your digital self, it would be a complex relational web. At the most granular level of that web are nodes, each representing actions (a text, a selfie, a purchase…). The connections between those nodes are formulas that infer relationships, record patterns and predict behavior. If you zoom out, you get the sub-web of a given service (Instagram account, Homeland Security profile, medical history…). These sub-webs then join together to form the larger web that is your digital identity.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, we should have ultimate control over our identity access points"

Maybe I'm extremely biased and maybe it's not that bad (all my research was done in the targeted facebook and twitter posts bubble), but I am a little concerned. What do you think guys? Is internet becoming too addictive? If this is a global trend, at what point will it become a global thread, or health issue, to say the least?

Sources:

How to solve attention pollution and cure your love/hate relationship with your smartphone

Notification-zombies

Time management

Elephant shit

Internet connects the unconnected, but disconnects the connected

Today I uninstalled WhatsApp to save 40 minutes a day

Counterproductive behaviors of solo-entrepreneurs,

The Guardian: Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

TechCrunch: The next revolution will be reclaiming your digital identity

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