My family are sick of me banging on about how addictive social media is and for the sake of peace I’ve given up trying to influence them but just like global warming, the evidence against social media is growing and some extremely clever people are starting to talk about it’s dangers. Within 2 or 3 years we will all understand how the technology giants have made us into a tech addicts and we will have to go ‘cold turkey’ if we want to cure ourselves of this addiction.

I was never really into social media anyway but I removed all the apps (including Google) from my phone quite a long time ago. If you’ve sent me a message on Facebook in the last couple of years and noticed that I haven’t replied yet, it’s not because I’m a technophobe and it’s not because I don’t like you. I’ve just decided that the tech giants don’t have my best interests at heart.  In fact they couldn’t care less about individual users like me, they just want to make more money. They know that if they can get me addicted to Facebook (or any of the other SM platforms) and join the millions of zombies glued to their screens, then they will get some more advertising revenue from their clients.

Now before you say ‘I don’t buy things I see advertised on Facebook’ please understand that Facebook don’t care about you either, they are playing the numbers game here. If they show something to ten million people then a percentage of them will buy it. And incidentally it’s not just products or services they are selling you either. If someone wants to pay Facebook to post an article written to influence your political opinions or some fake news designed to make you mistrust a particular politician, Facebook won’t check if the information is correct or not, they’ll just take the money and post the info!

How have they got millions of us addicted to their platforms? I know I’m not smart enough to explain this properly but Jaron Lanier definitely is. If you watch this video or read this book you’ll get the real story. Jaron Lanier is a very strange looking guy but don’t let that put you off, he’s known in the computer industry as the father of Virtual Reality and is very well qualified to understand how and why we’ve all been duped. If you really want to get scared then watch the Netflix documentary Social Dilemma.

Isn’t it interesting that social media companies call people like you and me ‘users’?  It’s exactly the same term used to describe drug addicts!  A drug addict is someone who can’t leave their drug alone and has to get their regular fix. Junkies will tell you that they aren’t addicted and they can stop taking the drug any time they choose. Is that what you would say about your social media use?

If you’d like to find out your level of addiction, try this: No social media for a week! If you’re really brave: no Trademe, no YouTube and no Google either. Some time ago I decided to stop playing the technology giants game and I feel a lot better for it. Maybe it could improve life for you too?

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