There’s no question social media is addictive and a new documentary on Netflix, The Social Dilemma, delves into just how it was designed that way to keep you glued to the screen. Thankfully, some of former tech giant employees offer handy tips to try and escape this addiction.
From the makers of critically-acclaimed Chasing Coral comes a new documentary set to open your eyes on how social media has become a brainvirus we’re all infected with.
It’s called The Social Dilemma and it shows how popular platforms originally created to foster a sense of online community quickly descended into the cesspool they are today.
The documentary explores how social media giants — Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter — as well as services like Google, Amazon and Microsoft quickly realised they needed to monetise their services to garner profits. Through explanations from former employees, the doco shows how that solution was to generate advertising revenue. To maximise this income stream, they employed psychological techniques designed to keep users on the apps for as long as possible.
So if you’re finding it hard to shut your screen without instantly wanting to open it back up, that’s by design.
Naturally, the end result of that has become apparent through a number of societal problems we’re facing today. From misinformation, disinformation and conspiracies to increasing incidence of body dysmorphia, anxiety, depression and the tragic outcomes resulting from it.
While the horizon looks just as grim, there are some ways you can actively cut back on your consumption of it without going full turkey.
How to stop feeding the social media beast
If you’re going to get tips from anyone on how to limit your daily social media intake, you’ll want it to be from the people behind the addictive platforms themselves.
After the The Social Dilemma‘s eye-opening gloom, the final few minutes contain a few tips on how you can pry yourself its grips as well as not feed its information empire.
- If it’s taking up too much of you time, delete the app.
- Turn off all notifications but especially on social media apps.
- Don’t click on recommendations or use a Chrome extension to block them.
- Use apps or programs that have a stronger focus on privacy and anonymity.
- Don’t click on clickbait — it encourages the publisher and the algorithms.
- Follow people on social media you don’t agree with and get information from all sources.
- Keep devices out of the bedroom and stick to the rule.
- Try deleting your social media account if nothing else is working.
With tech companies becoming more mindful of the push against digital connectivity, there are also tools you can use to force a lock on specific apps or even your entire device. It can be particularly frustrating when it happens but it’s a good reminder that your sober version is trying to stop the version of you drunk on social-media induced endorphins.
And if you’re not convinced social media’s the big bad guy, give The Social Dilemma a watch and see if it makes you reconsider.