What drives our addiction to social media
August 24, 2019 8:00 AM   Subscribe

If social media is an addiction machine, the addictive behaviour it is closest to is gambling: a rigged lottery. Every gambler trusts in a few abstract symbols – the dots on a dice, numerals, suits, red or black, the graphemes on a fruit machine – to tell them who they are. In most cases, the answer is brutal and swift: you are a loser and you are going home with nothing. The true gambler takes a perverse joy in anteing up, putting their whole being at stake. On social media, you scratch out a few words, a few symbols, and press send, rolling the dice. The internet will tell you who you are and what your destiny is through arithmetic likes, shares and comments. A long read from The Guardian published August 23, 2019.

...A 2015 study looked into the reasons why people who try to quit social media fail. The survey data came from a group of people who had signed up to quit Facebook for just 99 days. Many of these determined quitters couldn’t even make the first few days. And many of those who successfully quit had access to another social networking site, like Twitter, so that they had simply displaced their addiction. Those who stayed away, however, were typically in a happier frame of mind and less interested in controlling how other people thought of them, thus implying that social media addiction is partly a self-medication for depression and partly a way of curating a better self in the eyes of others. Indeed, these two factors may not be unrelated.

For those who are curating a self, social media notifications work as a form of clickbait. Notifications light up the reward centres of the brain, so that we feel bad if the metrics we accumulate on our different platforms don’t express enough approval. The addictive aspect of this is similar to the effect of poker machines or smartphone games, recalling what the cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han calls the “gamification of capitalism”.

Related, if tangentially, from elsewhere on the web:
Many companies make the mistake of overlooking one of their most significant potential marketing assets: their employees. Employee advocacy, the promotion of a company by its team members, plays a critical role in an organization's social media marketing strategy. The Founder and CEO of a real estate technology company "that helps real estate agents build a brand worth talking about" encourages employers to colonize their workers ever more fully. Via one of Forbes' crappy contributors

Three-year-old twins Taytum and Oakley Fisher recently branched out from starring in their family's YouTube channel to having a channel of their own. Via CBS News

Finally, Liza Mandelup’s new documentary Jawline finds a window into the way teenagers use the internet now, offering an unusually intimate view of the new economy of social media stardom. Via The New Republic

Previously on the blue.
posted by Bella Donna (32 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Those who stayed away, however, were typically in a happier frame of mind and less interested in controlling how other people thought of them

This accurately describes how quitting Facebook and Twitter and deleting my Instagram app has affected me. Or maybe I was already on that path and that’s partly what motivated me to dial back on social media. Chicken and egg. To some extent I’ve substituted screentime on Metafilter and (to a much larger extent) reading on my Kindle. But either way, it’s been healthier for me—diminished stress, a quieter mind, increased patience, less comparing, a lot less mindless spending (even though these days most of my Instagram time is spend looking at interior design posts), more kindness, more time. I do worry about turning inward too much. But even if it’s more selfish, it’s so freeing.
posted by sallybrown at 8:14 AM on August 24, 2019 [15 favorites]

I hope folks will read the full article. There is a lot in the beginning that reminds me of MetaFilter in the sense that we write away, for free, often (in my case, for sure) in hope of gaining social approval. I am not proud of that but I am not ashamed, either. It is just a fact.

In any case, one of the things I appreciated about this article is that it pulled in a variety of sources. I had not heard of the “gamification of capitalism” before and I need to learn more but as a phrase, it rings true to me.

Happy weekend to all the folks also on MF here with me. :-)
posted by Bella Donna at 9:01 AM on August 24, 2019 [13 favorites]

"Your colleague wants you to know that immigrants are bad for Norway"

"Your aunt has been somewhere"

"An old classmate likes Iron Maiden rather a lot and wants to know if you also like Iron Maiden rather a lot "

"Someone you've never met has become friends with someone else you've never met"

"Climate change is real, but I don't care. No reason. I just don't care"

I switched my profile picture and got 28 likes! This is the best thing ever! I must spend more time here!
posted by Dumsnill at 9:14 AM on August 24, 2019 [15 favorites]

Twitter recently suspended my account and I paused to fully feel the break before jumping to provide them with my grandmother's first born's bank account details. I was off for just under two weeks. I gained the same amount of weight as when I quit cigarettes. It sobered me up. I've opened the account but if I find myself falling into the old habits, this time I have no compunctions around quitting cold turkey.
posted by Mrs Potato at 9:21 AM on August 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

There is a lot in the beginning that reminds me of MetaFilter in the sense that we write away, for free, often (in my case, for sure) in hope of gaining social approval.

This. I've found online communities often seem driven by folks seeking some kind of approval among the given set of online peers. It sometimes gets toxic, even here, when it becomes a self reinforcing outlook, where people chime in simply to state how dedicated and sympathetic they are to whatever issue being discussed. Nobody like to be alone, and these ersatz communities and accompanying dynamics offer a place where people can feel strength in numbers. Without ever even seeing another person.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:48 AM on August 24, 2019 [8 favorites]

> implying that social media addiction is partly a self-medication for depression and partly a way of curating a better self in the eyes of others

It's the opposite for me. My social media attempts invariably ended up sending me deeper into depression, making me feel even more worthless than I already did.
posted by glonous keming at 9:51 AM on August 24, 2019 [8 favorites]

glorious keming, you are not alone in that. I would link to various articles but honestly, the articles are a little depressing themselves. Of course, it is impossible to know if social media actually causes depression but there do appear to be links between depression and social media and plenty of folks report the same experience.

I keep myself locked out of Twitter for the most part. For whatever reason, once I get on it I have to force myself to get off. Even though nothing important is happening usually, it's just the flow experience. I go into a trace, pretty much. It's yucky and I don't like it but in my line of work I am expected to have a Twitter account. Sigh. And now I am getting off of MF for awhile to do some chores before bedtime.
posted by Bella Donna at 10:19 AM on August 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've often wanted to quit FB, mostly because of the disturbing amount of time I spend on it, but I've never gotten beyond the "thinking about it" phase. I've asked myself why: What needs would go unmet w/o FB? I think large chunks of the answer boil down to:
1) Several groups I'm involved in use FB to discuss whatever we're working on, share resources, and most importantly, schedule events
2) Several friends use FB to set up social events. If I quit FB I can ask them to invite me via text or email, and I think some would make a good faith effort to remember, but in general I'd probably just miss out. I'd definitely miss out on events from people at the edge of my social circle.
3) A lot of my social life happens, to my annoyance, in groups. IRL, groups can be overwhelming and I often find it difficult to be heard. Online, I can type out whatever I want to bring up and the people who are interested will engage with me. In this way I've identified who to seek out at larger events, as well.
4) For friends close enough for one-on-one hanging out, it's a challenge to actually get together very often. Many of us use filtered lists or groups on FB to talk about life events and frustrations and ask for advice.
5) On social media I can say "I want to do this thing" and discover acquaintances who are also interested. Some of these acquaintances turn into actual IRL museum-going craft-making friendships.
6) FB is how I know about what is going on in my town, beyond what is reported in our beleaguered newspaper.

I think social media owes a lot of its success to the fact that it's been introduced at a time when many of us are struggling with isolation. And when used well I think it can help with isolation.

AND it's set up to be addictive and there are a lot of very disturbing issues that are not being adequately addressed.

I notice that I can spend hours working on a hobby or with people I love, never logging in to social media at all, and never missing it. I think what we do get out of social media is to some degree a shadow of what we really need.
posted by bunderful at 10:24 AM on August 24, 2019 [8 favorites]

A few years ago I spent a lot of time on the beach playing around with kites & paragliders. Oh, the wholesome physicality! The wet sand clinging to your feet, your legs, the taste of salt, and the gusts of wind buffeting you around, fierce but pliant. A pillow fight with the clouds. Perfect for dissipating the frizzy little energies that build up over a day, that have a tendency to cling to you, like static.

One day I arrived on the beach after work. It was one of those beautiful, endless summer evenings, with a languid sun hanging low over the horizon, fluffy clouds being hurried along by a steady breeze, coolly powerful waves building & rolling ashore, regular like clockwork, then breaking in a playful froth. Everything was perfect. I was full of anticipation. Then, as I was getting my stuff out of the car, I realized I didn't bring my camera. Which meant I couldn't take any pictures to post online.

I started thinking how long it would take to drive back home to get the camera. Certainly an hour, probably more... But it would be another two hours or so until sundown... So there'd probably still be a bit of sunlight... enough for a good photo?... Then I recognized the train of thought as the same kind of bargaining that had also gotten me to scour the gutter for cigarette butts in the middle of the night. That night, when I finally came home, I just erased my social media accounts.
posted by dmh at 10:37 AM on August 24, 2019 [30 favorites]

If this is gambling, shouldn't I be winning now and then? I guess there was that one time someone gave me half a sandwich at a mefi meetup. I can't quit now, there's a chance I could eventually win a whole pizza, or a rowboat, or a marriage, or something.
posted by sfenders at 10:45 AM on August 24, 2019 [7 favorites]

Fizz won a marriage. If you don’t play you can’t win. Hey, aren’t I supposed to be going to bed?
posted by Bella Donna at 11:11 AM on August 24, 2019 [9 favorites]

I find it really hard to relate to most people's reactions to these re-occuring social media threads. I have a million concerns about it, not least that a positive experience is not necessarily a sign of good things, as the article refers to with pitcher plants and the like, but it also seems like people's experiences are so incredibly different to mine.

Maybe it's an age difference, maybe it's that I'm not tied to family in the way many here seem to be, I'm not really sure, but I thought I'd post the 6 things at the top of my FB feed in the style pioneered here by Dumsnill.

"A Utah Phillips quote circulating through union pages"
"Kashmiri women's experiences of the siege"
"A comrade's pre and post-transition photos"
"Long post about a personal experience with climate depression, recognising the struggles ahead but optimistic"
"How can X group aid an upcoming pro-HK rally"
"Climate strike meeting minutes & action points"

Now there's still the occasional nonsense that comes through, I know they're tracking everything, I know that some people who are able to contribute offline don't because they're online, I'd still love to move away from social media in many ways, but I can't imagine that there is no value in the communication that is happening there.

Especially the selfie criticisms - why not just cut straight to calling us immodest and vain? Half the people I know have serious body image concerns, so forgive me if I don't mind that they're looking for a little validation now and then.
posted by Acid Communist at 12:24 PM on August 24, 2019 [16 favorites]

My social media attempts invariably ended up sending me deeper into depression, making me feel even more worthless than I already did.

Oddly enough, misery seems to be a powerful motivator and unifying force in some online communities. Dog knows it seems like a unifying factor among some MeFites.

I like how a couple posts here have highlighted the benefit they get from using Facebook. I have said several times i the past, if FB is really evil in your eyes, then quit. Don't give me nonsense about my privilege or some such thing. Because if it really is evil or a real problem for you, it isn't a deal you can make without sacrificing your integrity. However, if you do get value from FB, don't quit on principle or for someone else's moral crusade. Because it turns out FB is a useful tool for you. And your participation is one of the things to make it better.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:44 PM on August 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Following along with my feed:
* Discussion of genealogy research
* A community member talking about Hamilton and his own family's immigration story
* Discussion of a local character
* Bird identification request
* Women's self-defense
* Amazon burning - how you can help

I left off a couple of more personal items about the weather, coffee tagging, travel pics, and back-to-school pics. And the mattress ads, I left those out too.
posted by bunderful at 12:45 PM on August 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

it's just the flow experience. I go into a tra(n)ce, pretty much.

this. I used to believe it was a good relaxing thing at the end of the day. now I'm recognizing it for the dopamine fizz steadied out for a regular user (my account was a professional one curating news on a topic). Potato is also giving up his own time suck to even out things. we don't want to end up being a couple who has their nose in their respective screens "together".
posted by Mrs Potato at 1:11 PM on August 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

Cribbing from Cal Newport, the problem with Facebook is not that it isn't useful: it's that if you use it the way that it is intended to be used, you don't just get the useful bits, you get all of the toxic, addictive bits as well. Which, for most of the big commercial social media apps, is by design: they are trying to maximize the amount of time you spend on the apps because that's how they make the platform attractive to advertisers. So it makes more sense to either cut out FB entirely, or constrain your use of it -- with the caveat that constraining your use of it means you'll be swimming upstream.

It's a bit like how it's possible to have a good time at a casino, but only if you are being very intentional and pretty strict about how much time and money you spend there. (There's also a bit of the same queasiness about how it's mainly possible to do this because most people won't or can't.)
posted by en forme de poire at 2:46 PM on August 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

Another thing that comes to mind is that while modern social media is absolutely more "engineered," it's already pretty addictive even without Instagram stories or streaks or the other modern embellishments. As a teenager, for example, I spent way too much time on IRC and AIM and web forums. I was getting something real out of them -- they have a great ability to concentrate communities that are somewhat dilute or sparse in real life -- but the ratio of wasted to well-used time was really high for me. In part I think that's something intrinsic to messaging/posting apps in general: because it's a medium where it's okay for your attention to be super divided, or for you to take your time responding, the barrier to opening a conversation is very low, but then things end up taking five times as long as they would IRL or on the phone. It's just enough interaction, and at unpredictable enough intervals, to keep your emotions super revved up for long periods in a way that wouldn't be true either of physical mail or a conversation.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:25 PM on August 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

When I deleted my Facebook I was amazed how many times a day I would begin typing in "faceb-" into the URL window absent mindedly, every single time I got bored or my thoughts strayed. And of course, the browser auto-completes that half finished thought for you.

That's when I realized how manipulative it was, even though I was a pretty light FB user who never really posted.

It's interesting reading some people's rationalizations here because I said the same things: people use it for events and I'll never be invited to anything again, my feed is perfectly fine it's everyone else who is saturated with bullshit and fake news, or what about all the important groups I use to communicate with colleagues and friends!!!!

The reality is none of these things are true, it's the rationalizations and lies Facebook whispers in your ear every time you get a 'like' or a notification. My friends still text me to do things, newspapers and other websites still curate lists of events to go to, and I have not been shunned by my colleagues for not being in their Messenger group chat.

Life goes on I just don't feel like I need to be feeding the machine my thoughts constantly.
posted by bradbane at 3:40 PM on August 24, 2019 [8 favorites]

My Facebook feed:

-a cute photo of a friend's dogs looking like they are holding a board meeting
-a comment about Greenland being in the international news
-an article about a scientist getting fired for his comments on the Amazon fire
-a photo of the gin samples at a tasting

There have definitely been moments when I've felt "hooked" on social media, FB especially, and I've noticed that those moments tend to correlate with times I've been anxious for other reasons. So far, I've managed to recognize that and deal with it, thus putting FB back in perspective.

I do feel lucky to have been a teenager without the social media factor, though. It seems to me that my group of GenX friends was definitely privileged to have been introduced to this stuff early enough to be comfortable with it, but late enough that we don't depend on it for all our connections. Giving it up--or having it taken away--would be an inconvenience for me, rather than the major loss it might be for some of my younger friends.
posted by rpfields at 7:11 PM on August 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

I'm not addicted! Facebook makes me feel alive! Shut up! you're the addict!

seriously tho I quit facebook and started up on crack and I gotta say: never been happier.
posted by some loser at 7:39 PM on August 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yeah, whether it's generational or psychological, I can take or leave socmedia. But for me, it's not socmedia per se. All of the internet has ruined my attention span it feels like. Then again, I don't think I have read so many papers, essays and deep dives if not for the internet and the connections I've made on socmedia. But I am inclined to such things, and my eyes glaze over the other stuff so if it's not a close friend I can just scroll past disinterestedly. Working on that FOMO impulse has helped a lot, but let's be honest, being in a good place in my real life helps a lot too.
posted by cendawanita at 7:54 PM on August 24, 2019 [8 favorites]

I'm a Twitter addict. I love the social contact. I'm a person living a fairly solo life and social media has helped me make friends around the world, some of whom I have visited in person. I aggressively curate my feed to bring me news and intrigue, and push back on the things that make me angry or depressed when I need a break. (Mute is a wonderful function).

I know that I'm on a dopamine drip. The only things I regret about it are that it's fairly well ruined my ability to write longform - and, I'm tired of talking about pop culture so much.
posted by taterpie at 10:30 PM on August 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

seriously tho I quit facebook and started up on crack and I gotta say: never been happier.
posted by some loser


As far as my own social media experience, I use Telegram and this, and Telegram is nowhere near as engaging as other more mainstream social media platforms (I would include Mastadon in this category). I quit ZuckerBook in summer of 2014 - 5 years ago now! And I am here to tell you my life is richer.

I focus more on in person interactions than I ever have in my entire life. I am a 31 year old. I became intensely aware of how I was using FB to have chats with friends of friends - usually in public spaces on their wall - and how toxic that usually ended up being. That toxicity never, ever plays out in person in a way that's uncontrollable - I just simply get up and leave if it starts to get bad, and nobody thinks anything of it.

I do care about keeping my close friends in the loop in my life, who I have one-on-one chats with. Again, I have become more personable, more understanding of what emotional labor I need to do to keep my friendships alive and healthy. One friend I haven't seen in ten years, and yet here we are ten years down the road, sending one another comedy sketches and talking about Arduino. I run a tabletop RPG group that is enabled by Telegram's bot system. TG enables me to have the broadcast medium - without all the likes and other dopamine kick devices. I run a cooking channel on there, and am debating starting a 'variety hour' channel with everything from political thoughts to jokes about life's bullshit. I do not feel pressured to engage with it, and am taking a step back before I do and examining what I would contribute to the world - it is the lowest pressure social media platform I could ever want.

I contrast this to my mom, who has become trapped in qAnon and other equally toxic bullshit because she spends so much time hooked on her phone. My stepdad - also on Facebook - uses it to see whats up with his family and Motocross. My mom uses it to find out what's going on in the world. Both of those people have sedentary lifestyles, and end up not able to critically examine how they are being informed by their screen time.

Please just drop it. All of us on MeFi know just how awful ZuckerBook's data protections are, and we are now discussing how they are profiting off of the worst impulses in our subconscious. I speak from experience here - the friends you lose because they do not follow you off FB, those friends are not the highest quality of friends you have in your life. Cultivate quality, not quantity for a truly happy social life online and offline.
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 11:11 PM on August 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

I do have a social media problem, and typing a url unconsciously is a familiar experience, but it's "Me..." that I'm typing not "Fa...".

the friends you lose because they do not follow you off FB, those friends are not the highest quality of friends you have in your life.

I would lose every friend, I believe. Especially if I didn't replace it with other social media.

I probably only know two of their phone numbers. Sure, I could get numbers, but I'd be bowing out of every group chat, most memes, most social events and demanding that my friends specially message just me for everything I might want to know. From a cultural viewpoint, it'd be self-exile. I wouldn't know what anyone was talking about IRL within a week because I'd have cut myself off from where we all share things.

I would be actively choosing not to engage with politics. I would be unable to organise in pretty much any sense except through the IWW, because they're the only ones here with an active email list. I'd be giving the finger to every regular person who isn't up on all the insidious behaviour of social media companies but still cares about anything.

I'm Gen Z, and I'm mostly friends with Gen Z and the youngest millennials, and I find "just quit" no more a reasonable blanket suggestion than "just move to an anarchist commune if you hate capitalism so much" is.

We literally couldn't do most of this stuff face to face. People are always working, mandatory attendance for lectures, meetings, placements, completely irregular and varying schedules are the rule.
Isn't it an activist principle that one ought not make life more difficult for other activists, & one should accommodate their means of operation?

If anything, my problem is that I avoid Facebook because responsibilities live there. I need to be checking it more often.
posted by Acid Communist at 12:02 AM on August 25, 2019 [8 favorites]

The only things I regret about it are that it's fairly well ruined my ability to write longform - and, I'm tired of talking about pop culture so much.

This. I was an avid blogger and contributor to old skool webzines as well as mainstream ones until twitter chopped it all up into bite size hits of dopamine.
posted by Mrs Potato at 1:07 AM on August 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

Everybody seems to agree that the news feed is the most problematic part of FB. I just eliminated it by unfollowing everybody. So even if I log in too often there is nothing there to keep me there. I still use it for a couple of private groups and events, but it consumes maybe 5-10 minutes a day.
posted by COD at 7:43 AM on August 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

To Acid: I realize that Facebook can be extremely useful for many people, and if my list of why it's not useful for me seemed too flippant to you I unresevedly apologize.
posted by Dumsnill at 9:34 AM on August 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

...A 2015 study looked into the reasons why people who try to quit social media fail. The survey data came from a group of people who had signed up to quit Facebook for just 99 days.

Did they go to 99 meetings in those 99 days?
posted by Cardinal Fang at 10:59 AM on August 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm an elder millennial, and I'm not on any social media (apart from, I guess, this site). I had a feeling I was rare, but whoah.

Social media makes me anxious and depressed, so I just live with the consequences of not participating (ie, having to call people directly if I want to hang out, getting the occasional weird look from people when they ask for my Instagram handle).

Even just saying 'im not on social media' when asked, feels like I'm being one of those 'i don't even OWN a TV' assholes from the 90s.

I'm still addicted to my phone. I read stuff to escape the flow of time. So many essays and articles and reports and stories online. I'll never be finished.
posted by captain afab at 12:57 PM on August 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

Everybody seems to agree that the news feed is the most problematic part of FB. I just eliminated it by unfollowing everybody. So even if I log in too often there is nothing there to keep me there. I still use it for a couple of private groups and events, but it consumes maybe 5-10 minutes a day.
posted by COD at 11:43 PM on August 25 [3 favorites +] [!]

This. I have it as a chat service basically. If I'm actually missing stuff, I just send a message and ask what I missed. I've found myself gravitating away from any kind of platform-curation. As in, I do not at all want to know what Facebook thinks I should look at, I want humans to tell me, and I'll keep just enough if Facebook to find what people point me to, and I don't want "likes"! I want my platforms to be just that, places to put stuff for other people to see, with comments if pertinent. I have all the accounts but I turn off energy little feed-type functionality I can. Love Telegram & Mastodon & YouTube & Spotify for being places I can passively absorb things without needing to engage or getting pushy recommendations and ads.
posted by saysthis at 11:22 PM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

The shitstorm is not a form of accountability. Nor is it political pedagogy, regardless of the high-minded intentions, or sadism, of the participants. No one is learning anything, except how to remain connected to the machine.

I suppose this quote from the Guardian piece sums up my rationale for taking a break from Facebook and Reddit (as well as a couple other sites I frequent). The experiences of using each platform are different, feel bad in different ways, but the repetition and lack of learning are crucial to the badness.

I couldn't bear to watch the same arguments, the same memes, the same explanations of why something was wrong, nor could I bear how much time it was taking. I have so many things to do. I feel so much pressure to get everything done, and my creative life lies in waste so that I can make sure I have seen the latest apocalyptic climate prophecy or a fluffy cat sitting inside a fishbowl, both pushed toward me with the same urgency, as though they had the same moral value.

I would like to say that since taking this break, I have become a healthier person. I am certainly reading more, so that's good. Actual books! With pages! But other things pour in to fill the time; trying to keep up with Metafilter (here I am on a two-day-old thread when I should be working), watching more TV, downloading Clicker Heroes again for reasons I'm not quite clear on. Yet it still feels better. I can decline to watch TV for a night. I can remove a thread from my recent activity. I'm not being yanked in, in quite the same way.

But when you read the first few lines of this FPP, whether you jumped to the Guardian piece or not, how long did it take you before you started formulating your reply? Did you wait until you'd read the piece? Did you read the whole post? Did you read the subject line and immediately start thinking about how you'd comment? I read the first bit then walked away to make coffee, and thought about how I would tell you about my no-Facebook experience. I can't tell if that is the same feeling as seeing a notification pop up, with that need-to-check, but it feels similar, like a phantom limb moving.
posted by mittens at 5:54 AM on August 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

For me, this is just another piece of mounting evidence that maybe around 75% of the time I spend on the internet is bad for me. I say 75% based on the tracking I've been doing on my phone and computer, so this is not a number I just pulled out of the air.

I was a moderate social media, especially on Instagram, but I have successfully stopped most of my interaction with that platform. But there are still the bad habits I carry of binge watching things on YouTube, or just scanning news articles to read (but mostly skim) online. For Metafilter, even though I don't think it intentionally tries to hook people, the fact that it's on the internet and works based on linking content means that those more addictive spaces are always right next door and there's many entryways to walk right back into them. Plus, the social internet works based on people's habits and behaviors, which can be transferred from one site to another.

Related, I'm also beginning to think internet commenting (for me) might be mostly a waste of time. Whatever I write can probably be said (and will be said) better by at least a million other people. These days, I start write something and in the middle I usually end up deleting it when I realize that or worse I realize that I'm just writing because of attention or ego.

So, why am I making this post now? I guess I want to make this official and actually use this comment to start taking steps to distance myself.
posted by FJT at 12:54 PM on August 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

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