very good critics point out that Facebook is engineered to be addictive.
but they seldom recognize that the pleasure being meted out is OTHER PEOPLE.
for example, in today’s Quartz newsletter:
“…this move was surely carefully designed, with product managers realizing that users who abandon social media are unlikely to return, while a cut-down dose of its drug might keep feed junkies hanging around longer, searching for that scrolling high. Ask any dealer—cutting the product is a better scenario than having users overdose and turn up dead.”
yes, this is true. many of the technologies our society is investing in right now (via ad revenue, stocks, attention) are about behavioral control.
but, again, the high is OTHER PEOPLE.
Facebook replaced email and blogs by combining them. they didn’t invent some new pleasure. ultimately, any technology that BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER will prosper. those that isolate people will perish.
update january 17, 2018
Humans are a social species, equipped with few defenses against the natural world beyond our ability to acquire knowledge and stay in groups that work together. We are particularly susceptible to glimmers of novelty, messages of affirmation and belonging, and messages of outrage toward perceived enemies. These kinds of messages are to human community what salt, sugar, and fat are to the human appetite. And Facebook gorges us on them—in what the company’s first president, Sean Parker, recently called “a social-validation feedback loop.”