Brain of Jay

Crack heads are to cocaine, as we are to “Likes”

on

The New Age…

The World Wide Web has taken a quantum leap into our social lives and blindsided our original culture with this new-age way of communication. This global epidemic has pressured the old hands-on generation to get their hands-on tablets, smart-phones, laptops, and other mobile devices in order to stay alive. With this newly found way of living, it also forced parents to raise their children differently, children and teenagers to “bully” each other verbally (I don’t think it’s bullying), young adults to post their best selfie to help pamper their self-conscious issues (or destroy), and forced us all to get addicted to game applications–damn you Candy Crush!

The fact that until now, and only now (until China takes over), everyone who is a member of a social media platform–has developed a new voice that is now heard and has become even more valuable. It grants us power. Power that we have never felt before because we are now able to say, look, like, comment on things publicly, and regardless of what your profession/status is–your words matter and it’s sad. The power these social media platforms have given us have made us all into zombies mesmerized by the hypnotic glow of communication. We spend countless hours, days, years, and soon to be lifetimes by looking down on our cellular devices to check out the new trends, what others are posting, checking the status on our most recent post, how many likes did we get, how many likes did she get, and scrolling, scrolling, scrolling until our thumbs develop a callus as if you had played Street Fighter II for 24 hours strait.

Our Brain on Like’s…

We are all addicts to the digital drug “Like”. Our brain seems to produce the same neurotransmitter when we get “Like” or take in a substance drug – that is called dopamine. Dopamine is in charge of the reward and pleasure center of our brain. So, before we sniff coke, smoke crack, drink alcohol, gamble, masturbate, or pop mollies, our neurons send out signals through our synapse and into our brain where all the pleasurable sensations ignite a molecular boost of excitement. Because of the neurotransmitter dopamine, our brain does not know the difference; it only knows that we will soon be receiving pleasure.

Crazy, but true…

Whether we are searching for a “Like” and receive it–or similar to searching for blow, and sniff it–our senses receive the same feeling of pleasure. On the flip side, if we don’t receive the “Like”, or sniff that line of blow, we get temporarily depressed–and that’s sad.

What is even sadder is that we get equally depressed after the high is over—and we’re searching for more to relive the high moment. So we call our drug dealer again for more blow, we search for the guy with a glow-stick in his cup for more mollies, or we take 57 selfies to post only one photo for more “Like’s”. We are all drug addicts, and most of us have yet to realize….

First sign of addiction— Denial

We are all addicted to social media; admit it—I know I am. I personally spend hours-upon-hours posting, scrolling, liking, commenting, and writing on all forms of social media outlets for my personal enjoyment, as well as for business. I’m mainly addicted to the fact that I am able to make money sitting behind a computer and/or my mobile device from the comfort of my own home. I am also addicted to judging others based upon their posts and comments and occasionally enjoy a good opinionated-conversational debate—but it’s all fun and games until someone files for cyber bullying—chumps.

Take out your Gavels!

Face it. We all judge each other. These platforms have been made for being judged. It’s the best place on earth to hold a gavel and slam it down on our own terms. We either like a post of a picture, comment about the post, share the post, or not like the post all and discuss it with others–it was all based off our personal judgement.

Example:

Female person, “I don’t judge anyone. I’m like, so non-judgmental, but I hate when other people judge me. It’s not right!”

Me, “You just judged people by saying you hate when people judge you—moron. And I just judged you by calling you a moron. You see, it’s never ending cycle.”

Female person, “You’re condescending jerk, can you just ever let things be.”

Me, “No, I can’t stop; it’s in my blood to judge people. Just as it is in you and everyone else in the world to judge—hence, calling me a condescending jerk.”

Female person, “OMG, I’m going to punch you in the face!”

Me, “That would be a domestic violence charge.”

Female person, “OMG! Just shut your trap, you never stop judging people do you?”

Me, “Guilty!”

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…of course she smacked me, this ain’t my first rodeo!

(Being judgmental is an entire different topic I could discuss, so stay tuned…)

Social Media Distortion…

The social media platforms, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, AOL (yeah, I went there) etc. are the newly formed digital drug dealers. According to professional social media analyst Helen A.S. Popkin, a columnist and editor of CNBC, the average person will spend 6.5 hours on social media per day–and this is a statistic from three years ago, I could only imagine what the number is now!

“The United States spent 121 billion minutes on social media sites in July 2012 alone, according to Nielsen’s annual Social Media report. That’s 388 minutes — or 6-1/2 hours — per person (if every person in the U.S. used social media). Altogether, that’s 230,060 years we spent staring into the glaring screen of so-called sharing, instead of going outside and playing with our friends, like we’re supposed to do in July!”

Source: (Helen A.S. Popkin http://www.cnbc.com/id/100275798)

It’s crazy to me how the symptoms of an addict are essentially the same for all aspects of drugs — including social media. Let’s take the “Top 10 Signs of an Addict” from www.brainz.org and compare how the social media world relates to each symptom on the list.

1. You no longer have a choice about whether you want a particular substance or activity.

A symptom of addiction is when your desire for something becomes a compulsion. You describe yourself as “needing” something, as opposed to wanting or liking it.

Most of us (including myself) cannot live without our phones; let alone going on social media. When we first wake up, we grab our phones and start scrolling, liking away, and searching for new photos to post, but the photos you are looking for have been sitting in your gallery for weeks and maybe months. Not only do we check our phones when we first wake up, but also while we getting ready for bed, while we are driving and find ourselves itching for the next stop light (for the first time in our lives we can’t wait to get a red light), while we sit on the toilets, while we are eating, while we are walking—the list goes on. We can’t bear to imagine ourselves without social media; it is now a compulsion to our every moment of activity.

2. You use it to relax or deal with your problems.

When you start to rely on a substance or an activity to deal with depression, stress, or anxiety, this may be a sign of addiction.

Like I said, we login to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. at almost every moment because it anxiousness, anxiety, and excitement to reach in our pockets, check if we have any notifications, and if we do, it’s relieving to see that someone “Likes” us. It helps us deal with our problems – or issues of self-doubt — by posting something we are unsure of (mainly selfies) to help boost our confidence. So, we feel at ease when people draw attention to our posts, because we feel connected with likeminded people and make us feel belonging to a certain group—or you are on trend.

3. You start having problems with performing at work or at school.

A person in the throes of addiction may miss time from work or school, either engaging in activities surrounding their addiction or recovering afterward.

This happens ALL the time. I was recently at a new restaurant in Nutley called Gabrielle’s Place, which I heard the food was fantastic, but the servers were consistently on their phone scrolling, and not being able to perform their job efficiently—like drug addicts!  I also see cops on their cell phones while they are on duty—an enormous amount of times, when they are supposed to be “serving and protecting” our community. As so you can see, the severity of this addiction—is unlawful.

4. You lose interest in activities that used to be important to you.

As the addiction takes hold, it starts to take up more and more of your time. You no longer have the time to keep up with your hobbies and other things you used to enjoy.

C’mon–how many times have we said to ourselves, “I need to stop going on Instagram and Facebook, I can never get anything done!” So we kick the habit for a little bit by deleting our social media accounts, but eventually our spirits get sucked back in the digital world like a proton pack because we feel like we are missing out on the fun like a child that is on punishment.

5. Spending a lot of time figuring out how to get more of the substance you are addicted to.

An addict’s world starts to revolve around the addiction and how to get their next “fix.” In this context, a “fix” can come from drugs, alcohol, gambling, playing video games, or having sex.

…or, social media! We spend most of our time looking for times we can log back in, check on our posts, comments, and other things going on. And we connect and share our posts to every social media platform available.

6. Changes in demeanor.

Be on the lookout for mood swings. These may be signs of addiction, especially when they are connected to being unable to get more of the substance or activity you are addicted to.

Example: If we’re out to dinner, sitting at the same table, and you just posted a picture of yourself that you absolutely can’t stand by accident, or posted a comment that you know would not go over well with others. You go to delete the post, but before you could delete the post, I snatch the phone from your hands and won’t give it back for about 25 minutes. How would you feel? End of story…

7. Keeping your activities a secret from family, friends and co-workers.

An addict will find ways to keep what they are doing concealed from people in their lives. If they are confronted about the addiction, they will usually deny they have a problem.

Mobile devices are usually not allowed in the work area when you are providing a service, but any chance you get in the break-room, restroom, or under your apron–you click that tab on your phone.

-OR-

When you are having a conversation with your significant other, and place the phone on your lap to get your scroll on.

Person, “Are you on your @#$%^&$ phone?”

Us addicts, “Nah! I’m just shutting off my phone so I could talk to you baby!”

8. Changes in appetite and/or sleeping habits.

Depending on the type of addiction, the person may not feel like eating or start eating differently. For example, some forms of addiction, such as dependency on heroin, make people want to eat foods that are more sugary. Noticeable weight gain or loss may occur. The person may find it hard to get to sleep at night or sleep a lot more than usual.

Okay, how many times have we missed meals from losing track of time or have gone somewhere to eat because we saw a post of someone else’s food? How many of us have lost countless hours of sleep because we’re aimlessly stalking on social media? Everyone.

9. You need to take more of the substance to get the same “high” or “rush.”

Over time, you develop a resistance to the substance you are taking, and you need to consume a larger amount to get the same experience as when you started using it.

You just put up a post yesterday from your wedding, newborn child, or championship gold medal. You received 173 likes, 47 comments, and 14 shares. The next day you go to post the same picture, but in a different form and add filters, text, and a border—it’s now a MEME, and you only get 75% of the same return on your “new” post. You try repeatedly to reach that high number of Like’s—but it never happens.

10. You experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop.

Symptoms will vary, depending on the addiction, but you may feel physically ill when you try to stop using the substance. You may feel achy or irritable when you go for any length of time without using.

Have someone hide your phones, tablets, iPads, and your laptop computers so you have no access to any form of social media, or email. Tell me how you feel within 6 hours.

Have you ever left your phone in a taxicab drunk one night and woke up like a crack head digging under the carpet, checking below our car seats, and walking outside the front of the house like a stray dog searching for scraps? Of course we all have and that’s the worst feeling ever—aka withdrawal.

If several of these 10 signs of addiction seem to fit your situation, you may be hooked on a substance or a certain type of activity. Breaking free of it may require professional help.

We are all addicted to the “Like” whether we like to admit it or not — we are all “Like” drug addicts.

In conclusion, please “Like” this article, and comment, and share it—I need my fix!

www.happychasinghappy.com

About Jay Isip

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