A Harvard University study has concluded that receiving ‘likes’ on your Facebook activity is as satisfying as sex or food, and can be ‘worryingly addictive’. So apparently having a few ‘likes’ on your new profile picture is equivalent to a good hard bang or a hamburger. Yeah, I checked, it is Harvard claiming this. In the study, the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience lab gave their white mice a choice of a) receiving a small amount of money to answer fact-based questions, or b) even less money to put forward their personal opinions, i.e over sharing to shit. Unsurprisingly, most people chose the latter to get to talk about themselves. This I can accept, but claiming that a second cousin, a guy you met in Spain two years ago or someone you went to primary school with ‘liking’ your witty status (Soooo sick of being at work, can’t wait to get home and drink tea in my onesie!) is not even akin to a dry hump or a cube of cheese.
Is this the secret to the multi-bajillion dollar media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? No, people just like to rant freely without confrontation and look better in their holiday pictures. Most of all, over sharing on media platforms is easy for the ranter and raver. My Facebook news feed is full of former high school peers or people I’ve met once whinging about traffic jams, shitty bosses, lack of money, being hungover or lonely. I think I speak for Mark Zuckerberg when I say shut.the.fuck.up. The rule should stand as it did when we were younger, if you haven’t got anything interesting to say… go back to Myspace. You wouldn’t stand in the middle of a busy street with strangers passing by holding up a sign saying ‘Had too much curry last night, unpredictable belly today LOL’.
It is undeniable that we need approval in our lives and many of us go through social media to get it, young, dumb and mindlessly numb girls in particular. A shameless ‘selfie’ when you’ve gone and got your hair did, a mirror shot with your shirt up three weeks into your holiday diet or those bloody from-the-nose-down pictures to show yet another flirty pout are not result of ‘lolz I was well bored’, but more ‘lolz let’s see how many people I can get to tell me how hawt I am’. More scientifically put, it is intrinsically rewarding to get positive feedback from stupid photos such as these. Being told ‘wow babe ur gawjuss’ apparently stimulates the brain in the same way as money, food or sex does. Now ‘like’ and ‘tweet’ this article so I don’t go hungry.