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This Is Your Brain on Facebook

01/13/2011
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Sure, it seems like harmless fun at first. A friend tells you about this new social networking website. “Everybody’s doing it,” s/he’ll say. “Facebook, man–this is some premium shit. Just try it once. You’ll love it.”

So you make an account and start adding people. You try a status update or two. And faster than you can say “Zuckerberg” you’re out on the streets, begging strangers for Likes.

I’ve seen it happen again and again. When everyone’s commenting on your posts you’re flying high. You check Facebook every five minutes. The more you post the more responses you get, and the more responses you get the more you post. You become addicted to the dopamine your brain releases with each new notification, and like a rat in a Skinner box you keep clicking Share.

But what happens when the notifications dry up? Maybe you got a new job and don’t have time to think up statuses anymore. Maybe you’ve developed advanced carpal tunnel syndrome from posting ten times a day. Or maybe it got out that you torture puppies, and now no one wants to be associated with you in any way.

Coming down from Facebook is rough. When people click Like on your status updates they are implicitly saying they endorse your existence–because if you didn’t exist you couldn’t have posted. But once Facebook takes away your friends, your family and your dignity, those Likes become your only reason to live.

“After people stopped Liking my shit, I got desperate,” says one Facebook addict, who asked to remain anonymous (for obvious reasons). “I created a bunch of dummy accounts and used them to make it look like I had friends. People caught on pretty quick though–I mean, none of the accounts had profile pictures, or anyone else added. Now I’m offering sexual favours for Likes. That’s not working either.”

Facebook is an addiction like no other. Unlike crack cocaine and heroin you can’t steal from your Mom to finance your social networking habit, and you can’t turn to prostitution either. After you become a social outcast your acquaintances won’t touch you with a ten-foot pole, let alone a mouse pointer. So the next time you notice someone whose status updates aren’t getting as much attention as they used to, for God’s sake do not Like or comment on them for any reason. It could happen to you too. Let them gradually fade into obscurity and never mention them again to anyone.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Candice Pinsent permalink
    01/13/2011 6:14 PM

    WHERE IS THE LIKE BUTTON FOR THIS POST?!

    ….oh….we’re not on facebook.

  2. Kimberley Walsh permalink
    01/13/2011 6:27 PM

    I’m going to be that person that disappears into obscurity… Facebook has become my connection to the world.

    Shit.

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