Is addiction to Social Media Real?

In the social media world, many people are experience personality changes because of some sort of online phenomenon. Whether the topic is online bullying or people developing online personality complexes, there is no denying that social media has changed us. One thing we can’t deny we all do; we watch our own instagram stories. Why do people do this, when we know what we’ve done today? It is narcissism, or is it insecurities forcing us to check and make sure we actually did look instagram ready? Why are these videos and picture so important anyway, when the images expire after only 24 hours?

As it turns out, using instagram is actually part of a social media addiction trigger. According to Nir Eyal, author of How to Build Habit Forming Products, all addictions come with four main steps. These steps are trigger, action, reward, and investment. The trigger for instagram would be the notifications, a little pop up letting you know that you need to check an app. The action would be actually checking through your notifications, scrolling through friends photos to add comments or hearts, or even reading through the messages in the direct inbox. The reward, is increased friends or followers because of hash tags you’ve used. The investment is knowing that your instagram page is now completely modeled off of your likes and interests.

How does this addiction relate to users checking their own stories after they’ve been posted? It’s similar to a final check of the product. We’ve completed our product, which is the story in this case, and now we’ve come back to make sure that it is up to par with the image we are trying to sell or the facade our instagram is portraying. After all, we can’t very well send out a product without first checking it for quality purposes.