You Tube has become home to one billion monthly visitors. Facebook, now hosts more than a billion monthly active users. The use of Twitter’s site has mushroomed to 241 million monthly active users. What are we to make of what Pope Francis calls ” this desire for digital connectivity?”
For better or worse, we are social animals, so we are wired for connectivity. We want to connect with others, to form friendships, bonds, loving relationships. But this desire for digital connectivity is fueled for something else- the triggering of reward centers in our brains…In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that involved analysis of brain scans, the researchers concluded that self-disclosure-activity behind such things on Facebook, status updates and tweets-arouses our central award center, dispensing dopamine, the neurotransmitter whose effects are amplified by stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. Consequently, some people turn to social media for this stimulation.
Another study showed that ‘extroverts appear to use social networking for social enhancement,whereas introverts use them for social compensation,each of which appears to be related to greater usage’ and ‘may be indicative of potential addiction’.
As Christians we need to recognize excessive use of social media for what it is: an obsession with self.