Can Users Control their Social Media Habits?


Social media is the talk of the town owing to the potentially addictive nature of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. In fact, the Guardian published an article last month detailing how social media can “hijack” our minds in addition to controlling us through its technology. However, Nir Eyal, an expert in habit formation, believes otherwise; Eyal does not only disagree with the Guardian’s article but also states that we have more control over our social media habits than we like to imagine.

Eyal approaches the current addiction talks surrounding social media sites from the point of view that every technology that has ever existed elated users right before the society started pointing out the flaws inherent in the tech. He claims that the same happened to bicycles, trains, factories, phones, computers, etc. Eyal takes an interesting perspective regarding the assumption that social media is addictive; he states that the addiction talks only mean that Facebook and its counterparts are so good in what they do that the users should find a way of refraining from overindulging in the sites. Eyal regards the on information carried on the Guardian’s article as “quite dangerous.”

Eyal who has authored a book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, “suggests that before the advent of the social media, media and news organizations including the Guardian held the spot currently enjoyed by social media. According to Eyal, the Guardian which recently carried an article admonishing social media sites is on record publishing Eyal’s habit-forming social media tactics.

However, Eyal recognizes that social media can have an adverse impact on users. Eyal who is passionate about forming habits as he is excited about breaking them says that people who believe that social media is impacting them adversely should merely uninstall such apps from their devices.

The Guardian’s article came in the wake of some Silicon Valley honchos expressing their dissatisfaction with potential psychological dangers of social media. Sean Parker, an investor in the valley and founding president of Facebook, claims that Facebook hooks us to its platform impacting our brains adversely. He outlines that Facebook was built with an idea to consume a significant amount of a user’s time. Parker regards himself as “something of a conscientious objector” of social media, and he claims that the founders of social media sites understand the psychologically exploitive nature of their apps but are least concerned about the adverse impacts.


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