The machine plugs you in and then rewards you for staying plugged in (or, why people have no close friends anymore)

Submitted by bloodrose in lobby

So in the raddle chat, we were discussing friend groups and this study showing that people have fewer and fewer friends. Indeed, the study seemed to track "confidantes" and it looks as though non-kin confidantes are disappearing.

My theory on why this is occurring is this:

I imagine it has a lot to do with how we are being conditioned to be consumers. And not just of disposable goods but of digital goods. Those digital goods also are not necessarily purchasable goods but things like page views and clicks.

The people developing those goods need to develop mechanisms to keep us looking and clicking. That's where the addiction centers of our brains are preyed upon. To the point where it becomes more pleasurable to scroll on your phone over and over again than it is to have a conversation with another human being where you have to pay attention to what you say and how you say it. By the way, it's been studied: scrolling the facebook feed provides sensations similar to drug use.

The reward centers of your brain light up when someone likes something you shared. whereas, being there for a friend who is having a hard day provides absolutely no reward to your brain.

The machine plugs you in and then rewards you for staying plugged in.


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celebratedrecluse wrote

i'm so fucking depressed


6cd6beb wrote

Cheer up! I think this is fixable if you find yourself some hobbies that encourage you to engage in physical activity and stop staring at the screen.

Something I'm working on myself, I've fallen into the same trap unfortunately. Time makes fools of us all, huh?


alex wrote

this is good and interesting. may edit my comment later to say more but it’s late here


F_x wrote

I think having access to so much information made us more critical of who is surrounding us. Middle-age folk seems to tolerate their friends shitty behaviour while "our" generation won't tolerate that shit.

I also believe that we have an easier time finding like-minded people online but those relationship doesn't give the proximity we need and at the end of it we aren't happier and trying to keep those relationship means more time online.


jadedctrl wrote (edited )

yea, I think that's a good part of it.

I think another reason is that it's becoming easier and easier to fill every empty moment with phone usage, so it's becoming less and less socially acceptable to strike up a talk with a random person, just in case you're interrupting something, y'know?

and at least for me, it's easier to distract myself with a laptop or something in public than to interact with people more and actually overcome whatever anxieties I've got and get better at making friends. that's probably a common one, unless i'm over-projecting.


videl wrote

those games with rewards for playing daily come to mind


videl wrote

i think scrolling through social media feeds sorta has a gambling effect. like you never know if your gonna find that gem of a meme or whatever. the scrolling reminds me of operating a video gambling machine.


Sputnikdan wrote

I find the friends i thought i had did not see me as a friend and half of the problem is they are on there phones when I'm around and i don't talk to them online or have Instagram. Not kidding it really does seem to be the reason why.


Mango wrote

Deep thought... :(