How soon will Social Media be the new smoking?
Is mental health as important as physical health? Not yet. But will it be? Is overall societal well-being as important as the greater physical well-being? Who knows? Maybe one day. Recent reports have said that founders of some social networking platforms have said that they are “ripping apart society.” Not only that but some have said that they knew it would have a detrimental effect of overall society but they did it anyway.
To me, this sounds like the beginnings of the downfall of smoking industry. The only difference is that one has physical effects and the other has mental effects. They all knew that this kind of media would prey on humanity’s dopamine system. Chemically, that can be very addictive. I heard one quote that said they wanted to occupy as much of societies attention as possible. In some cases, they have. In many cases. Millions upon millions.
It’s going to become the medium of the future, I think. Interactive TV with like and dislike buttons are on the way, I am sure. I think to a very recent episode of The Orville where they found a human society based on a true democracy, where people had to maintain a certain number of likes to avoid prosecution and possible lobotomy. This was perhaps more prophetic than you think. Unless, at some point, someone finds a way to claim victimhood and brings Facebook or whatever incarnation exists in the future to court.
Perhaps this is only the beginning. Other ways to tap our more addictive systems can be found. Adrenaline? Whatever hormones can we produce within our bodies to get us to do certain things? This is what produces sheep mentality and how things like the movie “They Live“can happen.