Why Are We So Addicted To Social Networking?

August 19, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

So let’s get down to the real question that everybody wants to know the answer to: WHY ARE WE SO ADDICTED TO SOCIAL NETWORKING? I myself just can’t get away from facebook and twitter, and would even consider calling my use and abuse of these social networking devices an addiction. Yah, I went there- I’m addicted to social networking.

Amidst searching for “self help” groups online to aide my addiction, I came upon an article that not only serves as a big exhale for me, but describes why humans seem to be so stuck on social networking. Peep this summary of Anthropoligist Robin Dunbar’s opinion on gossip and grooming…

Lets go back to a time before internet, before cell phones, and long before facebook and twitter- a time when our ancestors roamed the planet. Even though our ancestors didn’t have the internet, they somehow managed to stay dialed in to the culture that they were apart of- but how In the world…?! Lets turn to primates to answer this question, after all- they are our closest living relative.

The main way that primates come to understand their rank in a group is through the method of grooming. During the 20% of their lives that they spend grooming, primates are able to attain relationship knowledge and information including who gets along, who doesn’t, and who’s gettin’ it on. This behavior is necessary in order to understand their place in a social hierarchy so that one-day they can climb the ranks to the top (Reasons for reaching the top include mating with the best, to produce viable offsping, to keep your gene pool in the running for…becoming Americans next top model? Haha, etc etc, the list goes on and on and anybody who has sat through a lecture of human evolution knows how in depth this can go, so we won’t go there).

Anyways, that’s exactly the point as to why we as humans are interested in social networking. Humans are innately interested in knowing our place in society and how we compare to others around us so that we too can climb the social ladder. This desire may have stemmed from early primates however; the method in which humans have been able to understand hierarchal positions has evolved over time from grooming to tweeting.

And so, I go on facebook to see who’s friendly to each other, who’s mad at each other, and who’s gettin’ in on. You see, we all NEED this information to move on up in the world. It may seem like petty gossip (which most of it is) but its only natural for us to crave this information so that we one day can be on top of the social pyramid.

Thank you to Robin Dunbar’s study for making me feel like my addiction isn’t a huge problem. But I guess I could spend some more time at the beach….

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One Response to “Why Are We So Addicted To Social Networking?”
  1. Shawn says:

    I learned a lot about music by reading this, thanks I Am Hype

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