Every single day, billions of people spend countless seconds, minutes, and hours on social media. Why?
This occurs in part because it is the business of social media companies to do their best to hold you captive. They want their sites to be “sticky,” so that you spend your time (and ultimately your money) there.
Thus, at bottom, as businesses that have as their appropriate mission the duty to maximize profits for shareholders, they compete fiercely for the attention of social media users.
Social media companies therefore employ creative, psychological, tech, and software personnel who work feverishly and constantly to figure out new and different ways to keep their users within their respective social media platforms.
And because social media companies are so good at this, we end up spending more and more of our time (and money) on their sites — whether we are at home, on the go and sometimes even at our own places of employment (hopefully not too much as to the latter).
While it is true that social media companies can do their very best to keep us looping over and over again within their platforms, we do have free will. We can break free.
This is not to say that social media interactions should be abandoned — not at all. Social media provides many benefits — hence its tremendous popularity.
However, we need to be aware of the chief goal of the social media companies — to keep us on their sites as much as possible — not necessarily for our overall human benefit and fulfillment.
With free will, we can break away, and we can leave the social media bubble more often.
On top of that, we can suggest strongly that social media companies not only provide hooks to bring users back into their platforms, but that they also can use their power and influence on their sites to encourage users to meet and correspond outside of their platforms.
OK, enough said. Enjoy communicating on Facebook with your friends, send and follow tweets, have your fun on Instagram and Snapchat, and then arrange for meetups with your real friends in the real world!
Eric Sinrod (@EricSinrod on Twitter) is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod’s columns, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s law firm or its individual partners.