We can now blame our social media obsession on biology, and hey, we’ll take it

Oh, analog life! Sometimes, we long for the simpler more innocent times you brought us, but it’s too late for us to turn our backs on the joys of technological advances, namely social media. Sure, our social media addiction keeps us chained to our devices — hang on a sec, a notification just came through — but really it’s not us. It’s biology, which is the root cause of why we can’t seem to turn off social media.

According to this Big Think video, the reason social media has us wrapped around its pinky finger all lies in the “power of the check-in,” or a theory that says people have a biological need to obsessively check their social media feeds or even email.

As the video points out, the constant need to refresh our feed is connected to a subconscious reward system wherein the most addictive forms of reward are tied to outcomes we can’t predict. Like, you never know what you’re going to get when you log into your account — your timelines and inboxes could both be desert dry or you could discover that some crazy shit went down on Twitter, in which case, the reward was totally worth the check-in even if it took a million uneventful tries before that.

Either way, the mere possibility of finding something new, exciting or otherwise stimulating, is what keeps us coming back for more. Honestly, this kind of makes us question whether humans are as smart as we think we are.

Anyway, check the video in full to come to your own conclusion.


Ya know, we honestly don’t know whether to buy into this check-in theory or not, but suddenly we have a strange urge to ask for our online followers’ input.