Dopamine creates want. Which means that it causes us to search for the next interesting thing, be it new information or looking for a new friend.Dopamine is stimulated when we want, desire, seek out, and search. Which is exactly what’s happening when we look up a new friend or associate online be that on Facebook, twitter or Instagram.
Then there’s Oxycontin, which plays a role in forming social and sexual relationships. Oxycontin has also been shown to reduce stress responses including anxiety and improves trust and social memory. In 10 minutes of social media time, Oxycontin levels can rise as much as 13%.
Where am I going with all of this? Well, About 30–40% of human social interaction is talking about themselves. But online that number jumps to about 80% when pertaining to social media posts. On top of that, 78% of people say they share online because it helps them to stay connected. Therefore, forming and maintaining relationships online has become such a normal way to connect. It’s instant! It’s a hey, I liked the conversation we had let’s be friends!
The developer Rameet Chawla found out when he built a script that liked every photo that passed through his Instagram feed.
-He grew his followers by about 30 a day
-He got invited to more parties
-He got stopped on the street by people who recognized him from Instagram
-He got message after message from friends encouraging him to post more. He said it was “almost like they were frustrated, like they were longing for something to like in return.”
As another positive is that people are spending more time online connecting and having conversations rather than watching t.v and sleeping.
Social media is changing our relationships in multiple different ways. There has never been a time in history where we have had the ability to connect with so many people at once.
Let’s talk about some of the ways people connect and stay connected online. For me as a avid traveler I rely heavily on Facebook. Not only can I staying in touch through this social network platform, but it also provides a private messaging service that is easy to use, the only thing required is an internet connection. This allows me to make travel plans and meet up with all the new friends I have just made.
You may question how often I talk to these new friends or actually ever meet up with them again; the answer is surprisingly quite often. I linked up with them because I enjoyed their company. Without social media there would be a high chance that I would never talk to them again.
Studies show that relationships maintained through online communication are rarely new. Instead, a large amount of the communication that takes place online is with the same set of friends who are also contacted in person and on the phone.Boase and Wellman (2005), and Katz and Rice (2002)
But what about connecting and maintaining relationships with strangers online? Monica Whitty (2008) wrote about this in her paper An examination of romantic relationships, sexual relationships and friendships on the net. Whitty’s article gives us a more in-depth answer to this. She argues that there is a plentiful amount of data to support the quality of relationships entered, not only did she find they demonstrated a connection online but this continued into a real world relationship. However, she found that not all participants are interested in meeting in real life. Online dating is becoming increasingly more popular every year with the advent of quick swipe dating sites. It’s moved by the idea that you can find your soul mate without having to leave the house. This could explain why we are seeing a large increase in this type of media. I have observed this in my own life. The last wedding I attended was one of friends that met on a online dating site. To this day they are still married. Although, I’m sure there are just as many horror stories as there are happy ever afters.
With this information we are led to believe that relationships, being that a friendship or a sexual relationship do and can form online and may also be long lasting.
There are so many different forms of online communication these days that it would seem unlikely that anyone who grew up in the millennial era does not have at least one friend that they meet online and that’s a good thing. Lets all level up on friendship!
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you
Whitty, M.T., 2008. Liberating or debilitating? An examination of romantic relationships, sexual relationships and friendships on the Net. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(5), pp.1837-1850.