Social media can have effects on mental health, both for good and ill. No real surprise there to anyone who has smiled at a cat video or been astonished by the almost physical aguish that a thirteen year old experiences when their network goes down for a few minutes. But there is science behind the observations too. Studies have shown that getting “likes” for images and posts actually results in a release of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure. Moreover, sad or moving posts can promote release of oxytocin, the “love hormone,” which makes us feel protected. It seems that even the way we use it makes a difference. In a face book study at the University of Missouri “surveillance use” of Facebook was studied . Surveillance use is, lurking and deliberately seeking out posts that may feed insecurity — “was a significant indicator of the potential for depression,” says Duffy of her study.
The sex industry are early adopters and heavy users of anything and everything social media related. The sex industry has been and always will be at the very leading edge of technology. Instant messaging was not invented by the sex industry, but the sex industry took it, worked with it and perfected it. Escorts especially have benefited from that particular tool and the modern versions including WhatsApp,Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and so on. Streaming video was first put on to mobile phones by the sex industry. Video compression was developed for and by the sex industry and so on. So we in the sex business are some of the experts on social media and the effects it can have.
Follower counts, likes, reposts are all explicitly designed by the social media companies to drive “engagement” and increase the amount of time that users spend on their social media accounts. Which means that they can sell more advertising at greater prices. And also, of course, as we re tweet, like, follow, re blob we also tell the social media businesses about our interests tastes and beliefs. Which means that they can sell more advertising at greater prices. So do not buy into any founder of a social media platform talking about making the world a better place. It is about money and power.
But for us poor users, the research tells a simple message. Less time on social media means more happiness. Less, as they say, is more.