Facebook Users—Is Your Brain In The “Machine Zone?”

According to a story on PluggedIn.com, Facebook, Twitter and other social media users can spend hours scrolling through newsfeeds or flipping through friends’ pictures. And some experts believe that these users may fall into a mental state similar to those who play slot machines.

It’s called the “machine zone,” where the very repetition of the spinning disks soothes gamblers.

Atlantic columnist Alex Madrigal says “The machine zone is anti-social, and it’s characterized by a lack of human connection. You might be looking at people when you look through photos, but your interactions with their digital presences are mechanical, repetitive, and reinforced by computerized feedback.”

Here’s another interesting item on social networking.  As you may have heard, several studies have shown that Facebook can undermine people’s happiness because of the way it showcases other people’s idealized lives.

But some experts believe that Instagram—with it’s almost exclusive focus on pictures—may be even more damaging.

Cataline Toma, with the Communications Department at the University of Wisconsin says: “You spend so much time creating flattering, idealized images of yourself, sorting through hundreds of images for that one perfect picture, but you don’t necessarily grasp that everybody else is spending a lot of time doing the same thing,”

And Hanna Krasnova, of Humboldt University in Berlin, adds, “You get more explicit and implicit cues of people being happy, rich and successful from a photo than from a status update. A photo can very powerfully provoke immediate social comparison, and that can trigger feelings of inferiority.”

As I’ve mentioned before, the Bible has a different perspective.  It reminds us that “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.