Feeling happy that you connected with an old friend on Facebook? That’s oxytocin.
Feeling excited that your Instagram posts are better than those of your circle? That’s serotonin.
Did those ten new followers on twitter make your day? That’s dopamine.
Your brain is full of neurotransmitters that continuously change and regulate how you feel. Engaging in social media may seem innocuous and straightforward, but these activities affect certain neurotransmitters – making you feel happy, sad, or a combination of both.
Once being engaged in social media becomes a regular activity – these seemingly normal activities could cause a downward spiral into sadness or depression.
Neurotransmitters and Social Media
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in the brain’s reward reinforcement and pleasure centers. The pleasant feeling that you get when dopamine levels are elevated motivates you to continue performing the action that brought about the surge of dopamine.
Eating, sex, and most other things necessary to our survival increase dopamine levels. Actions that benefit you, or your community, also increase dopamine levels. Dopamine conditions us to perform operations or activities necessary for survival, or for a better life.
Posting on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and getting likes elevates the dopamine in your system. It makes you want to keep posting, in the hopes of getting acknowledged or rewarded (likes). You had your first taste – now you’re hooked!