Last year, I had the good fortune to see the premiere of producer Jeff Orlowski’s documentary, The Social Dilemma, in person at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary shows how technology companies encourage us to spend more time on their platforms by creating algorithms designed to excite, agitate and addict us to want more. Each time we check a Twitter feed or Facebook update, we get a dollop of opiate-like reward hormones. This pinging and dinging creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation. We get pulled deeper into a rabbit hole. This goes for email too. According to bestselling author, Jill Konrath, email, like social media, lights up the pleasure center in our brain. The very act of opening it, responding to it, or deleting it makes us feel good.
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