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Social media channels have become an integral part of everyday life for many people. Over a third of the world's population regularly visits Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - some even several times a day. But what use can social media have for you as a biohacker or can the use of social media have a negative effect on your intellectual performance? We clarify these and other questions in this article.

Whether Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Youtube: More than 1,5 billion users regularly use social media to chat with friends, work colleagues and family, to tweet and like the latest news, to make new friends and to be recognized and liked . It is not only private individuals who create a profile for a long time - many companies, parties and Hollywood stars have also gotten the taste for it. With the wealth of information and input from the social channels, it is difficult to keep your visit to Facebook and Co. short. The more and more often we tweet and like, the faster time will pass us. Many people today prefer to chat online instead of communicating in person. The downside is that social media can also have an impact on our lives. Hunting for likes, tweets, friends, and recognition can even be addicting. In order for the social channels not to act like a drug and determine your life, you have to use them properly as a biohacker. We'll show you how to do it.

 

Why do we even use social media?

Admittedly: Social media enrich our lives. Facebook, for example, was launched solely to get in touch with people and to revive long-forgotten friendships. Today, like Twitter and Instagram, Facebook is much more than that.

The fact is: For many people, social channels have become an integral part of life that they no longer want to miss. Facebook and Co are no longer hype, but an addiction that ours Time management turns more on its head than we would actually like. But why do we use social media and why have social channels become so important to us?

People use social media primarily for two reasons: on the one hand, to connect and exchange ideas with friends, family members or work colleagues and, on the other hand, to “market” themselves and make the best possible impression.

Social media have long become a mouthpiece for everyone who wants to express their opinion openly and who want to view other users' statements either positively or critically. Facebook and Co are popular, especially when it comes to So,, Politics, environmental protection or sports.

 

Social media in the past: Why we were already social back then and lived in groups

The American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970), who at that time coined the “pyramid of needs”, recognized that everyone would like to belong to a social group.

This model of the hierarchy of needs describes the human needs and motivations within a group (hierarchy). In this regard, the need for self-actualization forms the top of the pyramid, followed by individual, social and psychological needs as well as a need for security.

Why is the need for social connection so important to us? Presumably, the use of social media appeals to our basic instincts and survival mechanisms that have shaped us since time immemorial.

After all, man was never a loner. He always knew how to use the advantages of a group. Groups ensured the survival of mankind through free access to food, hunting together, and improving fertility.1 We have always formed groups to protect each other from potential dangers and thus to be stronger, more courageous and more productive.

This principle particularly appeals to biohackers who are not only looking for the optimum, but the maximum. We'll tell you now why the social behavior of yesteryear can be transferred to today's social media and what advantages a networked group has for biohackers.

Social Media

What advantages do social media and networked groups offer biohackers?

You already know that the need for social contact and close ties is deeply rooted in us. A networked group has many advantages - not just in terms of survival rates and maintaining social contacts. A social group, such as you know from Facebook, offers a lot more than that.

The social bonds that arise when friends, family members or work colleagues are networked make us feel very close to other people, even if they are kilometers away or live in a different time zone. Exchanging ideas with others can improve wellbeing many times over. Why?

Because we know that we are not alone and that we can share our problems and needs with others. Especially when there is a lot of hectic everyday life Stress there, we are not just looking for a balance - we often seek closeness to other people in order to express ourselves, to reorient ourselves, to motivate ourselves and thus to feel better again.

We can also organize ourselves more easily for social activities. These in turn can be a real enrichment for our social behavior and an effective protection against loneliness, isolation and depression.2 

Social media also facilitate the dissemination of information, knowledge and wisdom. This enables us to exchange ideas quickly and in a targeted manner on important topics and learn a lot from each other.

As you can see, social media channels have an enormous influence on us and our everyday life. We can network on both a private and a professional level to make new contacts and expand our knowledge. Facebook and Co offer a wealth of information in this regard that you as a biohacker can use to your advantage. Now let's clarify what happens in your brain when you use social media.

 

Use of social media: Was happens at the neural level?

We use social media almost every day without thinking about the impact Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have on our brain. According to some opinions, social media is supposed to be as addicting as drugs. Because: Many social media users can no longer control the usage time. After logging in, many important things are left behind while you react to friend requests, entertain your followers, share content and set likes online.

As a biohacker you are of course constantly on the lookout for new information that will benefit your well-being and your performance, but you can quickly lose yourself in the social media cosmos with the abundance of actions and reactions, likes and being "liked". The fact is, when you use social media regularly or too often, something happens in your brain.

When using Facebook or Twitter, haven't you ever wondered what the life of other social media users is like and how they would react to feedback or comments? We are often driven by the opinion of others. We think in advance about what others think of us, what comments they might post, whether they like our post or what our post would have to look like in order for them to like it. Scientists like to refer to this as the Mentalizing Network.

When we compare ourselves and our profile and the content it contains with others and picture possible comments in our minds, researchers refer to this behavior as a self-referential cognition network. We just think too much about what others think when we post, like or comment on this or that.

As a biohacker, you are of course often on the Internet - always looking for new ways to constantly develop yourself. Social media can be of great help in this regard to collect praise, recognition, encouragement and valuable information.

However, some reactions do not leave a user indifferent. On the contrary: every piece of content that is posted generates feedback. Facebook and other social media give you and other users the opportunity to react to feedback - be it positive or negative.

Of course we are happy when we receive a "Like". Did you know that positive feedback activates the reward center in your brain? It's like eating a piece of chocolate.

As you have already learned in our article on food cravings, your brain releases the happiness hormone dopamine. Your body makes no difference here whether you are something sweet or receive a like on Facebook.

Since you feel better as soon as your body releases dopamine, you naturally want more of it. Either you eat more (or more often) chocolate or you are looking for likes and (positive) feedback. Likes and recognition are addicting. Social media users are always careful to present themselves in the most positive light possible - always on the hunt for likes and feedback. The more positive the feedback, the more often they use social media.

 

What negative effects can social media have?

Even if you have now learned that social media can also be addicting, the social channels are not fundamentally bad. On the contrary: Social media can be of great advantage, especially for biohackers, in order to get new information, learn new skills, make new contacts and gain new perspectives.

With biohacking you use many channels that can support you in your endeavors to continuously develop yourself and to optimize yourself and your everyday life. Nevertheless, as researchers recently discovered, social media also has a negative side that we naturally do not want to withhold from you.

Social media can have a negative impact, especially if you are constantly looking for likes and recognition. This is also the danger for biohackers. By chasing through social media, you quickly lose sight of your true goals and are therefore less focused and in the end less productive.

You can quickly get distracted by unimportant things instead of focusing on what you do as a biohacker really want. At the same time, you are wasting a lot of time that you could use for more important things, such as sports.

Extreme use of social media can not only ruin your focus - it can put other people at risk too. In this case, we want to draw attention to the many accidental deaths that can result from constantly looking at the smartphone. You don't have to be online all the time. As a biohacker, you can and should apply your knowledge outside of social media.

For example, did you know that social media can increase the risk of depression and anxiety disorders, addictions and eating disorders? Caused by insults and bullying, social media can also have a negative effect on your well-being.34 In this regard, scientists have even developed a scale that measures the pathological use of the Tinder social media channel.5

The fact that social media can influence our wellbeing is shown by the term “Facebook depression”, which illustrates the effects of excessive social media consumption and the (negative) feedback associated with it.6

Negative comments are not easy to process for most people. The negative side of Facebook and Co. is particularly evident here. Social media cannot offer any support if you are feeling emotionally bad or if you need help.7 Researchers even believe that social media can pose a serious threat to future generations, and former high-ranking Facebook executives such as Sean Parker and Chamath Palihapitiya are now warning of the dangers of social media.

 

Use social media correctly: How can you as a biohacker protect yourself from the negative effects?

If you always want to be up to date, network with other biohackers and collect a lot of information, social media can be a good platform for biohackers. Since we also regularly post posts to motivate and inspire you, the social channels are clearly of great use.

So that the use of social media does not have a negative impact on your life, your everyday life and your well-being, you should pay attention to a few basic things. Because: With all the positive feedback and the great added value, the negative consequences of social media should not be underestimated. Below we give you a few tips on how you can use social media as a biohacking tool to achieve better performance.

 

1. Set a schedule

It's best to only use social media at certain times of the day. As soon as you determine when and for how long you use the channels, you can also organize and use your time sensibly.

 

2. Take regular detox phases.

Sounds strange at first, but it is extremely effective. Taking a regular "break from fasting" can be very effective in refocusing and concentrating on the essentials. Remember: the more and longer you use social media, the greater the risk of getting bogged down.

 

3. Set your goals in writing.

Writing down your goals is a must for biohackers. You should think about the areas in which you want to inform yourself and train yourself in order to improve your cognitive and physical performance. Social media profiles and a large network of contacts can help you with this.

 

4. Limit your subscriptions.

Social media pages are quickly flooded with useless information, so that you as a biohacker quickly lose track of things. Therefore, you should carefully consider which subscriptions you really need. The fewer subscriptions you have and the more information they offer you, the more focused you can be as a biohacker.

 

5. Determine rooms in your apartment where you do not use technology

In the bedroom and kitchen in particular, it makes sense to declare these rooms a no-go area for your smartphone. The blue light of your mobile phone can firstly inhibit your melatonin production in the bedroom, which can lead to poor sleep and your mobile phone distracts you from eating and you quickly lose your feeling for how much you have actually already eaten. 

 

Summary

Social media can be of great use, especially for biohackers - if you don't overdo it with the use of social media. Social media offers a wealth of information - not only for private consumers, but also for companies. Not to forget the advantages that a constant network of users and the associated communication options offer. As soon as biohackers limit themselves to the essentials, switch off unnecessary subscriptions and know how to use Facebook and Co to their advantage, the information gained can help improve performance. It is always important to find your own balance.

 

[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/248437758_Why_Are_Diurnal_Primates_Living_in_Groups
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1693420/
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4183915/
[4] https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/aug/04/swipe-right-for-negative-self-perception-saysresearch-into-tinder-users
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5264419/
[6] https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/4/800
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26613936