This is a powerful and comprehensive essay targeted at Facebook, but applies to all social media. The description given below is a great definition of the addictive software patterns I’ve written about.

These gadgets are designed to create a “supernormal stimulus,” that is, a stimulus that produces a stronger than natural response. We can even internalize the supernormal stimulus—an example is the “phantom vibrate” we sometimes feel in our pocket when no vibration occurs. In the case of social media, the supernormal stimulus is used to exploit our response to novelty in order to elicit a behavior that works in the interests of the social media provider.

I found this characterization of sharing jarring, and insightful.

Over time, these platforms transform us all into unpaid advertising agencies. We promote goods, services, lifestyles and desires to our friends, weaponizing images to generate feelings of jealousy and FOMO amongst our peers during those idle moments when they feel most bored.

This might be one of the most succinct characterizations of the end-state of social media platforms.

As a result, we end up building relationships to the platform — not to each other.

This is a long but well written thought piece on social platforms, and a very complete index of reasons to disengage from Facebook.