Как мы становимся зависимыми от соцсетей: рассказывает Дмитрий Кулеба в книге «Война за реальность»

Инструкция по выживанию в информационном пространстве

В #книголах анонсировали англоязычную версию книги Дмитрия Кулебы «Война за реальность. Как побеждать в мире фейков, правд и сообществ». Теперь «The war for reality: Как бороться с миром, truths и communities» можно предзаказать на сайте издательства.

Книга министра иностранных дел Дмитрия Кулебы — это руководство по выживанию в информационном пространстве. В ней автор рассказывает, как работает манипуляция и пропаганда, а еще — как себя защитить от фейков и дезинформации.

Дмитрий Кулеба на реальных примерах объясняет пять принципов, которые помогут победить в информационных войнах: опирание на реальность, критическое мышление, управление эмоциями, чувство сообщества и взаимодействие с государством. Толчком к написанию книги стала аннексия Крыма Россией и начало российско-украинской войны в 2014 году. С тех пор принципы защиты в гибридной войне не изменились — они остаются актуальными и после полномасштабного вторжения.

Публикуем отрывок из «Войны за реальность».


Platforms Want Us

C8H11NO2 — this set of letters and numbers won’t tell you anything if you disliked chemistry at school as much as I did. Anyway, this is a formula of an active chemical substance on which human affection for social networks and the Internet on the whole mostly hinges. In a broad sense, this is the chemical basis for communication.

The substance is called “dopamine.” It motivates people to seek satisfaction and get reward for their search. Any reward: food, sex, money, entertainment, information — everything that makes people satisfied and helps them survive. Dopamine itself doesn’t bring us satisfaction. It only promises it, thus motivating us to act.

Other hormones are responsible for one’s own satisfaction.

Serotonin is produced when we see lots of likes and retweets of our own posts because this makes us feel that we are liked by others, scoring major points with ourselves. 

“[G]ood sex and good stories both release the same hormone, oxytocin.” It also regulates the increase in trust placed by a person in other people, above all, in community members.

Do you remember those extremely popular features on social networks like “Stories” or “Memories”? And the most popular marketing trend of “storytelling” (engaging audience through telling stories)? And this “Like it? Press the Like button!” from an online community that is trying to drag you into it?

All of this did not come out of nowhere. Our brain adores receiving pleasure. This is just stronger than us. And all these “special features” that platforms offer are just the means for stimulating us to produce oxytocin — and to make quicker and more frequent “right” choices and spend money as well as to increasingly engage in communication to feel pleasure again.

It is believed that the need for sex is the most powerful stimulator of dopamine production. The mere thought of it sets a chemical process in motion. The prospect of sex evokes the feeling of satisfaction, motivating us to search for it until we find it. Nevertheless, now sex has a worthy competitor — platforms.

Production of dopamine generates excitement, making people concentrate on receiving a reward desired by the brain. Here is a classic offline situation: we want to spend a night with a certain person and this thought is obsessively chasing us.

And a classic online situation: we log onto Facebook for a second to check out the profile of a person we like but then realize that we’ve spent half an hour browsing through their page. In both cases, the “sticking-on” happens because during all this time the brain produces dopamine. It makes us concentrate on a concrete goal for the sake of receiving pleasure.

However, as almost always, there is a problem: constant stimulation of dopamine dulls dopamine receptors. In the long run, continuous dopamine overload in the brain may result in addiction to the stimulator, death of dopamine receptors, and psychological. Constant pursuit of bright experience eventually stains life in dark colors.

In search of a new level of pleasure, people begin to grab onto ever stronger stimuli. Some try drugs. Opium and amphetamines directly stimulate the production of dopamine and give buzz.

When this provides no sufficient effect, a drug addict increases the dose. A gambler plays ever more and places ever higher bets. A porn addict searches for a more hardcore porn. An info addict searches for more information. A TV addict keeps constantly switching channels while a Facebook addict keeps updating the newsfeed.

Communicators of aggression and temptation are aware that sex, the Internet, and drugs are just the same — intermediaries between the human brain and pleasure for which people strive.

To a large extent, sexual intercourse, a dose of drugs, or going online are just different ways for searching and receiving pleasure and expanding our consciousness. Accordingly, communication becomes a tool for playing with the level of dopamine in our brain.

The Internet is an ideal space for dopamine. One can constantly be searching for things on the Internet (the search for reward) and, most importantly, finding them (reward), and then continue searching yet again.


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