Warmer, Warmer, Hot!

Observers of the different types of media would agree that the internet is a very cold, almost freezing, media. The internet requires a lot of attention and interaction by the user to reach the information of the media. One can not simply turn on the internet and access the information. This may have been the case 10, 15, 20 years ago, but now, access to the internet has gotten warmer and warmer. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Tik Tok both have an infinite scroll feature where the user can scroll forever, spending hours on their platform without even noticing it. Joshua Porter, author of “Designing for the Social Web,” explains that “Scrolling is a continuation, clicking is a decision” ( YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and many other streaming services have autoplay where the content is never-ending. What makes the internet cold, the constant clicking, searching, and interacting, is slowly disappearing as our social media consumption is getting easier. What I am interested in studying is how the warming of the internet has affected the human mind and our mental health. Social media addiction and obsession have plagued users from all over the world. The limitless content that is available to us 24/7 has been an asset to creators, but a danger to users. As designers, we have the control to create works that are beneficial to society, instead of creating work that will get us a monetary gain, but at the price of the user’s health. After Instagram noted the anxiety that their apps cause, they have changed their format slightly to change the infinite scroll. Instead of seeing the same posts that you have already seen, a pop-up message appears saying to “see older posts” or continue to suggest posts based on other posts you have liked before. This was a way of deterring the infinite scrolls, but Instagram can still scroll forever, you are just looking at different content. Tik Tok also has added messages to their “For You Page” that is meant to interrupt the infinite scroll. My critique of this is that the user can simply scroll away past their message. Out of the two techniques to break up the infinite scroll, I believe Tik Tok handled it the best to get the attention of the viewer, but Instagram has the “colder” approach. So with the rising warmness of our social media, the answer is not simply making the medium “colder” but we have to have a better understanding of how we use social media. 

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