We have all been there. We go on Facebook just to check out what a friend is up to or browse through photos of an old high school flame, and before we know it, the whole day is blown. No work done, no actual human contact made.
How did the social media site-turned social phenomenon become so addictive?
Robert R. Morris and Dan McDuff, despite being Ph.D. candidates at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and therefore, presumably, pretty brainy guys, could not figure out why or how to cure their own Facebook dependency. The pair figured that they wasted 50 hours a week on the social media site, which has already been the subject of a multi-billion dollar IPO and its own Hollywood movie.
So, in true MIT fashion, they created a new technology to fix the problem.
In this case, as noted by Tech Crunch, while the technology might be new, the theory behind it has been around for a long time. The pair’s invention is “The Pavlov Poke,” named for the famed Russian psychologist who performed behavioral experiments on dogs.
According to Fast Company, the Pavlov Poke monitors the amount if time a user spends on Facebook, or any site that the user wants to kick the habit of. When a time limit is reached, it gives the fanatical Facebooker an electric shock.
"The shock's unpleasant, but it's not dangerous," McDuff said. His partner in Pavolovianism, Morris, added that he saw “a significant, though temporary, reduction in Facebook usage."
The pair had previously attempted to cure themselves of Facebook addiction by hiring strangers to call them on the phone and berate them when they spent too much time on the site.
While a telephone tongue-lashing might be harmful to one’s self-esteem, a recent study found that spending too much time on Facebook leads to lowered feelings of well-being and satisfaction.