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...The trouble is, like a syrupy muffin, connecting socially online may be like eating empty calories. The circuitry activated when you connect online is the 'seeking' circuitry of dopamine. Yet when we connect with people online, we don't tend to get the oxytocin or seratonin calming reward that happens when we bond with someone in real time, when our circuits resonate with real-time shared emotions and experiences. As a result, you want more and more social connections. On Twitter, you rarely get to feel satisfied and 'full' the way you might if you chatted in person with 50 people at a conference (after which you'd want nothing more to do with people for a while as your circuits recovered.) This problem was further explained in a story in Slate magazine. In summary, there's a circuitry for 'seeking' and a circuitry for 'liking'. The 'liking' response settles down the excitement of the 'seeking' circuitry. Without the 'liking' response, we end up looking like the rat that keeps pressing the level over and over to get a little dopamine hit, forgetting all about food and rest. To the brain, simply receiving new information tends to activate the reward circuitry: information itself can be rewarding, which prompted neuroscientist Jonah Lehrer to coin the term 'information craving.' Thus people can easily become addicted to getting information quickly and often. The social circuitry does the same thing, only sometimes more intensely. One new study, (still under review) showed that a computer saying 'good job' in an experiment activated people's reward circuitry more intensely than financial rewards....