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Bachelor Visual Communication


Julius Rütgers


Hello there!

My name is Julius. I’m a 26-year-old bachelor student from Aachen, Germany. I want to introduce myself before you start exploring my magazine. So I guess the first question that would be interesting for you is why. Why did I make this magazine? So basically it’s pretty simple. In the Summer of 2019 I was highly addicted to social media and my smartphone. I always thought to know how you should use social media. I was wrong about myself.

But that’s maybe the whole point. My generation grew up with those technological innovations without knowing how they are programmed and designed. We kind of stumbled backwards into it. We always have our phones in our pockets and even if we hang out with friends we feel the urge to check Instagram, Facebook or a text message that we received.

Is there maybe a different approach?

Because my addiction had negatively influenced my offline life, I knew I needed to change something! And that’s when I discovered a video about a guy deleting social media for 30 days. So I started some research on the book the video was based on and I found a philosophy called “Digital Minimalism“ — more details on the page 57 — I was inspired by the video and shocked by what I have read in the book. Social Media is purposely programmed and designed to keep the users hooked. Without them knowing. There is a whole playbook on strategies on how you can get manipulated.

So, I myself had deleted all my social media from my smartphone in September 2019 to rethink my relationship to these technologies and products. This is not necessarily something for everyone. But this magazine is meant to give you a short break from the endless pull of your screen. So before you start browsing through, maybe switch your smartphone to flight mode or leave it in another room.
So welcome to my magazine — Hooked — I put a lot of effort into this and tried to explain a lot of different strategies, that social media developers use to manipulate the users and make us addicted. But please don’t get me wrong! Just because I was addicted to social media, I don‘t think it’s just bad. The purpose of this magazine is more to show you why you‘re doing different things and always have an itch that you need to scratch by checking your phone. The Technology behind social media is not neutral — But it should be! The decision about our behavior must lie with the individual.

So if you bought this magazine, you probably know that you are spending way too much time on social media and your phone. But its purpose is not to show you how to get rid of your behaviors. Put simply, it should serve as a source of knowledge and should draw attention to the daily mind manipulation to which we are exposed every day. Because without knowing that you are being manipulated, it is difficult to recognize this and you can hardly ever think critically about it.

What you do with it is up to you!

Yours truly,

Social media are omnipresent in today's world. They are used daily by approximately 3.81 billion people and are part of the daily life of a millennial. Psychologists and therapists have noted a massive increase in anxiety disorders and depression. This fact can also be associated with social media. On average, we look at our smartphone 150 times a day. So do we make 150 conscious decisions, or is there perhaps another component that is often forgotten in this context? Social media is deliberately programmed and designed by its developers and programmers in such a way that users have no choice but to be attracted to their smartphones. They are unwittingly manipulated. This is a problem, because someone who doesn't know he is being manipulated will find it hard to recognize this by himself. Millennials, in particular, are particularly vulnerable to the attraction of technological inventions of the twenty-first century. Therefore, I have made it my task to change this. By means of theoretical research, I have found out how exactly social media are actually programmed and what the different design features can trigger in the brain of the users. In the worst case, a behavioral addiction can develop. Furthermore, I have also done artistic research, analyzing the way this topic has been treated so far. The problem with most existing works is that these works are themselves posted on social media. This leaves the viewer little time to understand and think about them, because as I learned in the theoretical research, social media are designed in such a way that the user is always on the hunt for the next best post.

This is what I want to prevent by putting together a magazine called HOOKED. As I also learned from practical research and experiments, the print medium gives you more leeway when it comes to explaining certain processes and strategies. But my magazine will not just be a simple magazine. It is intended to give the reader a break, in a time when technological advances are simply making things happen far too quickly. To this end, the magazine will serve as a neutral source of knowledge for those who are aware that they spend too much time on social platforms but don't know exactly why.