Real flow, first coined by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, is simply where abilities meet challenge. The blissful mental state of being fully immersed where time can feel suspended.
To experience flow, one must concentrate, be in control and emerged in action, lose self-consciousness and time, and finally, receive some kind of intrinsic award.
What we can see now is companies like Facebook working overtime to manufacture flow. It gives us a false sense of total control with what you can click or scroll but in reality you are limited to what Facebook decides to show on your feed. Click bait pulls us in and we lose ourselves and time. Finally, there are awards that feel intrinsic–a shot of dopamine with every thumbs up.
It’s clear, we are no longer the customers of social media. We are their products.
Facebook and other social media outlets are intentionally designed to keep us coming back for more. The thing is true flow cannot be manufactured. You can’t substitute the real thing–the moment of being lost in your art or skiing down a mountain or playing in a symphony.
Facebook flow, on the other hand, distracts us and keeps us from doing work that brings meaning to our lives.