Dopamine is the body's natural pleasure drug, but as is the case with almost all drugs, the body (the brain) typically develops a tolerance to the dopamine that the body produces and subsequently to the behavior or stimulus that originally produced the dopamine. For example, let's say that the first thousand times you receive a like or a follow or a retweet your body produces a dopamine hit that gives you pleasure at level 10 (10 being an arbitrary number chosen just to make a point here). Then the next thousand likes, follows, or retweets, you only get a pleasure rating of 8.5.
At this point, the body's natural response is to do one of two things (or maybe both). First, we increase the behavior to compensate for the loss of pleasure. If I'm only getting a pleasure rating of 8.5 for a thousand interactions, then I need to increase my interactions to get back up to a pleasure rating of 10. Economists call this the "law of diminishing returns". Addiction recovery specialists call this "tolerance". Second, as the pleasure continues to decrease over time, we tend to look for new stimulus that is more intense and more exciting.
What this looks like in real life is obsession with our mobile screens. We may be in a group of our very best friends, but the dopamine hits from screen interactions are much easier to attain than with real life interactions. That's why we see groups of kids (and adults) standing in a circle with every face turned downward toward that little dopamine stimulation device in our hands.
When we develop this arousal addiction, we need new and different kinds of stimulus. We move from texting to video games, to porn, to YouTube, etc. We are constantly trying to maintain a level of artificially induced pleasure that ultimate leaves us isolated from humanity in some of the most meaningful ways. With the screen, we don't have to put our real selves out there. We don't have to risk face-to-face rejection. But we don't get to see a smile with a real twinkle in someone's eyes. We don't get to bump fists, high five, or hug.
Instead, we might tweet out to a thousand followers something really clever that we've crafted very carefully over the last thirty minutes, and feel really dejected that only five people liked my #bestversionofme. Why aren't more people responding to me? It's already been ten minutes!
P.S. Please like and share this post with everyone or my self-esteem is going to take as serious hit and I could become a porn addict.