Social Media is arguably the most important phenomenon of the last decade. How social media has managed to penetrate and influence nearly all levels of business and society is truly astounding. Social Media marketing is quickly becoming one of the most important areas in modern marketing. As it has affected almost every sector of society, most noticeably the younger generations, it has even altered the way that people’s brains work.
Social Media Fix
The quite recent problem known as Internet Addiction disorder or (IAD) means that people have a severe problem logging off from the internet. In fact it is estimated that roughly 5 – 10% of people suffer from (IAD) and a large number of other people spend the majority of their day online. One of the key reasons for this is the popularity of social media. People began spending so much time on social media that their brain chemistry has actually been altered. Individuals now receive similar effects from social media that they would from a drug addiction. It is the combination of immediate rewards for very little effort that causes the brain to rewire itself to crave this social media fix much the same as a heroin addict craves heroin.
This is not just a personal issue either as many people are forced to use social media for business purposes or have to work online for the vast majority of their day. Although this may seem a necessary evil if too many people begin to crave their social media fix it will eventually affect their productivity at work.
This effect on productivity at work can clearly be seen when we examine social media users and multitasking. A common misconception is that people who constantly use social media and the internet are excellent at multi-tasking the opposite is actually true. The constant flow of information in social media actually makes it harder for our brains to filter out irrelevant information and even affect our ability to remember important information.
A good example of social media interfering with productivity is the recent phenomenon known as ‘Phantom Vibration Syndrome’. Similar to people who have phantom limbs and can still feel a limb after it has been amputated, PVS is when people are sure that their phone has vibrated even though it hasn’t. In a study of 290 students 89% experienced phantom vibrations at least once every two weeks. The effect on productivity here is clear as people are so eager for someone to engage with them on social media that they are imagining it. If you are concentrated on your phone and not work productivity is going to suffer.
Social Media can even have a negative effect on people’s personalities as it has caused heavy users to become more narcissistic and self-involved. People usually prefer to talk about themselves and spend roughly 30 – 40% of their time doing so in person. However, social media provides people with a platform for them to speak to a large audience and roughly 80% of the time people talk about themselves on social media. One of the key reasons for this is that the more people talk about themselves the more Dopamine is released into the brain, which is a drug that makes us feel good about ourselves.
Co-workers constantly sharing selfies, their opinion on everything and what they do at every moment of the day can lead to problems with productivity, but also tensions with co-workers. Not everyone will want to hear or see you brag online about how great your recent holiday was, or how great you look in a bathing suit.
Social media has physically separated people more than other inventions in recent times; one of the key aspects in relation to business being telecommuting and communication via social media. Social Media has also been extremely helpful in creating business relationships and networking using platforms such as LinkedIn.
Do you think that social media has changed the way that your mind works? Do you think it has had a positive or negative effect on your career? Your thoughts and comments below…