July 8, 2010
What is the Effect of Social Media on the Brain?
Is the internet making us smarter, or is it becoming a crutch whereby we no longer have to remember information?
What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
That was the subject of a recent book by Nicolas Carr called The Shallows:What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains in which he opines, backed by research, is while the internet has increased the amount of activity in our minds, it is making us lazier in remembering information. The reason for this is the advent of hypertext. Instead of being able to read something in a linear fashion, with the web we are often confronted with a barrage of links. These links lead us to other places, to different browser tabs, and eventually leaves us wondering what exactly we’re spending our time really doing.
Do You Need the Links?
Take some time to perform a little experiment with yourself to prove that your internet browsing is affecting your ability to focus. Pick up a book. (Yes, remember those?) Pick one up, preferably one that interests you, and start reading it. Keep track of how long you can continuously read it for while storing the information on the pages. I tried this myself recently and found that I simply could not read a traditional published work without hypertext for as long as I once could.
It’s this sequence of straightforward, linear information that we once used to be able to absorb like a sponge which is being lost in a hyperlinked, information overloaded world.
Social Media: Productivity Killer
This is especially true when you put this into the context of social media. Productivity experts are renowned for advocating that people only check their email or smartphone at certain times of the day in order to properly manage time. This strategy is effective in controlling message bombardment, but how in the world you can do something like that on Twitter or Facebook?
It’s not possible to manage social media developments by carving time around these activities. In reality the only way social influence can be spread is through the constant flow of tweets, updates and whatnot. The worst part? Most people don’t even realize why they cannot get anything done with their time with their brain activity constantly aflutter trying to keep the social media boat afloat.
Time to Delegate
So what is there that one can do? Delegation. This method is by far the most effective way I’ve seen social media work successfully is by having a specific person take the wheel and manage campaigns. By trying to do everything on Twitter and Facebook you’ll leave your head spun if you’re not careful.
Social media may be bad on the brain if you’ve got other things to get done in your day, so if you plan on making it a part of your business strategy, set yourself clear goals. Having people around you whether they are freelancers, experts or employees who can focus on this task while you are trying to manage your business will also save you a ton of time.