Initial Thoughts on Social Media

social-media-weapons-of-mass-distraction

Unknowingly, we have all become addicted to social media. Even during my own daily routine, social media plays an integral role in providing a constant stream of information to “connect” me with the world. When I wake up in the morning, before brushing my teeth, showering, or eating, I check my Instagram (@mcguirk_h) to ensure I am closely following the lives of my 322 followers. Even during the first 10 minutes of creating this post, I checked Facebook multiple times. So as Social Media becomes increasingly prevalent in my life, it seems to serve more and more as a distraction.

The Google Effect perfectly exemplifies our reliance on social media networks. The Google Effect states that people will easily forget information that can be found on Google, and will feel less inclined to commit information to their memory. Even though Google is a very popular search engine, Facebook takes the cake for most popular social media site. Facebook takes up 83% of total time spent on social networks and 23% of total time spent on mobile apps. But does this social media frenzy have a negative effect on our brain?

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A study done by Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology states that too much social media exposure reduces your capacity to process information and depletes your short-term working memory. Our brains are designed for periods of relaxation and activity, but we cannot relax while being constantly connected through our smartphones, computers, and tablets. Students, myself included, struggle to stay detached from social media and finish their work in a timely matter. Because school generally requires students to use a computer or ebook, they are constantly tempted by Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

If you didn’t pick up on it yet, I will tell you my initial thoughts on social media: A means of distraction. Maybe this opinion comes from the fact that I use social media solely on a personal basis, but up until last week I never really thought of social media as an effective business tool. When I was in 7th grade, my school gifted every student a laptop for the year. We could bring the computer home at night, but at school the devices were to be used for schoolwork. Being immature 7th graders, we immediately devised clever strategies to goof off the entire class. Instead of taking notes, we were instant messaging, playing games, and doing pretty much anything except our assigned work. As I graduated into high school, I matured…slightly. I stopped IM my friends from across the room, but teachers and adults still discouraged the use of Social Media. Because my high school never made an effort to integrate social media into the curriculum, I continued to tweet, check Instagram, and Facebook from under my desk.

This is not to say I don’t love social media. Twitter, Facebook, Email, and Youtube allow me to keep up with friends, catch breaking news stories, and most importantly follow the newest Youtube Sensation. Furthermore, Social Media does an incredible job of bringing people together and connecting the world. In one amazing example, Luo Gang, a man abducted at the age of 5, used Google maps to find his parents 23 years later. Even after one class of Social Media for Managers, I could tell that I was being exposed to a totally different side of social media. I began to view Twitter as platform that supports intellectual conversation, rather than merely a stream of my followers random thoughts. I learned a few characteristics of a digitally mature company, and I began to understand the importance of a digital strategy. Because it is a crucial skill in digitally driven business, I am excited to develop a greater understanding of Social Media. I only began this course having personal experience with Social Media, but I believe I will learn an incredible amount about the business side of this industry.

2 comments

  1. I really liked your post. I think most students can relate to using social media to procrastinate. When I am reading, I regularly grab my phone to check Facebook, it has become such an ingrown habit that I am not even aware that I am doing it anymore. At BC I am only allowed to bring my laptop in two out of the five courses I am taking. At Copenhagen Business School, I am certain it would cause an uproar and massive protests were the teachers to ban laptops from the lectures. In the beginning, I found it really frustrating and annoying that I had to take notes by hand during class, but what I am learning is that without any distractions, it is easier for me to focus and actually pay attention to what the professor is saying. I am ashamed to admit that in Denmark, I would probably spend around 50% of the time in class scrolling through Pinterest, and were you to stand in the back of the classroom, 90% of the students would be on some type of social media site. Most of the students insist that they can multitask, but can they really? I wonder how it would change the classroom culture at my home university, it electronics were banned.

  2. I totally agree with you that social media is the biggest distraction I have in my day to day life. I personally don’t know anyone who can go a whole day without checking some type of social media. It has become such an essential part of our lives that we’ve learned to take it for granted. It’s good that you’ve decided to take this course because you will learn about a whole different use of social media – it’s role in the business world. Social media has helped changed entire organizations and improve not only their customer service, but their overall operations.

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