SOCIAL MEDIA FRIES YOUR BRIAN WITH COGNITIVE OVERLOAD, LEADING TO IMPULSE BUYS
I’m in my 5th decade which places me firmly in the awkward position of an instinctual awareness of both the before and the after of social media. It certainly felt like a phenomenon when Facebook took off. For a very brief while, Facebook was fun and cool. You could use it how you wanted to use it. Shoot, you could even make your own plugins to do fun things. Those days are long, long gone. Facebook is now just one of several social media platform giants. And the last thing they do is actually help us organize ourselves, or how we associate. Now, three online studies have found what they really do: they figuratively fry your brain into a confused, fatigued state that helps you clink on impulse buys.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS BAD FOR YOU, AND IT IS ADDICTING, FORMATIVE BEHAVIOR FOR CONSUMERS
Color me shocked, and somewhat awed. Well, maybe not the latter. I’ve always suspected as much, though it is helpful that researchers are finally putting some of the finer details out there for us to peruse, digest, and hopefully increase our awareness. It’s clearly going to be a long, uphill battle, as social media creates and perpetuates formative behaviors. So how does social media fry our brains into consumer stupor submission? The researchers call it cognitive overload, which is pretty much what you think it is. Your brain gets overloaded with details and data errata, which diminishes your ability to differentiate what data is important (to you).
THINK ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA AND ELECTIONS, ESPECIALLY SOCIAL MEDIA THAT DELIVERS “NEWS” ARTICLES
And while this study hasn’t focused on this aspect of it yet, I’d like to mention how media itself is a consumable, in all of its forms. When you consider Facebook in particular, and its role in recent American elections, its hard to avoid thinking about bad/false/misleading/propagandistic news as a consumable. And if your brain is already fried with cognitive overload, you will consume even more bad media, and not differentiate the important data. As in: you can’t smell the bullshit as that’s all you smell in general.
Regardless, this study is a place to start. If you want to know more about it, you can look here.