How Social Media Tricks Us Into Thinking We Are Paying Attention - Social Media Explorer
How Social Media Tricks Us Into Thinking We Are Paying Attention
How Social Media Tricks Us Into Thinking We Are Paying Attention

Your mind is at all times on the hunt for one thing attention-grabbing.

That’s a very good factor most often. If you go to the grocery retailer, you may inform the hunt is underway. You’re on the lookout for good gross sales or attempting to resolve between Thai meals or hen curry. At a bookstore, you may look at just a few covers and in a flash see a hanging title or a colourful design. Subsequent factor you realize you might be carrying a pile of books residence.

This fixed search makes use of part of our mind referred to as the temporal lobe. Because the identify suggests, this area is what permits us to “catch and launch” something that controls consideration on a brief foundation. We love this type of temporal exercise as a result of most of us get bored simply; we’re joyful when there’s a fixed stimulus of consideration. The attract of fabric “issues” means our brains can change focus and hold on the lookout for one thing worthy of our consideration.

I point out purchasing as a result of, after we go to a retailer, our temporal lobe is firing on all cylinders. I reside close to an Amazon 4-Star brick-and-mortar retailer which solely sells top-rated merchandise (sadly, it seems like it is going to be closing quickly). I linger approach too lengthy. It’s enjoyable to flick through the top-rated board video games, then wander over to the top-rated devices. I’ve reviewed merchandise for the final 20 years, so seeing all of “the good things” in a single place is a dream come true. I’m captivated by the merchandise on the market. I get misplaced within the second and time stands nonetheless.

If our brains weren’t simply captivated, we might at all times be in a sluggish slog of boredom. You would even make the case that one signal of burnout or melancholy is after we aren’t captivated by something and we now have to work more durable to search out attention-grabbing diversions in life.

I expertise this at occasions after I’m on the highway, hustling by airports and staying in motels. I’m not as focused on discovering new issues, apart from a pillow on the lodge. I’m not simply captivated by new experiences, which can also be after I usually flip to my telephone as an alternative.

Right here’s the issue. Social media has modified the smartphone market in recent times, and never for the higher. The algorithms are continuously feeding us attention-grabbing info, pictures, posts, and movies. (It’s one motive articles about being productive in your telephone exist.) Our temporal lobe is more than pleased to interact with the content material as we scroll and scroll and scroll.

What’s actually occurring? Again to my instance of purchasing at that Amazon 4-Star store: Instagram, Fb, TikTok, and each different social media app are continuously displaying us attention-grabbing, attention-grabbing posts and movies. We fortunately scroll as a result of our brains are wired to search for attention-grabbing diversions, and social media is probably the most environment friendly possibility.

You may assume this isn’t the identical as dependancy, and also you’d be right. At the very least, principally right. I like to consider fixed scrolling as non permanent consideration syndrome, an ailment that’s just like dependancy however not fairly the identical. With dependancy, we crave one stimulus that we all know is compelling and efficient. With non permanent consideration syndrome, we’re continuously on the lookout for new stimuli. We like that it’s non permanent and ephemeral; the extra fleeting the higher. We absorb the stimulus and transfer on to the following one, often inside just a few seconds.

In the previous few years, after finding out social media and the way it supplies worth however can also be extremely harmful on the similar time, I’ve observed the issue is getting worse. We’re desperately hooked, because of how the temporal lobe works. We’re scrolling greater than ever.

The answer is just not really easy. We have to extract ourselves from this steady stimulus, so available on our plastic units. The nice problem of our age is to provide you with a technique to disconnect ourselves from the cycle of pretend consideration stimulus.

Social media is just not really offering a spectacular expertise anyway; it’s simply okay. The reply is in realizing, as a primary step, that there’s some fundamental mind science concerned, then to interrupt out of the cycle, discover new issues to deal with as an alternative, and management our utilization as a technique to fight the dependancy.

The place to start out? My recommendation hasn’t modified over the past two years or so: ensure you solely use these apps for a restricted time period, or delete them till you want them once more. It begins with accepting that the apps are controlling us, and to decide on to manage them as an alternative.

Need assistance overcoming your scrolling downside? Drop me a be aware by electronic mail and I promise to reply with just a few extra ideas and supply some fundamental anti-scrolling methods.

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About the Author

Adam is an owner at Nanohydr8. He really loves comedy and satire, and the written word in general.

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