Blame Facebook for Our Short Attention Sp… (wait, what was I saying?)
Just ran across this amazing article, “How Facebook Is Altering Your Mind.” Ironically enough, I would not have discovered it if it weren’t for Facebook. I shared and liked it on Facebook. It seems the almighty, omnipotent “Facecrack” has become the Wal-Mart of the interwebz. So powerful, it absolutely demolishes anything in its path. So addicting, it could arguably be considered an actual drug. And why not call it a literal drug? Seeking constant gratification from your FB Newsfeed has been scientifically shown to affect dopamine levels. The article implies that Facebook picks up where television programming left off, ascending to power as the more modern choice of programming for this generation.
Am I the only one a little frightened by the feeling that I can’t live without my Facebook profile? More and more, businesses are relying on Facebook to drum up profits. I myself work with my mother as a Social Media Marketing Assistant, utilizing Facebook for small businesses to gain brand awareness. But what does that mean for individuals? It means more advertisements, whether you consciously realize you’re absorbing them or not. If only it were possible to pay for an advertisement-free Facebook account. Of course that will never happen. Facebook has become probably the biggest resource for marketing in the world. So insidious is this medium, it is easy for us to forget we are being targeted by advertisements.
So, let’s log out and step back here for a second. What all exactly is happening when we create a Facebook profile and proceed to check our newsfeeds, comments and messages every day… usually countless times daily? The slightly more obvious thing is that we are making FAR too much information public. Some of us have caught on to this and perhaps at least leave our ADDRESS and crazy things like that out of our public profiles. However, it is not hard to fill in the blanks by looking at what pages you like and where your friends are located. Let’s say you don’t want people to know your location. All a person – or computer – would have to do is check the location of most of your friends, or take an educated guess from what local businesses you have recently liked. Then of course that information is used to decide what advertisements to feed you, which brings us to the second sneaky thing about Facebook…
If we really look at it, social networking is merely the tool used to lure people onto the site. You just feel like you HAVE to make a Facebook profile because everyone else is on it! You practically don’t exist without one! The trap is set and keeping up with friends is the cheese. What Facebook really wants you for is to shove products down your throat. It’s so easy to forget that every single time we log in, we are constantly being advertised to. This article discusses how much of the advertisements directed at us on Facebook are subconsciously consumed. Freaky.
I mentioned that I use Facebook as part of how I make my living. Many people do. It can be used for good in some ways. Facebook, Twitter and other social media can be very instrumental in building brands for small businesses that otherwise would struggle to gain recognition. Perhaps as a society we should just try to be more discerning about the information we consume and give out. Perhaps we should try dusting off some of those old books and using them for more than just decoration (guilty). I recently saw an episode of Through the Wormhole that discusses “life logging” – the process of recording your daily life over the years through images, journals, etc. In it, they mentioned that
Today, humanity generates more information in 2 days than it did throughout all of history until the year 2003.
With all those stupid cat pictures and petty status updates floating around, won’t future generations have a hard time discovering what was important to us today? Just a thought.
This issue has been a big concern for me for awhile. A few years back, I wrote this article: Does society really need Twitter? I wish I had the will power to delete all these accounts. I just don’t. I still do hate Twitter, though.