Is Social Media Ruining Our Minds?

    December 25, 2011

Are the effects of multitasking, as well as constant distractions via whatever device of your choosing, causing your brain to rewire, and potentially impacting the length of our attention spa… Oh, look! A Facebook update!

I think you get the idea.

How hard is it to avoid distraction in this day and age of always-connected devices and the social media platforms that offer a constant stream of content that can even be described as valuable on an occasion? Does this type of “multi-tasking” interfere with your ability to concentrate on an individual subject for extended periods of time? With that in mind, what were we talking about again? Let us know in the comments.

While the concept could focus on the general concept of multitasking, the infographic being referenced in this article focuses directly on social media, asking is it ruining our minds. Sponsored by the AssistedLivingToday collective, the graphic offers an extensive breakdown of how these constant distractions are effecting the very way our brains are wi… Wait, what? Did what’shisname really update his Twitter feed!?!? Squeee!!!!

As I was saying before being distracted by various Twitter feeds, the infographic, aside from focusing on the distractions offered by social media, offer this compelling concept: The average attention span, at present, is only five seconds long. 10 years ago, it was 12 minutes. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to “like” my buddy’s Facebook update after watching the new Batman trailer for the tenth time this morning.

The impact of these shorter attention spans — SQUIRREL!!!! — is that 25 percent of us forget names and details of friends and relatives. I tried to explain this to that one guy, but I’m not sure he heard me, or was even paying attention. He was on Facebook, I think. Other factoids of note, right after I check my email again:

– The average worker checks his/her email about 30-40 times an hour
– Um, what were we talking about, again?

With that in mind, whatever it is we we’re talking about will have to wait until the distraction of the infographic is consumed. Be advised, it’s over 5000 pixels tall, although, I forgot what it is I’m supposed to be explaining:

Social Media Infographic

Oh, right, social media distraction. While the graphic implicates the social media industry, there is scant information within the graphic about the very industry in question. Some simple, throwaway facts are present, like so:

500,000 people join Twitter everyday, 12 million Twitter users follow 64 or more accounts, with 1.5 following over 500. The graphic further indicates people spend over 700 billion minutes on Facebook each month, and Facebook users install 20 million mobile device apps everyday.

While there’s no direct correlation between these bullet points and the distraction issue, the relationship is clearly inferred. With all these additional outlets for information/distraction, it easy to see how people are so easily distracted. Furthermore, the data about the attention span should be troubling, but then again, I’ve already forgotten what it is I’m writing about.

Were you able to maintain your concentration while exploring the infographic? Oh look, a shiny device!!!! If you can remember the point the chart was trying to make, let us know in the comments.

H/t to Social Times for pointing this out.