Sunday, 5 August 2012

Infographic: How social media is reducing our ability to think

Try this the next time you browse through your news feed on Facebook: scroll through all the updates and posts on your news feed to your heart's content.  Look at the wise quotes, photos and links your friends put up.  Next make yourself a cup of tea and when you're done with drinking it at a table away from your computer/phone, try to remember just three posts you saw.

Finding it difficult?  That's because we have become scanners, not readers, as the mass of information out there causes us to look for key words only.  We don't read full sentences and when we see a headline that's usually enough: few bother to follow the link and read the full story.  Then when we log off after getting our fix of news and what other people are doing with their lives, we do not store it to memory - there's simply too much for the brain to store and with our shortened attention spans we don't fully grasp the information we read in the first place.  By tomorrow, you will remember practically nothing you saw on Facebook or Twitter as you then proceed to fill your head with much of the same again.

Salient points:

• The average attention span of a human is now 5 seconds long
• Social media has a chemical effect on our brains
• 25% of people forget names and details of close friends and relatives

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