Frequent use of online social media does not lead to long-term problems with your ability to concentrate, says a new study.
These modern communication tools do not, it seems, interfere with our primal instincts, such as long-term attitudes, time appreciation, and concentration, in the way that many critics have suggested in recent years, said the study published in the International Journal Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments.
“With the abundance of technological devices, an increasing number of users of all ages rely on technology and specifically social media,” said one of the researchers Deborah Carstens of the Florida Institute of Technology.
There are, however, worries about the impact such tools have on our psyche and our ability to concentrate, for instance.
The new research from Carstens’ team and their colleagues at Barry University also in Florida, showed that despite the often skittish and transient nature of online social interactions there is no difference to be seen in the attention span or “offline” sociability of occasional users and frequent users of online social media.
In the study, a total of 209 respondents from a private university participated. Self-administered questionnaires were implemented with the survey instrument developed by the researchers.
Five hypotheses were tested on the relationships of social media technologies with attention span, time pressure, long-term orientation, polychromic attitude index, and sociability.
There is no difference in attention spans or sociability in frequent or infrequent users of social media, the researchers found.
“Social media is not a fad as it continues to play an increasing role in the individuals’ lives.
Understanding how to utilise this social media epidemic to enhance learning, relationships and business knowledge is essential as individuals are spending an increasing amount of time on these networks,” the researchers noted.
“These networks have become an imprint of our everyday life and part of pop culture, revolutionising the way people communicate and in the way organisations act,” Carstens said.