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Wellness > Mental Health

How Social Media Is Affecting Attention Span

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Over the years of technology and social media developing, I’ve noticed that my attention span has quickly deteriorated. I find myself opening Instagram and refreshing Facebook more and more often. Technology has been the facilitation of distraction as ring tones and notifications require immediate attention from the user. Social media outlets have capitalized on technology’s effects as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat use stories to attract attention in a small amount of time. Different e-commerce outlets have also found a need to change their marketing tactics by using short advertisement videos. Buzzfeed’s Tasty, for example, uses short videos no longer than one minute to advertise their page and engage their viewers. 

Howard Johnson, a British novelist, spoke with BBC about social media’s effects on concentration spans. Johnson states that people are not able to remember things or connect what they’ve read before with information that they are learning now because of the business of social media. Social media directly targeting our short-term memory while simultaneously scattering the way our brain remembers information. This scattered way of remembering information then affects our brains outside of social media. Even with the absence of our phones or computers, our brains are scattered in thoughts and the distractions then stems from our own mind. 

Although the effects of social media are so deeply embedded in our society, the best way to combat it’s negative effects is to practice turning everything off. Turning off notifications for social media apps and even silencing your phone can drastically improve concentration over time. 

Hannah Zhang is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in Economics and on the pre-med track. She has a deep love for Frank Ocean, flaming hot cheetos, and food. She enjoys Dad jokes and a good read!
Keziah is a writer for Her Campus. She is majoring in Fashion Design with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. HCXO!