How Social Media Is Affecting Our Focus

How Social Media Is Affecting Our Focus

Social media is creating a distracted culture.
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During the fall semester of my first year at college, one of my communications professors challenged us with a social media fast. We were able to take as much time off from social media as we needed. Thus, some students lasted two weeks, while others only made it through one day. I actually went through a week of no social media. I was pretty impressed with myself! My results of the fast did not show that social media is directly affecting relationships, but people as individuals. Social media is literally rewiring our brains to multitask, leaving American citizens unable to focus on one topic at a time. Of course, this multitasking mayhem consequently affects our relationships and every other aspect of our lives.

The Internet and social media are transforming the way we learn and remember facts by overloading our memories with useless information. Scientifically, our intelligence is measured by how well our brains convert information from short- term memory to long-term memory. Our working memory, or short-term memory, is only able to retain certain amounts of information at one time. After learning a certain skill, our memories require four to twelve hours to process that information to long-term memory. If another skill is learned within those four to twelve hours, both skills are insufficiently executed. A common source of working memory overload comes from divided attention, which is found when we use social media.

Social media is physically training our brains to multitask and skim reading materials. With suggested videos, advertisements, hyperlinks, notifications, and the immediate access to other’s lives, social media is a haven for confusion and frenzied opinions. Unfortunately, social media seizes our attention only to scatter it. Social media commands our attention at a much faster rate than other media sources, such as newspapers, radio, and even television. Because of our nation’s addiction to social media, our brains are trained to be distracted in other areas of our lives.

As students attempt to fully concentrate and study, our phones are always by our sides, distracting us and breaking our motivation. Even if we turn off our phones, our minds always have a thousand tabs open, as we’re simultaneously thinking about what to eat for dinner, the test next week, and the funny dog video on Facebook. During my social media fast, my intense multitasking became clear. Surprisingly, the fast was not as difficult as I expected. However, I did notice myself picking up my phone or creating a new tab for Facebook whenever my mind wondered. Although, I remembered the fast seconds after opening social media and immediately logged out of my accounts. As I studied for a test, I was highly distracted by other things that I still had to complete or events that occurred that day. Because I did not have social media as a placeholder for when I was distracted, my brain wondered from subject to subject, as it attempted to juggle all of the different topics. I could not focus on one matter at a time and properly retain information. Of course, social media may not a distraction for some people. However, it definitely encourages it in all of us.

Because of social media, the multitasking mayhem happening in our country is consequently affecting our relationships, as people are no longer able to focus on personal, in-depth friendships. Our society values the quantity of friends over the quality of friends, when it should be the opposite. I will admit that I have had trouble building personal relationships while also maintaining social media accounts. People, especially my generation, are more concerned with maintaining their followers on Instagram than the few relationships that will lend a shoulder to cry on in times of desperate need. As we are constantly training our brains to be distracted, our personal relationships suffer. So, put down the phone, close that Facebook tab, and actually spend time with those who matter to you.

Cover Image Credit: Google Pics

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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20 Things I'd Do If The Concept Of Time Was Abolished

If only our lives weren't limited by time.

amrojas
amrojas
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Recently, news outlets have been reporting on how the people of Sommarøy, a Norwegian island located north of the arctic circle, would like to remove the concept of time. This is largely in part due to the fact that the sun does not set during much of the summer nor does it rise during the winter. The inhabitants of Sommarøy do not have rigidly separated days and nights like the rest of the world and can be found doing normal daytime activities at 2 am in the summers.

They also would like to take clocks out of their society. Although this lifestyle might seem impractical to the rest of us, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to live in a world where time is irrelevant, in regards to the concept AND the physical effects of its passing. This newfound information gave rise to ideas of things (some simple, some whimsical) I'd do if the concept of time did not exist and we had as much time to do the things we wanted.

1. Live on a ship at sea.

2. Watch a flower grow from a seed to its death.

3. Apply as much makeup as desired without being late.

4. Retake my favorite college courses and participate as fully as I possibly can, including the completion of every single reading and film.

5. Take a non-stop trip through every country in the world.

6. Learn to play and fully master every single musical instrument in existence.

7. Watch a full rotation of Earth around the sun from space.

8. Live by myself in a cabin at the edge of the woods a la Thoreau.

9. Reread every single book that shaped my childhood.

10. Have a brief conversation with every old friend.

11. Re-drink that first sip of the perfect cup of coffee.

12. Observe how the tides change with the lunar cycle.

13. Learn as many languages as possible.

14. Sit at the beach and listen to music for days.

15. Train for an Olympic event.

16. Write a detailed, thorough analysis of every track in my favorite movie soundtracks.

17. Take a photo of every interesting place I visit and every little nook I find peace in and make a physical photo album.

18. Cook food without burning it.

19. Watch a star's life cycle from birth to death.

20. Replay the feeling of coming home.

amrojas
amrojas

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