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Are smartphones destroying our ability to form memories?

(Social Media) Various studies reveal how our view of the world is changing after smartphones have gone mainstream across the globe.

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Technology is changing how we form memories

Smartphones have become a way to document our daily lives and instantly share them with friends and family, so how could they be hurting our memory? It seems like they would be helping to preserve daily memories, so we can look back on them over time, but new research states this may not be true.

Research by Fairfield University psychologist, Linda Henkel, suggests that taking a camera-ready approach to your life may indeed cause you to forget things. It makes sense, when you think about it. When you are at an event that you want to record to see again at a later time, whether it is a concert, your child’s game, or a vacation, you pull out your camera, but before you can start recording you have to make sure it is focused and your subject is in the frame.

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Instead of experiencing the event in the moment, you only see what will fit in your viewscreen. If you happen to receive an email or text and your recording stops, you miss even more of the event. The principle at work here is that “if you don’t encode, you can’t retrieve,” meaning that unless you pay attention to what is going on around you, the experiences will not be stored in your long-term memory.

Add in a dash of distraction

Selfies and smartphone photography may be a particularly bad memory-killer because they distract you even more fully from experiencing an event because you are more likely to be trying to achieve the perfect shot.

In an effort to prove the principle that recording, rather than participating in life can contribute to memory loss of the event, Henkel took a group of college students on a museum tour and asked them to photograph fifteen works of art and view another fifteen without taking photos.

The students had thirty seconds to view art they did not photograph and but had to divide their time when photographing (twenty seconds to look and ten to take the photo). The next day, Henkel gave them a memory test to see what they remembered, and the students remembered fewer of the photographed objects.

Upon consideration, Henkel was worried that this could be due to the shorter amount of time the students were give to photograph, so she tried the test again, giving them the same amount of time and adding another condition: this time students were asked to select a single feature of the artwork and zoom in on it. When the students were given the memory test, the remembered the artwork and the part they had zoomed in on. By focusing on a feature, they improved their cognitive memory process.

What does this study tell us?

While capturing moments of our lives on our smartphones or other cameras is a great way to preserve a memory, we should not let it keep us from living in the moment. By using our cognitive thought processes, we will be more likely to retain the memory long term, and that is better than being able to immediately post to social media.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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Kizie brings Pinterest-style moodboards and metrics to Twitter for business

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Let’s get real – Twitter isn’t typically considered a visually stunning or super functional analytics platform. Kizie is here to change that!

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Kizie Moodboard on Desktop

If you use Twitter for work, fun, or anything else, then you may want to check out this fancy new remodeled version offered by Kizie. Kizie is Twitter, but better. They offer a cleaner user experience with built-in options to help you enjoy Twitter the way you’re supposed to, without ads or promotions, and a chronological feed. They do offer a pro plan starting at $5.99 a month. The free plan has a limited number of tweets, threads, reader views, and saved links per month, and to get more you have to upgrade. All plans whether free or paid are ad and promotion free creating a better user experience.

Kizie offers several built-in tools and features. Reader Mode allows a link post or article to open the content directly within the reader mode in a modal. Kizie created a tool called Tweet to Image where an image can be created from a Tweet to be shared elsewhere, i.e., Instagram. They have created a Quick Media Preview where you can view the media without having to click it. All you will need to do is hover over the media with your cursor for it to play the video or GIF or show the full aspect ratio of an image.

If you use Twitter as a marketing tool for your business, Kizie makes it easier to see metrics. Their website states, “With Kizie, you won’t have to click individual tweets to see how they’re performing. Right after you log in, you’ll see a list of your recently posted tweets in the right sidebar on your Home feed. This list will show the following metrics of your tweets: Likes, Retweets, Impressions, Profile Clicks, Link Clicks.”  It also incorporates Twitter Analytics. Free accounts only get engagement statistics for the last 10 tweets, but the pro account gives detailed statistics of the last 100 tweets.

Kizie is also incorporating a tool called Moodboard. This Pinterest-style feature allows Creatives to create a Moodboard page where you can go through and view all the saved items in a beautiful lightbox view for inspiration or reference.

Kizie feed on mobile phone.

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Instagram announces 3 home feed options, including chronological order

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Instagram is allowing users to choose how their home feed appears so they can tailor their own experience… and chronological is back!

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Instagram home feed options

Break out the bottle of champagne, because they are bringing back the chronological order in Instagram!

About time, right? Well, that’s not all. Per Protocol, Instagram has announced that they are rolling out three feed options in the first half of 2022. What?! Yes, you read that right.

3 New Feed View Options

  1. Home: This feed view should feel familiar because it’s the algorithm you already use. No changes to this view.
  1. Favorites: This feed view option presents a nice and tidy way to view creators, friends, and family of your choosing.
  1. Following: Last, but not least, is my favorite re-boot, the chronological view of every account that you follow.

Per Protocol, recent legal allegations have been made that Instagram and Facebook have been prioritizing content viewed as harmful in the algorithm and specifically in Instagram. Instagram is widely believed to be harmful to teens. Per the American Psychological Association, “Studies have linked Instagram to depression, body image concerns, self-esteem issues, social anxiety, and other problems”.  They have been under scrutiny by lawmakers and in response are posing the chronological feed as a solution.

However, this won’t fix everything. Even if the algorithm isn’t prioritizing harmful posts, those posts will still exist and if that account is followed it can still be seen. The other issue with this solution is the knowledge that unless Instagram lets you choose your default feed view, they could still cause the algorithm view to be the automatic view. Facebook doesn’t allow you to make the chronological feed your default view. This means you would need to choose that view every time. This bit of friction means there will be times it is overlooked and some may not even know the functionality exists. Knowing this information about Facebook, prepares us for what’s to come with Instagram. After all, Facebook, or Meta, owns both.

While as an entrepreneur, the chronological view excites me, I know the reality of it being used is questionable. I would love to know others can see the products and services I offer instead of hoping that Instagram finds my content worthy to share in the algorithm.

As a human being with a moral conscience, I have to scream, “C’mon Instagram, you CAN do better!” We all deserve better than having a computer pick what’s shown to us. Hopefully, lawmakers will recognize this band-aid quick fix for what it truly is and continue with making real changes to benefit us all.

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Facebook’s targeting options for advertising are changing this month

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Do you market your business on Facebook? You need to know that their targeting options for ads are changing and what to do about it.

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Laptop on lap open to Facebook page representing ad targeting.

Meta is transforming Facebook’s ad campaigns beginning January 19th. Facebook, which has been infamously battling criticism regarding election ads on their platform, is revising its limited targeting ad campaigns. Per this Facebook blog post, these changes eliminate the ability to target users based on interactions with content related to health (e.g., “Lung cancer awareness”, “World Diabetes Day”), race and ethnicity, political affiliation, religious practices (e.g., “Catholic Church” and “Jewish holidays”) and sexual orientation (e.g., “same-sex marriage” and “LGBT culture”).

These changes go into effect on January 19, 2022. Facebook will no longer allow new ads to use these targeting tools after that date. By March 17, 2022, any existing ads using those targeting tools will no longer be allowed.

The VP of Ads and Business Product Marketing at Facebook, Graham Mudd, expressed the belief that personalized ad experiences are the best, but followed up by stating:

“[W]e want to better match people’s evolving expectations of how advertisers may reach them on our platform and address feedback from civil rights experts, policymakers, and other stakeholders on the importance of preventing advertisers from abusing the targeting options we make available.”

To help soften the blow, Facebook is offering tips and examples for small businesses, non-profits, and advocacy groups to continue to reach their audiences that go beyond the broad targeting of gender and age.

These tips include creating different types of targeting such as Engagement Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences, Website Custom Audiences, Location Targeting, and Customer Lists from a Custom Audience.

Here’s the lowdown on how it will happen.

Per the Search Engine Journal, changes can be made to budget amounts or campaign names without impacting the targeting until March 17th. However, if you go to change the ad set level that will then cause changes at the audience level.

If you need to keep that particular ad to reuse, it may be best to edit the detailed targeting settings before March 17th in order to ensure you can make changes to it in the future.

I believe it was Heraclitus that declared change is constant. Knowing this, we can conclude other social platforms may follow suit and possibly adjust their targeting in the future as well.

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