Have you noticed in the past few years how much shorter the lines are now at the grocery store, traffic light, doctor’s office, and restaurants? Or, do the lines just seem shorter because you are now secretly enjoy waiting so you can browse Facebook, messages, emails or Twitter, with the thought, “What will I get?” When we unlock our smartphones, we subconsciously crave for variable rewards or something to occupy our minds. This yearning for variable rewards makes us refresh social media feeds and email inboxes – repeatedly.
Here’s an effect you may not have been aware of: According to neurological scientists, 10 minutes on social media can raise oxytocin levels by up to 13 percent, (a generosity-trust chemical in our brains). That’s a hormonal spike equal to what some people experience on their wedding day! People of all ages are addicted to the euphoria effect of their smartphones.
People use their smartphones everywhere. In elevators, for instance, I’ve seen people miss getting off their intended floors because of checking Facebook postings. It’s the norm to use smartphones as we wait at banks, gas stations and even Starbucks.
Does social media technology decrease productivity or are we simply filling what was empty non-productive spaces in our lives?
In a world where we brag about 24/7 connectivity, our phones keep buzzing. But we rarely receive calls. Social media notifications, useless emails, and instant messages have made us ‘multitaskers’.
But multitasking reduces our productivity by up to 40 percent. Each time we are interrupted, it takes us several minutes to refocus. Before those refocus minutes are up, we get distracted again. Is it not surprising that these are the least productive times in the history of mankind?
This social media phenomena also provides opportunities for short-burst marketing and re-branding. The most famous re-branding person of our time? Donald Trump. He uses Twitter to “re-brand” his adversaries. It use to be, “Don’t judge people by what they say about themselves, but by what they say about others.” That still may be true for some, but unfortunately social media has made many believers in stories people want to hear or hope to believe. Social media can now quickly cast false and deceptive re-branding of people and companies.
As a marketer, please consider taking the truth-road. Check Snopes, PolitiFact or other “fact checking” websites before passing along juicy tidbits that could falsely re-brand companies, products or people that worked so hard to create value in their brands.