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How Social Media Changes the Way We Think About Moments

It should come as no surprise that social media is constantly shaping and changing the way we think about others, ourselves, and the moments we are in. From the hot news story to a viral video, we are bombarded with information about the world and those around us and our experience of the day-to-day shifts the more (or less) we read about events on social media outlets. But these sites, and our participation in them, are also changing the way we remember our own life events.

For the month of April, we are considering the different ways we all capture the moments of our lives. This week, we compiled news articles and blogs that talk about how social media shapes the forming of memories.

Posting About Moments Changes the Memory

As this article from Resource Magazine outlines, “the memories of people who captured and shared their experiences through social media are less likely to remember those events precisely.” We’ve all been capturing moments via photography for most of our lives (or at least our parents were doing it when we were little). And taking those photos helps solidify the memories in our minds, especially when we look back on the photo albums. But a new study from Princeton University found that “those who wrote down, recorded, or shared their experience online … had a 10% harder time remember[ing] the original experience.”

And this isn’t the only article and study to tackle this issue. As this article explains, based on a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, “using a smartphone takes us out of the moment and ultimately changes the way we remember what has happened in our own lives.”

Once you read these articles, you might just find yourself reaching your phone a little less when you’re at a special event or concert.

Social Media Hurts Memories

If knowing that social media can alter your ability to remember a special event wasn’t enough, this article from Time goes deeper and discusses research that shows that social media postings actually hurts your base memory. As the article discusses, “With the advent of smartphones and social media, we may externalize not only knowledge, but memory of our most fun experiences. Although these experiences may be preserved on our devices, what remains in our memory may be diminished.”

We are engaging with information in a different way than just speaking to others, reading books, and writing. Now we can externalize our moments rapidly and extensively and that is changing the way we remember.

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