impatient effect of social media

“In an age of instant gratification, patience is a revolutionary act.” 

Pico Iyer

Evolution of instant gratification

Advancements in technology have shaped our expectations for immediate response and speed. In this article, we look at how does social media has an influence on psychological wiring to makes us impatient. The introduction of high-speed internet has led to a reduced time of waiting for information. With mobile technology, instant access to information and services has created standard expectations for people. The development of social media apps like Twitter, Instagram and TikTok promotes real-time updates, fostering a culture of quick updates and engagement. 

Social media – A tool for impatient?

  • In this world where we all are hyper-connected, technology has transformed how we interact with others and has drastically affected our lives. It has affected humans psychologically, socially, and human learning and character traits. 
  • The constant need to be connected and responsive has led to increased stress and anxiety levels. The pressure to respond quickly, be socially active and be quick to reply to messages has led to a phenomenon called ‘information overload’ exacerbating stress levels. Steaming of data and endless notifications can be overwhelming, and due to this, the ability to process information effectively has been reduced and hence causes mental fatigue.
  • The impact of technology on education is profound. It provides easy and quick access to information; thus, it changes how students learn and engage with the content. The availability of quick answers discourages deep learning, fostering a superficial understanding of complex subjects. This also reduces their ability to engage in long-term projects and research as they expect immediate feedback and results. 
  • The constant exposure to quick information and updates also reduces patience in our daily lives. This also leads to the decreased ability to focus on a task that requires sustained attention. There is a growing expectation for immediate responses and content consumption. As the response time increases, the tolerance level decreases. Even if there are minor delays in loading or the response rate, we tend to be frustrated and dissatisfied. 
  • While technology increases productivity, it is a hindrance to an effective work environment. The constant barrage of emails, messages and notifications leads to another phenomenon called ‘continuous partial attention’ where employees are not fully focused on one particular task. This diminishes the quality of work and increases the chances of errors. Furthermore, this can negatively impact the mental health of the employee leading to dissatisfaction. 

Available options

As we blame technology in the above cases, there has been advancement in it or it has been redesigned to promote its healthier use. It encourages users to use technology thoughtfully. For example, or breaks selection in apps, to prevent continuous scrolling and enable users to reflect on the content. Furthermore, a feature of smarter notification system enables to prioritise only important information, reducing unwanted interruptions. Options like focus mode and do not disturb can help create an environment that minimizes distractions and helps us focus.

Upsurge of short content

Rise of short-form content leading to the transformation of user behaviour from detailed videos or content to informative videos in brief and entertaining clips. This shift has implications for human psychology, behaviour and even on financial scams. 

TikTok and similar platforms have popularized short–form content with videos lasting to the time range of 30 to 60 seconds. These platforms prioritize quick and brief content over long detailed content. 

The consumption of short videos has a link with reduced attention span. Users become accustomed to short videos which makes it difficult for them to focus on longer videos that are detailed. Studies show that the average attention span of readers has reduced and they can’t focus on tasks for an extended period. 

Financial scams on social media

The impatience effect of short-form videos not only affects users’ mental health but also makes them vulnerable to financial scams. But how exactly does this happen? Well, we know how short-form content has made users want quick results and rewards. The scammers exploit this and create attractive opportunities that promise fast and high rewards or returns. The impatient consumption of this brief content and engaging videos leads to hasty decision–making. Due to this, many users fall for such quick money schemes without thoroughly evaluating it. For instance, TikTok’s ‘get rich schemes’ and ‘crypto scams’ where the scammers promise high returns have made many users fall for it and lose money. 

The potential solutions to this can be – a stronger verification process, mindful decision-making, regulation and enforcement, technical solutions and spreading awareness about the same. 

Last thoughts

To sum up, the impatience effect of social media is a multifaceted issue. It influences various aspects of human behaviour and social life. While technology has many benefits, we need to be aware of its downsides as well. Users must adapt to mindful practices and promote patience. Technology should be redesigned for a balance so that we can avoid the negative impact on human lives and foster a healthier relationship with technology. 

By thewonk