Social media influences the human attention span


Social media has now become the dominant platform for communication, through which information is distributed at top speed. However, this has also led to a transformation in the way we communicate, consume and share content. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Tiktok in the private sphere and LinkedIn in the professional sphere are deeply rooted in everyday life. This is due to the ever-expanding reach and the special appeal of these platforms, which are captivating more and more people.

The consequences of shortening the attention span

Increasing digitalization – primarily the use of social media, smartphones and other digital tools – means that the human attention span is constantly decreasing. According to studies, the human attention span in the year 2000 was still around twelve seconds; today it is only around eight seconds – and the trend continues to fall. This is because the digital distraction caused by constantly available digital devices and daily visits to one’s own profile on social networks challenge the ability to concentrate. One third of the main factors that challenge human attention are the consumption of digital media and two thirds the use of social media.

This book examines social media in all its facets. It identifies both the many benefits and the risks and highlights new trends. It is a comprehensive plea for the use of social media in the context of corporate branding and shows the potential that it will also have for other business areas in the future. It takes a brief look at the neighboring fields of digital marketing that have been significantly influenced by the increased shift of user activities to the Internet. These include, for example, SEO marketing and its various sub-areas as well as local marketing via the Internet.

However, the eBook also shows the dangers for private users, the economy and politics that can arise from the use of social media. The obligations of platform operators are also named, which should help to prevent possible misuse. Social media harbors great potential dangers; anonymous postings in particular – if they are worded offensively – can drive private individuals to suicide. In the social sphere, so-called “fake news” in particular is causing the authenticity and truthfulness of information to be called into question. Even critical areas – such as “social media warfare” – were addressed in order to illustrate the potential dangers.

Digital whiteboards should have these features

Finally, practical examples are given of areas in which the use of social media can be a real help for (self-)marketing or communication. Using the example of US ex-president Donald Trump, it is shown how postings in social media shape Donald Trump’s self-presentation and influence voter behavior.

The example of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj describes how valuable social media can be for war communication and how it can increase the national consciousness of the population. A third example shows the use of social media in the customer journey in modern marketing.