Twitter leads to narcissism


twitter_small.jpgADOTAS — Social network dementia was last week’s news. This week, the brains of young users will be rewired, dooming them to stare at their own reflection for eternity.

OK, not really like Narcissus from Greek mythology. But according to neuroscientist Susan GreenField, sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo ashorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centred.

‘My fear is that these technologies are infantilising the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment,” she told the Daily Mail.

Greenfield says repeated exposure to blips of information from fast-paced TV shows, video game and social networking sites might “rewire” the brain. This comes on the heels of Dr. Aric Sigman recently suggesting that a lack of face-to-face networking could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, the function of arteries, and influence mental performance.

I love this quote from Jeff Brown, a spokesman for Electronic Arts, the major video game maker:

“It seems like a new entertainment medium hasn’t really arrived until a scientist jumps up and says it’s making us all crazy,” he told the WSJ. “Balancing this are studies from equally credentialed researchers that show media like videogames actually enhance problem solving and other complex brain activity…I’ll wait to read her study on her Facebook page.”


  1. I don’t know if I should comment. Last time I agreed with this line of thought, I was accused by a later commenter of two things; 1) Not knowing what I was talking about and, far worse, 2) Disagreeing with Guy Kawasaki.

    Jonathan Hutter – Portland, ME

  2. I think these sites sharpen focus, enlarge personal expression and facilitate effective communication. If that means are brains are being rewired then so be it.

  3. I think that social networks as a whole have a life cycle of their own. Take MySpace, for example. The colorful, emo, banner-ad inundated MySpace grew up into Facebook, which is more refined, uniform, and sticks to it’s principals.

    I believe that this transition really signified the maturation of social networking as a whole.

  4. Life has come to the point that most everyone uses one social site or another. I know more about my personal family because of these sites. I know there day to day stuff that happens in their life. We don’t seem to have time to call everyone all the time, so to be able to catch up quickly online is awesome. I am not glued to it 24/7 so I don’t think my brain is being altered. I agree that moderation is key, don’t over do!

  5. What are you people talking about? It’s all about me. Me! I have to go update my profiles with my new picture. The lighting’s a little better so I look more handsome–AS IF THAT WERE POSSIBLE!


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