Social Media, Innovation and Psychology (S.I.P)

In this article the author talks about how social media has helped in satisfying one of human species primal urge: talking about oneself. The surprising data about how a study conducted by Harvard researchers showed that part of the reward circuits in the brain activated during sex or eating were lit up when we talked about ourselves. In addition, the article also points out that these circuits involve release of dopamine, which is associated with feel good activities and addiction.  It is no wonder that almost all the successful social networking platforms have capitalized on this urge and made fortunes out of it. Moreover, recognition, one of the psychic needs is satisfied when one talks about oneself and is appreciated, liked or recognized by various tools such as the like button. This definitely has led to a dichotomy between the virtual and the real self because there is always an attempt to inflate what one really is, in order to look good.

Additionally, with the introduction of graph search and almost all activities on social media engraved for lifetime, one is more inclined to present oneself in a positive way because of the fear associated with any embarrassing information surfacing from the past, affecting the present. Hence, this has led to a situation where one is not hundred percent true and genuine on social media space.

Thus my first question is, does all of this point out a possibility of a new social media platform where one can be more true and genuine, and are we heading towards the emergence of platforms where one can control what one wants to share for a limited period of time? Or is it none of the above?

Snap chat is trying to break the mold as explained in the article below and trying to make the future of social media erasable .

Moving ahead, according to Paul R. Lawrence, professor at Harvard Business School in his book ‘Driven to lead’ mentions that human decision making is influenced by four innate drives – drive to acquire, drive to bond, drive to defend and drive to comprehend, and all these drives need to be satisfied independently. If one thinks about it, the decision to use any of the social media platforms has to do with the ability of these platforms to satisfy one or more of the mentioned drives in humans. While drive to acquire is satisfied to a certain extent by acquiring new friends, connection, recognition, happiness, jobs, etc. and drive to bond is satisfied by staying connected with your loved ones, forming and searching new relationships, etc. Whereas, drive to comprehend social media is limited and confusing among major users since everybody has different views and use of social media with a tendency among users to adopt and jump to the next big thing easily and quickly. It would not take quiet long for something that is popular now to be wiped out in a short span of time in future.In short, I feel most of the platforms are unsustainable. Moreover, drive to defend one’s privacy is not completely met by most of the platforms because almost all platforms externally watch, monitor, store personal information and target you with specific advertisements, making one feel the intrusion in their personal space. Thus, innovative companies will be able to SIP success from this pool of social media space depending on how well they integrate human needs and create wants that actually resonates with users inner needs and desires

Thus my second question is what kind of disruptive innovations do we see in the future and how do we see the existing platform adapt to these unmet needs and desires to become more sustainable?

It would be interesting to see how social media platforms evolve in future and how psychology will play an important role in the conceptualization of new social media platforms, and adaption and improvement of the existing ones.



One thought on “Social Media, Innovation and Psychology (S.I.P)

  1. I found this article very interesting, as well as your look on how social media taps into our inner psychology and triggers our more innate behaviors. I am a true believer of social media being a platform for most people to express themselves more easily rather than in personal contact.
    This leads on to the idea that people always want to create a different face for themselves. As you mention, “the introduction of graph search and almost all activities on social media engraved for lifetime” makes them to think twice on what that face or profile of themselves they create will be, but that inclination was always there. People go online, get involved in social media to see who they can be or be what they wish they were, and that will always be a risk or the weak spot of social media; the uncertainty of who that person on the other side really is.

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