According to a new study, the constant stimulation of social media may be preventing our minds from falling into a deeper, more full experience of boredom. This is unfortunate because total boredom can foster original thought. The initial, surface degree of tedium we feel while waiting for a bus or for a television program to begin is distinct from this “deep” level of boredom. However, a quick check of Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook can quickly end this initial dip into monotony, preventing us from moving on to a creative state of boredom.
Why is boredom important?
According to Timothy Hill, a sociologist from the University of Bath in the UK, “profound boredom may sound like an excessively negative term, but, in reality, it may be intensely good if people are given the possibility for undistracted thinking and development.” “We must acknowledge that the epidemic was a devastating, damaging, and life-consuming event for thousands of less fortunate people, but we are all familiar with the tales of those in lockdown who found new interests, occupations, or paths in life.”
Participants were asked to describe their daily activities during the pandemic as well as the kinds of emotions they felt during structured interviews. While boredom kept cropping up again and again, social networking and so-called doomscrolling (the act of spending an excessive amount of time reading large quantities of negative news online) were frequently used to combat it. Participants in the study who did sense more intense, profound boredom reported feeling restless and empty as a result. The pandemic, however, also sparked a renewed effort to fill that void; hobbies like carpentry, baking, and cycling were either discovered or revived.
Why do we have to reduce the use of social media in our life?
The issue, according to Hill, is that while social media can soothe superficial boredom, it can also divert people’s attention, which can keep them from reaching a profound state of boredom where they might find new passions.
The researchers are anxious to underline that social media can be crucial in sustaining relationships with family and friends and that many people do not have the luxury of just sitting around and doing nothing for extended periods of time. They assert that there is a crucial argument to be made regarding how social media impacts our thinking. According to the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, cultivating boredom is a significant aspect of life.
It’s interesting to note that in the years since we’ve developed an increasing number of strategies to prevent boredom. Thanks to social media and the other features provided by smartphones, tablets, and laptops, our attention may now be diverted constantly. If you don’t want to, you don’t actually ever have to pause and let your mind wander. Many great ideas may come to us in the shower because, according to other studies, boredom and the accompanying mind-wandering are a necessary basis for creativity. The authors of the most recent study intend to continue their investigation.
The study was published in Marketing Theory.