Molecular Thoughts
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How Social Media is Rewiring the Human Brain

Molecular Thoughts

Molecular Thoughts


The way we consume information effects our brains. This is not science fiction but the result of several studies of the effect of social media on the brain. There is a deep concern that the these changes may cause problems with concentration and that the younger generation will be “less likely to undertake deep, critical analysis of issues and challenging information.”

There is worry that this could also lead to problems with obesity, a need for instant gratification, lack of conversational skills, inability to analyse and problems with a sense of self. One of the effects of social media is the need to build a profile and create an online persona status that can seem narcissistic.

It is not just teens and twenty somethings that are risk but they are at risk the most.  This is because according to research their brains are still developing and will not be fully cognitive until 25+. Predictions on ways that technology is affecting teens is still ongoing.

Taken from the mind development stages by Dr Gregory Mitchell:

For most people Fluid Intelligence ceases to develop after the age of about twenty and starts to fall after the age of 25, unless an appropriate intervention is made to continue the mind’s active development. On the other hand, many dimensions of Crystallized Intelligence typically continue to develop throughout the life span, particularly in the individual’s chosen domain of work experience. But this can limit the individual to a perspective within narrow boundaries; creativity and wisdom demand a much wider perspective, in which a range of domains are interlinked.

A recent study from Elon University and Pew Internet, gathered research from over 1,000 stakeholders and 2,000 participants stated that “Teen brains are being rewired to adapt to the new information-processing skills they will need to survive in this environment.”

Susan Price, CEO and chief Web strategist at Firecat Studio and an organizer of TEDx in San Antonio, Texas, paints a more optimistic scenario:

“Those who bemoan the perceived decline in deep thinking or engagement, face-to-face social skills and dependency on technology fail to appreciate the need to evolve our processes and behaviors to suit the new reality and opportunities. Young people and those who embrace the new connectedness are developing and evolving new standards and skills at a rate unprecedented in our history.”

The good news is that in some ways this may be of benefit. As people will no longer be reliant on memorising and accumulating fact based knowledge the changes in cognitive processing may enable people to process information faster with greater cognitive abilities.

For anyone over 25 who is consuming social media and living and breathing digital there are changes happening as well. People who are adopters and learners will gain as well. The study points that some people will coast and be left behind as laggards. There are predictions also around for the development of new value structures away from “nostalgic items” towards a shift for new, novel and an experience led culture.

“People of all ages are adjusting to a world where ‘facts’ are immediately discoverable, and judgment between competing facts becomes a primary skill.”

Read the results of the study here.

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Crossing the Social Media Rubicon into The New Digital Mindset

The kids are growing with social media as a fact of everyday life.

There is a big discussion about where UX is going and about the impact Social Networking is having. When it comes to Social Media we have crossed the Rubicon (metaphorical point of no return). There is no going back. There is nowhere to hide. Social Media and the explosion in tools in the last of 6 months have changed the industry. Some people also argue it is changing our brains as well as our entire ways of working.

Thomas Power has a 16 minute video, called “Do you have a digital Mindset“. He talks about the new mindset and proposes we think hard about 3 words; open, random and supportive.

Old Mindset: Closed, Selective & Controlling
New Digital Mindset: Open, Random, Supportive

What is happening is the amount of information and the addiction to information as well as new skills such as filtering or curating.

We are curators now

This has part of the story of what we has UX people have to get to grips with and understand at a detail level. Understanding how people consume information as well as the underlying systems and being about to create memorable and meaningful experiences. Social media is not a role. It is becoming a part of all of our lives. To ignore this and not be a part of it is foolish. The only way to understand the phenomena of social media and include it in our solutions is to become a part of it.

The new digital mindset is changing companies to become more open as well. Nowhere is this more evident than digital. Employers and clients want hard evidence that they are buying value. Value is what UX Consultants bring to a project. Anyone who tells you that it is about producing deliverables (wireframes, site maps) is wrong. It is the thinking – understanding users through research, analysis, measuring and creating meaningful experiences.

People work with people. Companies are collections of people. The last year has seen a dramatic change in the social business. Clients are wanting to know “who” they are getting. In UX it is about having the right expertise with the hard evidence to back it up. Reputations are built on what you have done, not what you say you are going to do. This is why portfolios, qualifications and CVs miss the point. They can only show the past. Social media is making it more about the thinking and the level of communication required.

Social Media is about:

  1. Visibility
  2. Connections
  3. Collaboration
  4. Feedback

I had a conversation about how I noticed clients and potential clients were looking at our Linkedin CVs and I found it funny when I was told “that clients should not be Googling people and should just read the bio as supplied”. Oh those naughty clients how dare they use Google. 😉 Of course who can blame them when they get bland descriptions written in the third person.

There is an upside to all of this. There is no longer a market for blaggarts and bullies.

Even on a Sunday the question came up, Do you know “so and so”. This was in relation to some one I once worked with applying for a job with a friend of mine.

I am digitally distinct! Visit

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Epson MegaPlex turns an iPhone or iPad into a big-screen projector

HD 720p All-in-One Projector, Speaker and Apple-Device Dock Combo for Digital Lifestyle

HD 720p All-in-One Projector, Speaker and Apple-Device Dock Combo for Digital Lifestyle

I have been looking at docking stations for a while and always left the store empty handed. Now Epsom has come out with one that fits the bill of what I am looking for. The Epson MegaPlex. I want one that is more than just a set of speakers and a charger. It is a projector that just happens to be also a docking station.

After video, DVDs and then Blue Ray I am well past the point of being a movie collector. I am very selective now of which movies I want to have in my permanent collection. These days I prefer streaming. But with most of my viewing now done on the iPad this make the Epson MegaPlex a killer product.  I am already planning how I am going to use this as an out door projector for those rare summer nights.

Could this be a replacement to a TV and the end to the TV license?


No TV necessary and no TV license either

The added bonus is no TV necessary. When moving to the flat screen I was aware of the increased cost in energy usage. The added bonus is that the Epsom projector is a lot more energy efficient. It also takes up a lot less space and just requires a blank wall or screen

It seems crazy that to buy a TV solely to watch movies and play games and also pay for a TV license.  Then I need to add cable and thus pay even more to watch movies.

I am already a fan of BBC iPlayer and several others for viewing video content online. Lovefilm owned by Amazon now has a streaming option making it ideal and less expensive than cable for watching premier films. Most people are quite selective in what they watch as well. For a lot of people this may make a  lot of sense and time to ditch the idiot box.

Features of the Epson projector:
  • It is a docking device and charges iPad or iPhone devices when plugged in
  • Projects up to 100 inches
  • Perfect for Movies -HDMI plus other audio / video connections
  • Great for presentations – is advertised as travel friendly with a handle but I still think you would need a case
  • Stereo sound and can be used without video to play audio files
  • Built in mic to amply the presenters voice
  • Can be used as a speaker doc
  • Rich, vibrant color and reliable performance — 3LCD, 3-chip technology
  • Can connect to Mac or PCs using a USB connector
  • Can use a USB memory device directly  into the USB port and present

Remarkable resolution and bright output (2800 lumens of color and white light output1) ensure vivid content, even when it’s enlarged to a 100-inch image. Add in the built-in stereo speakers and portable design and MegaPlex MG-850HD is sure to transform how you collaborate and interact, whether at work or at home. Simply connect, project and play. Epson website 

Of course I am leaving off the obvious that this is also a good tool for work as well. I am sure I can say for certain that this will be in my home a lot faster than I can fill out the procurement forms. 😉