Content Marketing Blog

Why social media is so popular during your downtime [STUDY]

If you’ve ever wondered why jumping on Twitter or Facebook during your downtime feels so natural, a new study could provide the answer.

Researchers at UCLA found that our brains are predisposed to prepare us for social interactions during rest periods.

So, when it’s time for your morning coffee or you’re standing waiting for the bus, your brain will naturally go into social mode.

That means if you’re a bit worried that you’ve become an Instagram addict or a Snapchat obsessive, you can blame the hard wiring in your head.

“When I want to take a break from work, the brain network that comes on is the same network we use when we’re looking through our Facebook timeline and seeing what our friends are up to,” Professor Matthew Lieberman, who led the study, told the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

“That’s what our brain wants to do, especially when we take a break from work that requires other brain networks.”

The fact that “preparing us to be social” now means looking at a smartphone rather than chatting to the person next to you is just a symptom of the modern age.

But it may go some way to explaining the massive popularity of social media sites, particularly on mobile devices, which tend to be closer to hand whenever we get a little break.

Smartphones have improved a huge amount over the past decade. The power of the devices, the speed of the networks they connect to and the plethora of available apps mean that we all have access to the world’s information and the ability to connect to everyone we know right there in our pockets.

This power, combined with our natural predisposition to be social, makes for a bright future for whichever social brands can hold our attention.

Right now, Facebook is winning that battle. One in every 13 people on earth are on Facebook and they spend a combined 700 billion minutes scrolling through their newsfeeds, posting photos and liking stuff each month.

Twitter meanwhile has 302 million active monthly users, with 80 per cent accessing the site on a mobile device. Users of Instagram upload 70 million photos and post 2.5 billion likes every day.

The challenge for content marketers is to be heard in this increasingly crowded space. As major social brands look for new ways to leverage the reach they have, there is less and less space for organic campaigns.

Content marketers need the timing, quality and targeting to be right or their messages will be lost in crowd.

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Adam Barber
Adam Barber About the author

Adam is one of Castleford's founders and remains actively involved in the day-to-day running of the business. He started out as a writer and still contributes regularly to our blog, covering SEO, CRO, social media and digital strategy.

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