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If You Don’t Like Texting, Here’s Some Good News For You

If You Don’t Like Texting, Here’s Some Good News For You

People who text frequently are more shallow, hedonistic, and do not strive towards moral goals, a new study shows.

The study was the result of an undergraduate thesis project conducted by Logan Annisette. The results were published in the article “Social media, texting, and personality: A test of the shallowing hypothesis“, which appeared in the February edition of the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

Kathryn Lafreniere, coordinator of the psychology undergraduate honors thesis program, says Annisette found a strong correlation between frequent texting and image-related concerns. Frequent texters were seen to strive towards goals related to appearance and hedonism.

“Where goals related to morality—like living life with genuine integrity and leading an ethical and principled life—those were negatively related,” Dr. Lafreniere says. “People espousing those ideals texted and used social media less frequently.”

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Texting participants did not appear to value or undertake self-reflection

Annisette and Lafreniere asked undergraduate students to rank dozens of life goals according to their significance to the individual student. What they found was that students who engaged in regular texting and social media normally valued things to do with image and hedonism. For example, they wrote: “I want to achieve the look I’ve always been after” or “I want to have an exciting lifestyle.”

The texting participants were less concerned with goals that related to morality and did not appear to value or undertake self-reflection.

The researchers cautioned that texting and social media involvement could make it more difficult for students to have meaningful friendships and could also have a negative effect on student’s grades.

“Whether it becomes an issue that needs to be dealt with or not is a matter of debate. But it’s an issue that demands our concern and poses a need for additional research,” said Annisette.

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Social Media might lead to shallow thinking

Lafreniere voiced concern over the fact that many of the students were receiving news about current events through social media.

“If [social media] is the way people are getting all their information about current events, that’s kind of a recipe for shallow thinking about that event,” said Lafreniere.

She said that this could lead to a superficial understanding of the world around us.

“One wonders if people are looking at headlines without clicking on the article and looking at anything more nuanced. It could be setting up a cycle where people are taking shortcuts to deep thinking about important topics in the world.”

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The Study

Annisette gained his inspiration for the study from the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-nominated book The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, a technology and culture critic. Carr proposed that short bursts of texting resulted in shallow thought and a decrease in the amount one engages in daily reflection.

In all, 149 students participated in the study. The students were asked to rank the importance of nearly 60 life goals. The breadth and subject matter of the questions ranged dramatically from “I want to have a really good sex life” to “I want to find a real purpose and meaning in life.”

Students were also presented with a “reflection questionnaire.” This questionnaire required them to agree or disagree with statements like “I love exploring my inner self” or “Contemplating myself isn’t my idea of fun.”

Reflections

Anisette notes that “I don’t find (social media) inherently evil or dangerous or problematic, but I argue that it’s not the best use of our time.”

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But Lafreniere believes that if you are texting continuously or always checking your social media accounts, you can probably afford to take a break.

“We want people to be more deeply reflective and take the time necessary to do that,” she said.

“People have to break that cycle of over-engagement with social media or texting,” she said. “If they’re always kind of looking at their phone they may be missing something, some deeper experiences that aren’t as shallow.”

Featured photo credit: Positive Moms via positivemomsmagazine.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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