Q: Is it normal to still be painfully shy at almost 40? At work many of my colleagues have very little to do with me, and I tend to keep to myself a lot, as I get really nervous when I’m around too many […]Q: I lost my job a few months ago and since then I’ve been unable to find the motivation to do, well, anything.I realized today that maybe what I thought was a pattern of behavior at work actually applies to my whole life.
These icons are not constant features of social media websites (unless we engage with other users incessantly, in which case, job well done by the site’s engineers) – they are unpredictable. On friendship, boobs and the logic of the catalogue: Online self-portraits as a means for the exchange of capital. So my behaviour of making a connection request follows a variable schedule reinforcement (Ferster & Skinner, 1957) paradigm: sometimes it is rewarded, and sometimes it is not, meaning that I am very likely to continue to engage in it. Cleverly, many social media websites have concentrated this reinforcement paradigm across several activities into a single signal: the notification icon. Yet Facebook is now more globally dominant than ever, and, as if to underline my hubris, My Space is resurgent. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 30(2), 75–85.
Often written off as passing fads for teenagers, these websites now have billions of users – not only with Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, You Tube, Instagram and My Space in the West, but with hugely popular sites like Tencent Weibo, Vkontakt and Orkut in the rest of the world. But, from the point of view of peer-reviewed psychological research, what do we know about what makes these websites popular?
Behavioural and cognitive Almost a truism at this stage, the human preference for novelty first described by Lord Kames (Home, 1823) plays into the attractiveness of social media.