While in Hamburg with our partners at fischerAppelt, I was able to catch a few sessions at Hamburg’s social media week. The most interesting session was focused on the neurobiology of social media, presented by Stefanie Kuhnhen of Grabarz & Partner and Markus von der Lühe of Adknowledge. The presenters conducted focus groups with digital natives (those 13-16 years old) and leveraged neurobiology research to explore why we engage with digital engagement the way we do.
The very short version of their session is this. The human brain has six intelligence centers, each with different needs. Today, to meet the needs of these intelligence centers, we use multiple platforms and express different “personas.” These intelligence centers include:
- Tribal spirit/sense of belonging (Facebook)
- Creativity/self-expression (Pinterest)
- Entrepreneurial spirit/achievement (LinkedIn)
- Emotional Intelligence/connection
- Pattern Recognition/learning (Twitter)
- Vision/Future Hope
Currently, there are no social platforms that appeal to emotional intelligence and vision/future hope. To build more sustainable digital platforms of the future, the presenters argued, we need to find a way to appeal to these basic needs. Further, the presenters believe that in the future, instead of actively looking to multiple social platforms to express our different personas and social needs, the user experience will be much more integrated, helping to alleviate some of the burnout experienced by today’s social media user.
For me, integration seems like it will be much more sustainable, but at the same time, it’s a little scary. I think there is a small part of all of us who like the freedom to be step out of ourselves and be “different people” when with different people. I’m interested to see how much people are willing to give that up.
What do you envision social media will look like in 2025?