Technology protects you from the deepest boredom… but that’s the real problem!
A new study shows that constant social media distraction can prevent our minds from sinking into deeper and more intense feelings of boredom.
This “deep” level of boredom is different from the initial, shallow level of boredom that occurs while waiting at a bus stop or waiting for a TV show to start. However, this initial sinking into monotony can be instantly dispelled by checking out Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook, meaning that our level of boredom will never escalate into creativity.
“Deep boredom may seem like a very negative concept, but it can actually be very positive if people are given the opportunity to think and develop without distraction,” says Timothy Hill, a sociologist at the University of Bath in the UK. We must acknowledge that the pandemic has been a tragic and devastating experience.” It is consumed by thousands of less fortunate people, but we are all familiar with the stories of those who have found new hobbies, careers, or directions in life.
Hill and colleagues studied the lives of 15 people who either took paid leave or were forced to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Age, occupation and education varied among the participants, all of whom were from England or the Republic of Ireland.
Participants underwent structured interviews in which they talked about how they spent their time during the pandemic, as well as how they felt. And while boredom kept cropping up again and again, it was often countered by social media and so-called home scrolling.
And those people in the study who actually suffered from deeper and deeper boredom found that it produced a feeling of restlessness and emptiness. However, there was also a new push to fill this void: the senses were rediscovered or rediscovered.
The researchers are keen to highlight that not many people have the luxury of sitting around doing nothing for long periods of time, and that social media can be vital to maintaining relationships with family and friends. However, they say there is an important point about how social media influences our thinking.
“The problem we noticed was that social media can alleviate superficial boredom, but this distraction takes time and energy and can prevent people from moving into a state of deep boredom where they can discover new feelings,” says Hill.
The idea of superficial boredom and deep boredom goes back to a series of lectures by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger almost 100 years ago. Then Heidegger suggested that boredom is a very important part of life, and a part that needs to be developed.
Interestingly, over the following decades, we have developed more and more ways to avoid boredom: now our minds can be distracted around the clock thanks to social networks and everything else that smartphones, tablets and computers provide. You never have to stop and think if you don’t want to.
Other studies have also shown that boredom and the free-roaming of the mind associated with it is an important basis for creativity, which may be why so many good ideas come to our minds.
As Hill says, “This study gave us an opportunity to understand how a 24/7 culture and devices that promise an abundance of information and entertainment can eliminate our superficial boredom, but actually prevent us from finding more meaningful things.” they may be on the right track.”
The study was published in the journal Marketing Theory.
Source: Science Alert