Psychology of social media

For me, two of the most fascinating topics to initiate a great discussion are psychology and social media. So, imagine my delight when James Jefferson developed the idea to have a Social Media Week event focused on the Psychology of Social Media.

The event included four speakers, each with a different perspective on psychology of social media. Each person explained their unique perspective and then took part in a group discussion based on questions and comments from the audience.

First to speak was Catorina Campbell. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Computer Interaction. She saw the topic as "How do we interact with computers and what do we expect from social media?" She introduced us to the different types of groups who use social media, including my own, Millennials, and described how we interact with technology. It's no wonder that she founded Foviance, a company that helps organizations understand how their customers interact with their technology.

Another panellist with a strong psychology background (and perhaps a fellow Millennial) was Lauren Wagner. She is currently working towards her PhD by researching how social media can be used to positively affect our health. After mainstream media had focused on so many negative news stories about social media in the past month, it was wonderful to hear such a positive perspective about social media as a force for good.

Craig Hepburn, Global Director of Digital and Social Media for Nokia talked about the Nokia Life Tools program. He inspired everyone with Nokia's approach to using social media to enhance people's lives in developing countries. His talk brought a fascinating breadth to the discussion really provoked a lot of exciting debate during the panel discussion.

Finally, James took the stage to share his perspective on the psychology of social media. He brought together the other panellists viewpoints by covering a bit about the history, the current status and the future of social media and how we interact with it.

His main point was that designers are increasingly charged with creating the platforms that host our social interactions. So they must tread carefully with the decisions they make. They must work closely with psychologists like Lauren, sociologists and anthropologists to make sure the platforms they create lead us to richer relationships, rather than weakening ties.

The questions he asked really made you reflect upon your own behaviour and expectations of social media.

Those insightful questions translated into a fantastic question and answer session that introduced even more perspectives. I'm really happy that I got to go along to a talk that focused on the social in social media.

By Lydia Duncan

What perspecitve do you have on the psychology of social media? Watch the full event