Earlier this week I proposed the question, “Is Facebook Technically A Video Game?”
Well, today I am following that up by asking what I feel is an equally relevant, if not more relevant, question:
“Can Facebook Lower, Or Raise, Your IQ?”
When I first joined Facebook around a decade ago during my final semester of college at Liberty University, Facebook was basically still in “running concept” format. It was only set-up for college students at the time.
To log on to Facebook meant a drama-free, stress-free, guilt-free experience. It seemed like back in those days, circa 2005, you could interact with your classmates and friends without being judged… or being tempted yourself to judge others.
I think we all have to be honest here and admit: it can be challenging to refrain from at least quickly subconsciously passing judgment as you scroll through hundreds of your friends’ strong opinions, daily selfies, and doses of TMI.
As I mentioned in Is Facebook Technically A Video Game?, Facebook has evolved into a place where people ultimately go to receive and give confirmation to each other.
That may sound simple enough, but the way I think it, each time we check our Facebook, we are entering into a world of concentrated drama; overexposing ourselves to information that outside of the social media website, would be not only impossible, but also, unnatural to encounter.
Yet we tend to enter the semi-alternative universe of Facebook nonchalantly and unguarded; even treating it as a form of escape.
In part, it is that escape. It’s an escape as you are exposed to positive people who share information with you that is close to or greater than your own intelligence level; but they are mixed in with those who are… not.
It reminds me of something Daymond John mentioned one time on Shark Tank. He mentioned the importance of “people proximity.” You ultimately become like the people who you are exposed to most in your social circle.
So out of your 500 or a thousand Facebook friends, who do you pay the most attention to as you scroll through your Facebook feed? Who do you let affect you the most? Who do you let affect your mood or current thought process, if nothing else?
Compared to actual reality, Facebook daily puts in you the same proximity as people who you might not normally interact with (even passively) on a personal level.
Thanks to Facebook, I can easily learn about the strong, one-sided views and opinions of anyone in my social network- and the thing is, I don’t necessarily want to.
So can Facebook lower, or raise, your IQ? I believe so. Just like how I believe being exposed to reality TV can, as well; as Jack Johnson sings about in his clever song, “Good People”.
Bad news, misused, give me some truth
You got too much to lose…
Wrong and resolute but in the mood to obey
Station to station desensitizing the nation
Going, going, gone
Ten years ago, I didn’t have a daily feed of information coming from people of all types. I was pretty much limited to the influence of just those I actually spoke with in person each day; and again, they were never as opinionated or dramatic or likely to share too much information as those on Facebook tend to be.
Something I have noticed is that the people of Facebook who I respect the most tend to be the least openly opinionated.
They serve as a model for me to follow. It all goes back to that people proximity theory.
Even in in the unnatural (and largely unrealistic) setting of Facebook, I am still subconsciously seeking out and associating with the people I respect the most.
I believe that what you get out of Facebook is largely based on who you’re paying the most attention to, and sometimes more importantly, who you are choosing to ignore.
And from there, I believe your IQ can be affected for better or worse.
So the way I see it… no, Facebook doesn’t lower your IQ, but it can if you allow it to. In theory, you could choose to use Facebook as a tool to raise your IQ in the same way.