[LINK] Facebook vs Twitter

Ivan Trundle ivan at itrundle.com
Tue Sep 8 08:45:05 AEST 2009

(I had to laugh - this article, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/ 
, is barely capable of being written with a paragraph of more than 160  

Facebook 'enhances intelligence' but Twitter 'diminishes it', claims  

Spending time on the Facebook networking site could enhance a key  
element of intelligence that is vital to success in life, a  
psychologist has claimed, but using Twitter may have the opposite effect

By Lucy Cockcroft - Published: 7:00AM BST 07 Sep 2009

Playing video war games and solving Sudoku may have the same effect as  
keeping up to date with Facebook, according to Dr Tracy Alloway.

But text messaging, micro-blogging on ''Twitter'' and watching YouTube  
were all likely to weaken ''working memory''.

Working memory involves the ability both to remember information and  
to use it.

At a job interview, a candidate will employ working memory to match  
answers to questions in the most impressive way.

Dr Alloway, from the University of Stirling in Scotland, has  
extensively studied working memory and believes it to be far more  
important to success and happiness than IQ.

Her team has developed a working memory training programme that  
greatly increased the performance of slow-learning children aged 11 to  
14 at a school in Durham.

After eight weeks of ''JungleMemory'' training, the children saw 10  
point improvements in IQ, literacy and numeracy tests.

A number who started off close to the bottom of the class ended up  
near the top.

''It was a massive effect,'' said Dr Alloway, who today gave a talk on  
working memory at the start of the British Science Festival at the  
University of Surrey in Guildford.

Video games that involve planning and strategy, such as those from the  
Total War series, may also train working memory, Dr Alloway believes.

''I'm not saying they're good for your socialisation skills, but they  
do make you use your working memory,'' she said.

''You're keeping track of past actions and mapping the actions you're  
going to take.''

Sudoku also stretched the working memory, as did keeping up with  
friends on Facebook, she said.

But the ''instant'' nature of texting, Twitter and YouTube was not  
healthy for working memory.

''On Twitter you receive an endless stream of information, but it's  
also very succinct,'' said Dr Alloway. ''You don't have to process  
that information.

''Your attention span is being reduced and you're not engaging your  
brain and improving nerve connections.''

She said there was evidence linking TV viewing with Attention Deficit  
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) while extensive texting was associated  
with lower IQ scores.

More information about the Link mailing list