Michelle Bui

Research Project

Investigating Social Media Impacts On Attention Span


Michelle Bui is a fourth-year Professional Communication student at TMU, minoring in Communication Design. Her interest lies in graphic design and digital marketing. Michelle has experience freelancing as a multi-media designer and working as a performance marketing video editor for eCommerce companies within the beauty industry. She appreciates the flexible knowledge and skills offered by ProCom and aims to enhance her understanding of diverse communication strategies to succeed within the creative industries.

Research Summary

In partnership with Emily Teed, we investigated the relationship between social media and attention spans through qualitative data analysis to find themes in scholarly literature and discourse. To ensure a well-rounded overview of existing research, we took on this topic from a psychological and philosophical lens, analyzing works from leading scholars specializing in the psychological and philosophical implications of technology on people. We expanded our research scope to encompass additional literature focused on the intersection of social media and attention spans. Utilizing these various sources, we identified shared themes and arguments across the body of work. We then utilized these prevalent themes and arguments in analyzing the widespread technological behaviours of young adults, such as continuous scrolling on popular social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, alongside multitasking with technology. Emily, from a psychological standpoint, uncovered that platforms are increasingly structured around algorithms that prioritize shorter content. This trend leads to extended periods of engagement on these platforms daily, contributing significantly to the decline of our attention spans. My philosophical analysis revealed that social algorithms, often perceived as tools for enhancing user experience, play a significant role in diminishing our attention spans.  Themes related to the ethics of these social platforms through which information is delivered shape our engagement, leading to quick gratifications that jeopardize deep focus. Our findings suggest a substantial, interconnected relationship between social media and attention spans, underscoring the ethical considerations of social media’s impact on attention spans and the need to break free from this cycle.

Research Poster

Lightning Talk

Scroll to Top