Understanding the way people operate (or inability to) doesn’t not only help people in marketing and advertising. No, it also helps people understand how a culture or society interacts. Consumer (or in this case, social) behavior provides glances into our human psyche. It provides us a reasoning for the method behind the “madness”, meaning our seemingly predictable irrational behavior.
Like the saying, “the only thing you can predict is unpredictability”, the only thing we know for sure about common sense is that it is anything but common.
For example, as our society continues to become less face-to-face, we have dawned a new age of anxiety issues, off line and online. The latest (that I have seen) is called S.A.D., or Social Anxiety Disorder. Not to be confused with shyness, Internet Usage Disorder (IUD) or just being weird.
I stumbled onto this new disorder from a writer for Brain Magazine, where she talks about her plight with the social phobia.
The writer notes how “anxiety disorders are characterized by extreme mental discomfort with social settings.” And she goes into the technical parts of where in the brain scientists believe anxiety formulates. Most importantly, anxiety disorders disrupt and misinterpret information that impacts attention, memory, judgement and the ability to decipher information coming from oneself and others.
Basically, the ability to recall, and communicate.
This is serious. The ability to communicate thoughts and feelings is crucial to our social fabric. Those who do not and can not are dependent on those willing to help them, else they face de facto excommunication.
I’m not implying that the rise of online communities and social networks and gaming is the direct cause, but all of them are certainly elements.
Social Anxiety Disorder matters because it is proof that our society is losing its ability to communicate. As SAD develops, the more worried we should be.