COM0011 Blog 3 —Social Media and Poor Sleep: Cause or Effect?

Two recently completed research projects looked at the relation between social media use and sleep. While they came to two different conclusions, they seem to point to a potential spiral effect.

High social media use causes sleep problems

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh studied 1,788 Americans ages 19 to 32 from across the country in 2014. Participants filled out questionnaires about the time they spent each day on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, SnapChat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine and LinkedIn and the frequency each week. Researchers also assess sleep disturbances with an established scientific system.

On average, participants used social media about an hour per day and 30 times per week. Nearly 30 per cent had high levels of sleep disturbance.

Adjusting for socio-demographic differences, researchers found that participants in the highest 25 per cent of use per day were nearly twice as likely to have sleep disturbances as those in the lowest quartile. Participants in the highest 25 per cent of frequency per week were nearly three times as likely to have sleep problems as those in the lowest quartile. According to lead researcher Jessica C. Levenson:

“This may indicate that frequency of social media visits is a better predictor of sleep difficulty than overall time spent on social media…. If this is the case, then interventions that counter obsessive checking behavior may be most effective.”

The researcher team suggests physicians consider asking patients about social media habits when assessing sleep issues. Interestingly, though, they acknowledge the possibility that participants used social media to pass the time when they could not fall asleep or return to sleep.

Sleep problems cause high Facebook use

While a significant amount of research has looked at how technology affects sleep, researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) turned the idea around and looked at how sleep affected technology usage.

The researchers collected data from 24 male and 42 female UCI undergraduate students for seven days during the spring of 2014. Taking into consideration the students’ gender, age, course load and deadlines, the team of researchers measured students’ behaviour, activities and stress levels. The team did this by using sensors and installing software on the participants’ computers and smart phones that logged and time stamped when they switched from one application window to another or used their phones. Students also completed a sleep survey each morning and an end-of-day survey each night.

The UCI team found that a lack of sleep — which causes tiredness, irritability (bad mood) and distractibility — leads to more frequent online activities, such as browsing Facebook. According to lead researcher Gloria Mark:

“When you get less sleep, you’re more prone to distraction…. If you’re being distracted, what do you do? You go to Facebook. It’s lightweight, it’s easy, and you’re tired.”

Mark and her team found that the less sleep students had, the more frequently their attention shifted among different computer screens, suggesting heightened distractibility.

The UCI researchers say their results reveal a direct link among chronic lack of sleep, worsening mood and greater reliance on Facebook browsing. The Pittsburgh researchers say high social media use is linked to sleep disturbances. So lack of sleep can cause higher social media use, which, in turn, can cause sleep problems, which, in turn, can cause… a spiralling problem. The question now becomes how best to break the spiral.

Six seconds to fame

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Current English…

Vine. n. A climbing plant, especially one that produces grapes. The thin stem of a climbing plant. Origin Latin vinea ‘vineyard, vine’.

Until about a year ago this was my definition too, until I saw my first Vine video. These six second-or-less shorts are created on a smartphone using the Vine app and run on a continuous loop.

When I first saw these short videos I wondered who would watch them other than the creators, or maybe their friends and family. I had no idea that they would prove popular enough that businesses would use them as a means of promoting their products. Consider Ben Phillips, who has made up to a reported £12,000 per vine – yes that’s £2,000 per second or $3,646 CDN (at an exchange of approximately $1.82) per second!!!  Furthermore, think about the fact that his account was reportedly hacked and his content deleted.

For the most part, watching Vine videos make me dizzy, or did until I discovered those made by Zach King. King incorporates illusions into his videos, most of which I need to watch over and over just to understand what I am seeing – or not. It’s really quite amazing when you think what he is able to include in a matter of six seconds.  Check out more on him near the end of this post.

As I continue to learn more about Vine videos, I offer and make short introductory comments on Six Things You Didn’t Know About Twitter’s Vine App according to CNBC’s Eli Langer:

The early bird gets the worm…or Vine.

1. Vine, Twitter’s video-sharing application, can be found online at When shared in a tweet, all clips post to Vine live at, instead of Why? The latter domain name belongs to Amazon. Before Twitter acquired the Vine app, a source tells me Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann inquired about the domain. The price tag? $500,000. Hoffman balked and purchased, making way for Amazon’s Quidsi network, which features category-specific retail sites, to purchase the domain. Vine (the video app company) didn’t respond when asked for comment.

Interestingly, according to web analytics site Alexa, traffic to spiked upward in 2013, the same month Twitter introduced Vine (and to the world. would not say whether an uptick in visitors results in increased sales.

The Twitter account managed by the team at Vine is @vineapp, since @vine is taken by a user who checks into the social network intermittently. Vine owns, which directs visitors to the same homepage as

A rose by any other name.

2. Why was the app named Vine? A source says it’s short for Vignette, which is defined as “a short impressionistic scene.” Vignette is also the name of a photo filter offered by the signature Twitter app.

Anything you can do, I can do better.

3. Vine limits its videos to six seconds, but Twitter user Will Smidlein recently figured out how to upload a three-minute music video to a single Vine clip. On the same day Twitter released Vine on Android, Smidlein, also known as @ws on the micro-blogging site, exploited a hole in the video app‘s coding that allowed him to share the ever-viral “Rickroll” YouTube video in its entirety. The bug was later patched, but not before Smidlein says he “ruined some poor engineer’s day.”

Do you see what I see? (and possibly my most favourite of this list)*v_lrg_green

4. Vine’s logo connects the “V” and “I” in its name in the same way a vine loops and wraps itself around a tree. Even cooler, if you turn the Vine logo upside down, it displays the number of seconds your mini-video can be-“6.”

If you only had six seconds.

5. Dorsey loves taking Vine selfies with his iPhone’s front-facing camera. The tech guru, who one day hopes to be the mayor of New York, has posted dozens of Vines standing in front of various landmarks across the world. Recently, he scaled a San Francisco bridge to take an epic vine that would make even Godzilla jealous.

Six seconds you will never get back.

6. The Vine with the most likes belongs to actor and comedian Will Sasso. The clip, where Sasso attempts to sing but ends up spitting a whole lemon from his mouth, has more than 440,000 likes and has been tweeted nearly 29,000 times. Go Internet!

*I did not display the logo upside down in order to comply with brand guidelines.

As mentioned earlier, I have been really amazed and entertained by Zach King’s Vine videos. Check some out for yourself in Zach King’s Best Vine Compilation 2015.

Do you use the Vine app? Will you??

COM0015 Blog #4: Thinking Outside the Ƀɸ͏͏͏Ж

Only a few years ago, Twitter and Facebook campaigns might have been the most innovative and cutting edge way to communicate with your target audience, but now things have changed. There is a noticeable trend of consumers taking interest in brands who use new, sometimes unconventional social media platforms to get their message across.



Here are a few brands that are absolutely killing it by thinking outside the box and some up-and-coming features that we see a lot of value in!

  • VINE + OREO: Vine is where video sharing is really thriving right now – every second at least five tweets published contain a Vine link (source: Unruly). It’s an extremely effective app in reaching consumers as well as entertaining them.

Oreo, specifically is doing some awesome stuff on Vine. Their frequent Vine content revolves mostly around clever #OreoSnackHacks and #OreoMagic videos. I’m also a big fan of their most recent video featuring the “Dunk Perfect Machine”!

Dunk Perfect Machine

Source: Oreo’s Vine Site

  • SNAPCHAT + GEOFILTERS: While many of us might have thought/hoped Snapchat was simply a fad, it’s clear now that is app has become a huge game changer for social media. Disappearing messaging is an emerging trend that is catching on like wildfire.

Snapchat recently launched Geofilters in Los Angeles and New York, but have yet to make their way to Canada (maybe soon!). This feature is relatively new but offers a lot from businesses. Geofilters allow you to add special filters for the location you are in. This will open up a lot of opportunities for brands to showcase their location on consumers’ snaps. For example, when you’re sending a snap from a place like Disneyland or perhaps a college you’ll be able to swipe right and add a Geofilter to your photo.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Thinking outside of the box is an important way to stand out amongst all of the noise. Creating intriguingly different content captures the attention of your audience and can help get your message across in a new and exciting way, hopefully resulting in more people than ever actively engaging with your brand!