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Sharing Personal Memories on Ephemeral Social Media Facilitates Autobiographical Memory
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking  (IF4.157),  Pub Date : 2021-11-10, DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2020.0511
Andrew J. Johnson, Emily G. Morley

The mnemonic effect of posting personal experiences on ephemeral social media was examined. Participants completed a daily diary for 6 consecutive days. On alternate days they were instructed to use, or refrain from using, the ephemeral social media platform Snapchat. At the end of the week, participants received a surprise memory test for the contents of the diaries. We observed significantly superior recall for memories encoded on the Snapchat days, demonstrating memory facilitation despite memory type equivalency across the posting and no posting conditions. The study is the first to examine the effect of Snapchat use on autobiographical memory, with the findings supporting previous work showing that posting on social media facilitates memory. Given the ephemerality of Snapchat posts, the reported improvement in memory contradicts the notion that cognitive offloading occurs automatically when posting memories online.