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Social Media: The Good, The Bad, and the Ridiculous

To say social media has changed our lives would be an understatement. It has drastically transformed our family relations, social fabric and reduced our brains to take in knowledge in three minute intervals. Here are a few of the effects, and I’ll leave it to you to judge if they’re negative, positive or neutral.

  • In the early 1900’s, people read 300 page volumes, today, they spend less than 4 seconds before judging a youTube video unworthy of their attention.
  • In the ’70s, people received news of a friend’s engagement, marriage or divorce through word of mouth. Today, the person/s involved in the relationship get a virtual proposal, a breakup, and in some unfortunate cases learns of his/her own break-up in status update on Facebook!
  • In the early ’80s, people called one another on phones, and if no one answered, they would wait as long as a day to hear back. Today, people get agitated if they don’t receive an instantaneous response with a “retweet” or comment to their twitter timeline.
  • There was a time when you had to get permission at a wedding in the Arab World to take photos of anyone present. Today, Instagram is filled with wedding photos of fully made-up women who are otherwise veiled; doubt anyone took their permission.
  • When I was growing up, women at social gatherings spoke to each other. Today, they’re speaking to others not in the room on their mobile devices or at best, sharing selfies and the latest posts on Facebook.

Such changes are so drastic and in such a relatively short period, that one can only imagine the impact these changes have on our mental health. Mental health professionals agree the effects can be harmful if social media use isn’t reflected upon or kept in check.  A recent study, led by social psychiatrist Ethan Cross of the University of Michigan, found that using Facebook may even make us miserable.

Having said that, it isn’t all bad! Research by University of California San Diego (UCSD), suggests thatusing social media may even spread happiness.Their study indicates that the viral spread of happiness is so strong that if magnified, it could trigger an “epidemic of well-being.”

The jury is out, so you be the judge. Is the effect of social media a positive or negative one? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Ref: Medical News Today, Public Parts by Jeff Jarvis

To read more informative articles about health, mental awareness and little changes you can make to improve your overall happiness, visit Challenge 2 Change.

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Rama Chakaki

BarakaBits Founder & Chief Optimist

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