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Thread: Social Media and Mental Illness

  1. #11
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I get news from Reuters, Al Jazeera, local sources, and others on my FB feed. Of course, FB is just one news provider among many.

  2. #12
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geila View Post
    what I want is a feeling of authentic connection. But I don't know if social media can provide that. And if I'm being really honest, I don't know if I can have that even in real life. Part of my mental health issues is a fear of vulnerability. Sometimes I think that social media will make it easier to connect and therefore be less scary. And then I think that it will actually be more scary because I'll feel like I'm exposed for the whole world to see.
    My contention (for years; here and elsewhere) is that technology is merely an amplifier. If you were going to do it anyway, technology generally makes it easier to do. I really don't know anyone who became a chatterbox only after someone handed them a mobile phone or any deep introvert who amassed several hundred friends on Facebook and became a posting "machine". Can one's Pinterest or Instagram feed generate followers in numbers you never expected? Depending on how you set your privacy settings on those sites, yeah. But, again, that's an amplification effect; people are inteested in what you're doing and/or who you are. They're not following you because you have a cool user name.

    I do believe tech -- and, particularly, social media -- needs to be managed. After years on Facebook I have fewer than 100 Friends. New friend requests are evaluated carefully: I "friended" my neighbor's new wife; I see her in the backyard more days than not. I am not "friending" the woman I knew of in high school and with whom I haven't had a conversation in the ensuing 40 years. Sometimes I prune my Friends list of people who no longer post or who, like other friends in "real" life, no longer maintain that friendship. Sometimes I "mute" friends who are off on a jag I care nothing about. I don't click on the ads or the news items.

    I have a Facebook account and a Twitter account (used by far for instant updates more than anything else). No Pinterest, no Instagram, no YouTube, no Foursquare; nothing else. I don't want to manage all of that so I don't. I can't remember the last time I used the Twitter app on my phone and I don't keep the Fb app running, either. At the same time, it's nice to see pictures from one of my friends who is in France for a milestone birthday; we'll likely talk about them when we next see each other. And it's nice to catch up with cousins who are a thousand miles away and to do that at 6 am or 11:30 pm or whenever I have the time. I don't miss the invitations to someone's house to see all 534 pictures they took at their kid's birthday party or the phone calls that you can time with a calendar.

    If you're the kind of person who can't stop at one potato chip when that's all you said you wanted; if you're the kind of person who easily finds himself/herself in a reinforcement loop (Likes for posts, lots of stuff in your Timeline that just makes you feel more angry/sad/lonely/poor/competitive/whatever), then being on social media is not the highest use of your time and emotional energy.

    I know relatives who change their username to something obscure and just "creep" on Fb to see the baby pictures and vacation postings of others; they don't "Like" or comment on posts and don't join groups so they stay pretty much under the radar. Maybe that could work as a middle ground. But that is up to you, who knows yourself and who knows what alternatives you have to staying connected without social media.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  3. #13
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    ...
    .
    I know relatives who change their username to something obscure and just "creep" on Fb to see the baby pictures and vacation postings of others; they don't "Like" or comment on posts and don't join groups so they stay pretty much under the radar. Maybe that could work as a middle ground. But that is up to you, who knows yourself and who knows what alternatives you have to staying connected without social media.
    That's me. I don't have a single friend on FB even though several of my friends have accounts. I may have to friend them to maintain my standing if FB clamps down. I'm just there for groups, news, and cat videos.

  4. #14
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    I had my students do an experiment in one of my psych classes, to spend twenty minutes on three Internet sites, something neutral, like a college library information site, something hobby oriented, like Pintarest, and something that would constitute social media--most chose Facebook. As I recall, close to 100% of the students reported "anxiety" and "irritation" after the twenty minutes on Facebook.

    The never-ending quality of a site like Facebook or even this one encourages one to keep reading to "find out what happens" but you ever can, and it also encourages a lot of negative behaviors such as "having the last word."

    So I vote against social media as being a negative for everyone's mental health.

    There is certainly anecdotal evidence from clinicians that Facebook increases depression and can trigger it.

    So I do stay completely away from Facebook. After reading Tradd's post today about the job offer being rescinded over the Facebook diving picture, I think staying away completely from Facebook makes other kinds of sense as well.

  5. #15
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    I'm not on any social media and never have been. I don't get the draw but understand that others really value it and the connections they gain from it.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    I guess it depends on what you consider social media. I consider this site social media just as much as FB. I enjoy it and don't understand when users think of it as negative when you decide where to go and what you see. I have friended people on FB but I avoid those that are negative or constantly posting politics or jump on others pages to stir the pot. I had so much negativity on my job that I use mine to post things that are positive and fun to me. I mostly use it to follow news sources or special interest groups such as gardening, koi ponds, watercolors, grief support etc. It is what you make of it which is why I stay on the sunny side of the street.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    What keeps running through my mind is that in social media, we are the product that is being sold. When you look at how sophisticated and effective advertising is in manipulating our brains for economic gain in terms of spending, you have to wonder how much more effective and insidious the manipulation is when our brains and our eyeballs are the things that are being presented as offerings to advertisers by the companies who present us with these "free!" social media sites. I know that I'm gullible and easily taken advantage of in real life by people with agendas, so I'm certainly no match for a company that spends and makes millions (billions?) in the use of humans as product.

  8. #18
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simplemind View Post
    I guess it depends on what you consider social media. I consider this site social media just as much as FB. I enjoy it and don't understand when users think of it as negative when you decide where to go and what you see. I have friended people on FB but I avoid those that are negative or constantly posting politics or jump on others pages to stir the pot. I had so much negativity on my job that I use mine to post things that are positive and fun to me. I mostly use it to follow news sources or special interest groups such as gardening, koi ponds, watercolors, grief support etc. It is what you make of it which is why I stay on the sunny side of the street.
    Oh, this site and other forums are definately time wasting, addictive social media. I cant spend much time on FB because the content is basically boring. It is tiny snippets of info that is consumed in a second, along with a pretty or a funny image. Ok, got it, doesnt take long.

    I can, and do, spend crap tons of time on forums like ths one. Sadly.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    Of course, not everyone is going to have a problem, just like not everyone becomes an alcoholic or drug addict. In high school I tried alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and cocaine, and became addicted to none of it. Everything except alcohol was a one time thing and I have no desire to ever try any of it again, and I can go years without alcohol without any problem. In my 20's I began to use food as a soothing mechanism, and for whatever reason, that one became my addictive substance. To this day, I battle with emotional eating. I've gotten to where it's not a compulsive thing anymore, but it's still a hard habit to break after 3 decades of using it as my default coping mechanism.

    My fear is that social media will be like food has been and that once I become hooked it will be near impossible to break. But I'm wondering if I should just try it and find out once and for all. I've tried setting up a facebook account in the past and the whole thing just feels exhausting and boring. The "curating" of it all and the fakeness of it. So much energy output. So maybe I won't have a problem and all this angst and teeth-gnashing is for naught. Something to consider.

    The main reason I am considering it is to stay in touch with my family, which is quite large but which I've been estranged from for a while. It's for the personal connections, rather than news or hobby groups. And for me, the fact that it's personal connections is what makes it feel more complicated and dangerous because that is where my vulnerability and weaknesses are.

  10. #20
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I truly dont u derstand what is fake about FB posts, but then, I just clue in to iris, lilies, and bulldog posts. Well, a few political and life posts are ok. i enjoy my brother's posts which happen infrequently.

    I do see more images of fancy vacations and [sarcasm] deep, thoughtful and woke commentary on our unjust society [/sarcasm] on Insta, but that has more to do with the posters than the medium. I watch a few Insta posters regularly because they are full of themselves, they are enjoyable in that regard.

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