The net and the brain: can social media improve your life?

In the previous part of the series ‘The net and the brain’ you could read that we can become addicted to the net. Although it was suggested that we don’t become addicted to the medium per se but to the experiences it gives us. The small hits of dopamine can add up and result in a brain with less motivation and willpower and more in search of the next ‘hit’. When we don’t manage the input from the net, our brains can’t truly recover and rest.

 

One minute ago, in my life a least, this was a hot question: Does social media cause depression? Studies were done but results are inconclusive because the topic is so young (please keep that in mind while reading). Older research may be more validated but can also be outdated due to which social media was addressed. Needless to say Facebook seems to be the most researched. ‘Time spend online’ is also one term subjected to research. That would also involve checking your emails and playing video games as well as streaming on Twitch. It varies a lot.

 

Social media revolves round the attention in regards to your (online) personality. Some researches proposed that the addiction to it would me just a medium that could release underlying difficulties already present in the person[1].

 

Still, for me it is an interesting topic as I wonder if living a life online makes real life better or possibly worse? And if so, what are the downfalls? Do online friends  help with loneliness or do they prevent me to go outside into the real world? Or do we all need to do a digital detox to experience how we react?

 

Using social media to maintain existing friendships comes in very handy and can strengthen the relationship. I, on the other hand, do enjoy the anonymity (or the illusion of) that is provided online. Like in this very moment. I write the things I think and that is that. It gives me relief to trust my words on to the paper. I never was a diary girl. I just don’t see the point to write down what you already know and to put it away. The option to share my thoughts and feelings seems more appealing to me. We humans are social creatures. So that is what I do. I use social media to express myself, to send my message out in the hope it is received somewhere. Hence the term ‘social’ I suppose?

 

Does social media usage makes you feel isolated? In my experience yes, when I use it too much. There is a fine line in everything. I like to look things up on my computer, I like to learn, I’m very curious but I noticed when I shut the thing off, it’s all .. poof, gone! To avoid that, I usually have my computer on, maybe stand-by. Like a ‘stand-by-me’.

 

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I met lovely people online and I must say, that when there is that balance between friends online[2] and friends IRL , I feel happy. When I tend to spend long hours behind the screen, I may feel left alone afterwards. I have a need to look a person in the eye and to be in their physical presence. When they leave, they leave a more long lasting impression. It’s less of a ‘shock’. We do need social interaction as we need to feel, to be touched, to be cared for, to be seen and heard. Those five elements cannot be uniquely replaced by a phone or computer.

 

What if you spent most of your time alone and you don’t have the opportunity to go out or have visitors over? What if your social support group is not that big? I would suggest to leave Facebook behind for starters because it seems everybody there is doing things and going places and not alone most of the time. Oops, here was bitchy-me sayin’ hello to everybody. But when you find like-mined people or information that is helpful, it can help you out a great deal. I found a very accepting community here and I have a safe place on YouTube with my friend Hedda. She makes videos regarding to mental health but she also reads spooky stories and folktales. I am grateful I found all these people because it lifts the heavy veil of the loneliness of suffering with mental health.

 

I would like to thank you to be here with me, for reading and commenting. As you can read it means a lot to me so the thank you is from the heart.

 

 

[1] Taymur I, Budak E, Demirci H, Akdağ HA, Güngör BB, Özdel K. A study of the relationship between internet addiction, psychopathology and dysfunctional beliefs. Computers in Human Behavior. 2016;61:532–536. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.03.043.

[2] From now ment by online friends are people that are not known in the real life.

 

 

2 thoughts on “The net and the brain: can social media improve your life?

  1. For me, my online time doesn’t mean sacrificing in-person time; without online connections, I would be alone the vast majority of the time on most days. I’m very careful about how I use online platforms so that it’s a positive rather than negative experience. WordPress is where I feel most comfortable online, and I prefer to keep my time on Twitter and Instagram relatively limited.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m still figuring that one out, the time and also the kind of platform. But on bad days online connections give me more comfort, so I understand what you’re saying. I believe I sometimes ‘prefer’ stayin inside because it’s more ‘easy’ and the step to go outside seems more difficult then. Maybe it’s just the condition I’m in. I’m just thinking about all those things 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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