Side Effects May Include…

Studies show social media is ruining our minds.

I came across a slightly disturbing article on blogsessive.com entitled “Social Media Mind Control — say what?” Yes, please. Explain. As a social media journalist, where social media is quickly becoming my LIFE, I would like to know the side effects of my chosen career path.

I found this great infographic by Assisted Living Today which highlights the main concerns.

If you got to this point and actually read through the entire info-graphic — good job. The serious side effects of social media have not completely destroyed your attention span.

So what are we supposed to take from this?  First of all, I think that there is a lot to be said about face-to-face interactions, however, it takes more effort these days to have a conversation with someone in person. But in journalism especially, your best method for gathering information is by talking to someone 1) in person, 2) over the phone, and 3) over email.  In person, you can gather information from the tone of someone’s voice, from the expression on their face, from the way they react to their surroundings … none of which you can get from social media interactions.

I’m not trying to put down social media completely… but it’s fun to play the devil’s advocate when your life as a 21st century journalism student is often surrounded by the praising of social media. If you accuse Twitter, you get the “How dare you insult the future of journalism!” glare. So it’s fun being enlightened; seeing the dark side of social media and reading about those ugly side effects your professor will never bring up.

Here’s another thing that shocked me… 7% of people occasionally forget their birthdays. REALLY?! I’m thinking that’s not caused by the use of social media, but rather some catastrophic memory impairment, like amnesia. I mean, Facebook tells you when it’s your birthday. So these social media addicts check Facebook at least once every day but somehow miss the endless number of birthday posts on their wall? Oh, the irony of it. For more statistics about Facebook, click here!

But really, what would you do without social media today? Try going a week without Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Email, YouTube, Pintrist, LinkedIn, etc. It’s nearly impossible. Not only because it’s probably an addiction, but we rely on social media for so much nowadays. I get breaking news from Twitter, I post my journalism assignments on WordPress, I keep in touch with my family through Facebook … of course there’s beauty in the ability of social media, but let’s calm it down a little. I think everyone is excited because it’s new and it really is changing our way of life. Let’s just hope we don’t get so caught up in the craze that we FRY OUR BRAINS and later regret losing the ability to focus or retain information. All in moderation.

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