Social Networking as a Way of Life
By Gary Picariello
How “social” does social media really make us feel? You may have 3,000 friends on Facebook or Instagram, but how connected are you really with all but a few of them? Big questions to be sure, but surprisingly, just feeling like you are really popular can do your ego a world of good, especially the older you get.
Reach Out, Make Friends, Feel Better
So there you are: you're getting older, the kids have moved out, or maybe your partner has passed. It happens. What to do? A recent study has shown the same benefits millennials and even younger demographics reap from social media can also be a useful tool for seniors as an effective benefit for their health and well-being.
You may or may not agree and that's fine, but research in the field is starting to recognize social media tools that allow individuals an opportunity to express themselves, get support for their problems or find like-minded connections as a positive demonstration of how technology can be a useful tool for enabling social connections, health and well-being.
Young and Restless
I think it's a given that most of the activity on Facebook or Instagram is pretty shallow. In fact, a recent article pointed out that nearly 80 percent of online activity is spent checking up on the success of old friends and classmates. Nothing really deep there, but change the demographic and suddenly social media has another important function: keeping us close to the important people in our lives. Studies have revealed that “47 percent of participants they communicated with friends who live in a different state or country was very important to them.”
Spreading the Love
According to an article on the Young and Digital, one great example of the power of social media is that social media postings can help foster greater acceptance of mental health problems where "comments related to mental health are overwhelmingly positive." People can learn how to cope with symptoms and how to find the right support. Granted, Facebook is under a lot of criticism for an invasion of privacy and worse, but at least, in this case, the medium is having a positive effect.
Social media, like many things, needs to be monitored. It's a superpower that must be used for good.
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