How Facebook is leading to Depression

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Besides bullying, Facebook is also leading to depression and the latest statistics and survey shows it clearly that this Facebook thing is playing a vast role and a big cause of cyber bullying. I just realized, I don't get the modern Internet. When I started in this business, people who gave opinions tended to have at least a PhD in what they were talking about; now they just have stupid glasses, a keyboard and no concept of shame or of their own worthlessness.

As an analyst (I so rarely get to say that these days!) one of the most worrying things I saw at the beginning of the social media era was this whole negative peer-reinforcement malarkey that is still really common. People are so scared of being seen to be different that when somebody in their tribe posts something that is frankly moronic, you will generally see the rest of the group saying how great it is and actually encouraging the negative behavior. The same obviously happens for the trite behavior with a quite obvious deviation to the mediocre as a result. I am not saying that this didn't happen in the pre-social-media world, obviously it did - But these days that "Facebook Like" button is just too easy to press.

Facebook killing kids innocence!

For all I read about protecting kids online and things like that - I still never really see this issue addressed openly and it seems to me that with just a little subtle manipulation and culture-smearing you could make a lot of this go away. I don't know, obviously - And they stopped people like me doing control group experiments on people many years ago so I probably never will. Damn, there's another thesis unwritten.

Anxiety and the role of social media!

I find that the people who get listened tend to be the people who repeat crap they read a few weeks ago, that the person they are talking to also read or heard- It makes a comfortable and challenging meeting of minds and makes both people feel clever. If the person listening considers themselves to be an "expert" (god, now there's a homeopathic word these days!) then they are likely to think the person talking to them is also an expert - And so the bullshit spreads and gets more and more self-feeding.
When I first saw Twitter I thought it was doomed to failure. I was right about a few others, but I was wrong about that, big-time. Turned out that there was a lot of stuff I didn't understand about social stuff - perhaps I retain a shred of dignity in that maybe none of us understood it all. But nowadays I try not to be judgmental about other peoples' enthusiasms.

I'm afraid to say it, but it depends on how much research you want to and can do on any given person. Back in day the technical field was small so it was easy and outside of that we kind of trusted the mainstream experts to be actually experts. Now the technical fields are too large and in some cases too young to meet your criteria and the mainstream experts have proven not so reliable. So each "expert" needs to be individually assessed which gets trickier if they use a pseudonym. Meaning all you can do is read them for a bit, see what else they've written and how well they reference/back-up what they're saying Which of course breaks down if you don't know the field, or if they're arguing that the popular opinion is wrong, and as they say you can prove anything with facts. So in short - good luck with that.

I generally find that 5 minutes conversation with someone informs me as to whether they are an expert (at least in my own fields (I wouldn't presume to judge those who claim to be experts in fields about which I know nothing)). There are of course some baseline standards, but these generally only inform about ability to follow a logical argument and not have half a dozen incompatible ideas dancing around in their heads at the same time.


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