Saturday, February 21, 2009

Is Everything That is Good Bad for You?

There have been articles in all the major papers around the traps over the past 24 hours, like this one from the Courier Mail.  It seem some boffin has published a paper in the Institute of Biology journal stating that social media like Facebook and Twitter are terribly dangerous for us all, and that as a result, we're going to get cancer from it.

There was another one doing the traps a couple of days ago how a glass of red wine each day gives you a 160% higher chance of getting oral cancer.  What?

What is it with boffins who love to come out of the woodwork and do a "study" on anything that we enjoy (red wine, chocolate, sex, social media, having a snooze on a Sunday arvo) and then claim it's all terribly bad for us and we're going to get CANCER.  You have to capitalise it you know, cos it's all very serious and if you don't stop doing what you are doing right now, you're going to get CANCER.

Stop it.  Seriously, whatever it is you're doing RIGHT THIS INSTANT, stop it right now.  Or you'll get cancer.

Now I'm getting silly aren't I?  But I'm just a bit over there being a huge kerfuffle in the "regular" media over what's going to give you cancer just because some boffin says so.  The thing about the red wine giving you oral cancer?  I know someone who died at 26 of oral cancer who had never had an alcoholic drink, a cigarette, sex or been on a social media site.  She was just a lovely young woman who lived a very strict Christian life.  How do you like them apples, boffins?

Won't somebody please think of the children!!!!

Back to the social media thing, boffin Dr Sigman claims that sites like Facebook are keeping us all at home sitting in the dark talking to each other on our computers, and that's bad.

Now I don't know about you, but since I started getting into social media, my "real life" social life has EXPLODED.  I barely have a week where I'm not running around like a crazy woman trying to get to all of the social events, meet ups and gigs I've got planned.  And where have I planned these?  Facebook... Twitter... 

Here's an example.  One Sunday morning, I was slothing about in bed.  I rolled over, picked up my mobile phone off my bedside table and sent a tweet to Twitter via text message.  That tweet was "I feel like brunch.  Toast is boring."

Half an hour later, my mobile phone rang.  "Hi," said a friend "I saw your tweet so I thought I could pick you up and we can go out for brunch.  I'm bored too."  So off we went that morning to a rather lovely brunch and lots of chat and laughs together.

And that's only one example.  I could tell  you many, many more, from big organised events like Twestival, parties and dinners and such with friends, to one on one catch ups.  Tonight I am going to a party organised almost exclusively on Facebook.  Monday I'm having lunch with a friend, we organised it on Facebook.  Tuesday night I have a dinner I'm attending that I heard about on Twitter, and taking a fellow tweeting friend with me.  And that's just over the next four days, it goes on.

When are the boffins going to get that social media is not about social misfits sitting at home in a room lit only by their monitor, tapping away at one another.  They need to understand that social media is a tool that everyday people use to connect with each other.  And contrary to popular belief, it's not just the young that are doing it.  It's been awhile since I've been a youth.  My friends that use social media range from youths to those who are old enough to be my parent.

And I have made new friends through social media websites.  Whether it be catching up with a like minded Twitter buddy for a coffee, attending a local group meet up, or conversing with someone on Facebook from San Francisco that I intend to catch up with  next time I take a trip over to the US, social media continually brings new social contacts into my life.

One of the things I'm thinking is that we all need to let go of the idea that there is a virtual life and a real life, and that they're two separate entities.  All of it is my real life, the same as talking to someone on the telephone is part of my real life.  Social media are tools for communication.  And people are using them to conduct their lives.  Not to hide behind so that they don't have to live, but to enable them to live more fully.

Here's a little food for thought for you:


Unknown said...

I completely agree with your last paragraph. Using the internet and social networking is not this secret hidden away thing only hardcore IT nerds do in their rooms, it's become the norm. It's the telephone of today! I think trying to demonize it as an unhealthy lifestyle choice is wrong and also trying to resist it's incorporation into daily life is wrong because IT IS ALREADY HAPPENING.

Although, as a potential boffin in the making I don't totally agree with the prior entry. There are many scientists out there doing studies across the globe into every human condition imaginable and they (mostly) do it because they wish to further understanding of the condition in order to increase effective treatment. And having been forced to read many scientific journals (GAG!) for uni i know there are shitloads more studies done than what you hear about. It's moreso the media who are the wankers, taking some findings which are not even proven yet and spouting it off as fact just because they want a ~controversial~ story.

Very interesting vid too!


Unknown said...

Also as a side note, that video seems to suggest that in the next hundred years or so mankind will probably end up being enslaved by a giant race of super-computers. That was the message yes?

Sleepydumpling said...

Nah I'm talking about the type that just loves to get into some study on the stuff we all love (why don't they actually go study CANCER itself, not red wine, or chocolate, or social media) just so they can get in the papers saying that it's bad for you.

Seriously, there is a big swathe of them in the world who just delight in telling us that everything is bad for us. That's what a boffin is.

BruganCampbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BruganCampbell said...

Good points....

We actually had that video shown to us at our 2009 Creativity Time and the group of workmates I were with were amazed but the stats.

Flibbertigibbet said...

I too wouldn't have the social life that I do without the internet, I simply wouldn't have met the friends I have without it, our paths wouldn't have crossed and my life wouldn't be as rich.

I remember when I was first online - back in 1996 (I'm a veteran lol) - that the idea of my meeting people from the internet had my 'real life' friends in a lather, quite convinced I was about to be carried off and murdered.

As for it all being bad for you, I just can't live my life dictated to by the boffins you mention, where's the fun in that?
So I might get a few extra years, but does that matter if they're boring & miserable years with none of the good stuff? Eugh.
Life's just too short not to take the odd risk! ;)

Sleepydumpling said...

I travelled all through the US staying at the homes of people who I only knew via the internet. And the only place I wasn't happy? Was when I stayed with people I had already met!!

Nice to meet another interwebs veteran!