30 Minutes of FOMO a Day

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We’ve heard that spending too much time on social media is detrimental to our mental health, and every year more evidence confirms that. Simply put, too much time Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. makes us feel bad. But how much time is too much time? It seems that 30 minutes is more than enough time. For a healthy life limit yourself to less than 30 minutes a day to social media.

Introduction: Given the breadth of correlational research linking social media use to worse well-being, we undertook an experimental study to investigate the potential causal role that social media plays in this relationship. Method: After a week of baseline monitoring, 143 undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania were randomly assigned to either limit Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat use to 10 minutes, per platform, per day, or to use social media as usual for three weeks. Results: The limited use group showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression over three weeks compared to the control group. Both groups showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out over baseline, suggesting a benefit of increased self-monitoring.

Discussion: Our findings strongly suggest that limiting social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being.

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Be Conscious How Social Media Impacts Your Mental Health

Last year a study was released that identified Facebook as a contributor to people’s depression, it’s likely that other forms of social media do the same. Researchers are finding that if you use social media and compare yourself to what you see posted there will indeed make you feel worse; however, if you use social media in a more conscious way you may find that it does not have that effect. There’s no evidence that using social media is good for you though. For now, the best thing to do is ensure you’re using social media in a conscious way to keep your mental space healthy.

The takeaway, the experts say, is that you can control how Facebook makes you feel. If you tend to compare yourself with others or get envious easily, you might consider limiting your time spent on social networking sites or make a conscious effort to use them in active rather than passive ways. “Our findings show the importance of human agency,” says Edson Tandoc, Jr., co-author of the February 2015 study and assistant professor in the Division of Journalism and Publishing at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. “It is not technology such as Facebook that affects our feelings per se but rather how we use it.”

Read more.

Social Media Helps Global Development

Social media can actually be useful for more than sharing pictures of your lunch! There is a whole collection of apps and web services that can be used to help development efforts around the world. They provide the ability to track how projects are coming along and their current status to being able to connect farmers to more information and their own local social networks.

My favourite service is one that allows people to report corruption:

I Paid a Bribe is an anticorruption movement that harnesses the power of collective voices. Protected by anonymity, users are encouraged to report on corrupt acts, through a website, email or SMS. The reports are mapped on the site and used to inform campaigns for better governance. The movement is active in India, Greece, Kenya, Pakistan and Zimbabwe, after its founder, Tawanda Kembo, was pressured to pay a bribe by a corrupt police officer, and will be coming soon to the Philippines and Mongolia.

See more examples at The Guardian.

Iceland Turns to the People for Constitutional Reform

Iceland is a fantastic place that the rest of the world can learn from. They get 99% of their energy from geothermal power and have perhaps the most open government the world has ever seen. Recently they turned to the power of social media to rewrite their constitution!

In many ways then, the new Iceland constitution was the first to ever be born completely in the public eye. Sure, constitutional assemblies are often open to some sort of public scrutiny, but Iceland’s was broadcast on the internet. Council members regularly interacted with commenters, and every week the latest drafts of the various chapters (or the work related to their writing) were shared via a public website. Live broadcasts of the open council meetings were shown every Thursday via their site as well as Facebook. There was even a regular e-newsletter. Iceland used the web like never before to open up their process to the world and attract the attention of their public.

Yet the enthusiasm from the public hasn’t exactly been stellar (maybe they didn’t like the singing?). Despite the historic nature of the constitutional elections, little more than a third of Iceland actually voted (83,531 or 35.95% of the ~230,000 eligible voters). That election, by the way, was deemed invalid by the Supreme Court of the nation due to problems with voter privacy, and the parliament had to eventually appoint the same elected candidates to the Constitutional Council in order to get things rolling. It’s unclear how that debacle tainted the opinion of the council in the eyes of the Icelandic public. While the social media presence has been active during the writing of the constitution, the main website only garnered about 1600 comments. That’s certainly a lot for the Council to wade through, but I’m not sure you can call it a mandate from Iceland’s people – especially when you consider many comments were made from interested parties from all over the world.

Read the full article at Singularity Hub

Follow us on Twitter

After holding out for years Things Are Good is finally on Twitter. Now you can find out when new posts (and thus new good news) are published using your twitter feed.

Check out our profile and follow us on Twitter! We’re known as @YoGoodNews.

We’re so Web2.0 right now! Anybody else remember that?

Have a great weekend!

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