Small and large companies aren’t the only ones that bank on the convenience of the Internet. Obviously some of us who refuse to camp out in front of Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and any other stores opt to spend our money online to avoid the crowds. But as Cyber Monday has come to a close, some of us enjoy the comfort and convenience of the Internet for other reasons.
Everyone has a bad day, but some of us struggle with the lack of that “happy” gene more than others. According to a Huffington Post article by Michael Sigmen, approximately half of our happiness is linked to our genetic make up. How close are you to genetic happiness?
Wow, half is quite a chunk of our happiness pie, leaving the leftovers to be fractioned off to environment, circumstances and/or traumatic life events. If depression is more than a chemical imbalance and is actually deeply ingrained in our DNA, then what can we actually do about it?
The Internet is used for a number of reasons, only some of which have to do with viral marketing. Social media sites allow for individuals as well as organizations to connect with people from all over the world and share their individual brand. But behavior on these sites can run unchecked, which have literally given both social media and the Internet a bad rap. Lyrics posted on Facebook threatening to not only kill his wife but also kindergarten kids landed wannabe rap artist Anthony Elonis in jail for 44 months. Privacy, freedom of speech, an increase in social isolation, and a host of other number of issues arise when discussing social media and the potential negative ramifications.
However, what about the benefits? Two things I’ve found Facebook to do correctly are increasing their privacy settings and allowing members to join highly private groups. I currently belong to several support groups on Facebook for those of us not born with the “happy” gene. These support groups help individuals suffering from insomnia, depression, divorce, etc. There are groups for almost any type of interest, awareness, cause, and profession. I have enjoyed sharing personal testimonial videos, where I could directly share very private feelings to the group and without fear that it’ll be leaked to the public. I have been able to make friends with many group members, especially several who live in Europe.
It’s refreshing to share with a group of people who understand that happiness is not like turning on and off a light switch, a group of like-minded individuals who are tired of hearing, “It’s easy, just think positive and be happy.” In actuality, all we’d like to know is that there are others who feel the same way we do and can emphasize with our plight because they face similar struggles.
I haven’t always been a fan of Facebook. I even went on a Facebook protest, where I suspended my account for personal reasons. However, how much we share and what we share on social media sites falls squarely on our own shoulders. We have to take responsibility for what we say on social media sites. Just ask “rapper” Elonis who is currently serving four years in prison for his post. Joking or not, the problem with posts, text messages, tweets, etc., is it’s hard to inflect sarcasm, dark irony or to simply make a joke via words. That’s why emoticons have become our second language, because we need a way to illustrate our exact moods and intent lest we be misunderstood.
It’s my personal belief that comedy is the hardest type of writing. Maybe some people thought they were being funny on Facebook only to laugh themselves out of a job. Ask countless others whose party pictures and wild antics landed in their employer’s hands and led to pink slips. Yes, in today’s Internet age we can all get fired for a wild picture or a rude social media post. Just ask congressional staffer Elizabeth Lauten, who lost her job after making disparaging remarks about teenage First Daughters Sasha and Malia Obama.
There are privacy settings for a reason. So, you can use them and be smart about what you decide to broadcast on the Internet. It’s like parents who blame the media for what is shown on TV. Yet they sit their kid unsupervised in front of the tube because they are too busy/lazy to spend quality time. Or they complain about violent video games yet they don’t realize their kid has been playing them all along. At some point parents have to be held accountable for their ability or lack there of to supervise, educate, stimulate and parent their child.
The Bottom Line:
Social media has its benefits and drawbacks. There isn’t anything wrong with deciding not to partake in it. But I found that the ability to turn to certain closed or private Facebook groups to be a personal morale and spirit booster. Some of these groups have truly made a huge difference in helping me to remain positive, and I believe they can provide mental health benefits to many who suffer with or without a diagnosis. You have choices in life. If you find a way, you can abuse anything that’s meant to be good for you. It’s up to you how you choose to utilize the tools provided to you.
This entry was posted in Culture & Tech and tagged Anthony Elonis, Benefits of Social Media, Cyber Monday, Elizabeth Lauten, Facebook, Facebook Groups, How close are you to genetic happiness?, mental health, Michael Sigmen, Sasha and Malia Obama, Social Media.